A visit to the historic El Capitan Theatre means you’re not merely going to the movies, you’re taking a magical trip back in time to Tinseltown’s golden age. Starting this fall, families are invited to take an exclusive look behind the curtain of one of the most breathtaking film venues in the world with Disney’s Movie Palace and Backstage Tour. Perfect for visiting relatives and movie loving tots, this tour arrives just in time for the holidays.

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photo credit: El Capitan Theatre via facebook

Film buffs of all ages will find the 30-minute guided tour of the El Capitan fascinating as they get a rare all-access pass to the innerworkings of this legendary landmark. Learn the secrets of the theatre’s glamourous history since making its Hollywood debut in 1926, including its transition from a playhouse to movie theatre. You also get to visit the Wall of Fame, which documents countless movie premieres over the years, Walk of Fame ceremonies, and the theatre’s meticulous restorations under various ownerships. Kiddos will especially love hearing that almost every Disney film world premiere has been held at the El Capitan since reopening under Walt Disney Ownership in 1991, starting with The Rocketeer.

unnamedphoto credit: Jennifer O’Brien

Lovingly restored to its original grandeur, the 1,000 seat theatre’s ornate architecture is truly a feast for the eyes. On the tour, you are welcome to shoot as many photos as you like throughout the entire tour and believe us, once you’re inside the actual theatre, you’ll be snap, snap, snapping away. They’ll even dim the lights and treat you to a full viewing of the dazzling curtain show that’s performed before every movie.

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After the curtain show, kids and parents can hop on stage and take a picture with the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ that has helped make this theatre extremely special over the years. With four keyboards and 37 ranks of pipes, the organ is unparalleled when it comes to playing live music for movie palaces. On the weekends, an organist rises up (as if by magic) from under the stage and performs right before the movie, so there’s no better time to bring your little ones.

unnamed-5photo credit: Jennifer O’Brien

Other tour highlights include an in-depth look backstage, including the “Mickey Lift” glass elevator which secretly transports cast members to the stage for the movie pre-show; the downstairs dressing rooms and green room; a visit to the Sherman Brothers Star Dressing Room – named for the composers of “It’s a Small World” and “A Spoonful of Sugar;” and the lower lounge area where premiere after parties are usually held. Kids feel the full VIP treatment! At the tour’s conclusion, every guest is treated to a box of freshly popped popcorn. Yes, it’s a good as it smells. And if you need a sweet treat to balance out the salty, exit through the adjacent Ghiradelli Soda Fountain (still Disney themed, as it was when it was the Disney Soda Fountain), where everyone who enters gets a sample square of tasty chocolate.

For families who might be short on time (or attention spans), Express Tours are also available throughout the day which include the history of the theatre, a visit to the Wall of Fame and tour of the lobby area.

Hours: Full tours are given daily at 8:30 a.m. Express Tours are given throughout the day.

Cost: Tickets are available on a walk-up basis through the El Capitan box office and cost $15 per person (including kiddos) for the full tour. Express tours run $5 per person. No advanced reservations are needed.

Parking: Parking is available across the street at the Hollywood & Highland Center parking garage for $2 for up to four hours. Please remember to bring your parking ticket with you to the El Capitan for validation.

6838 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90028
Phone: 818-315-4110
Online: elcapitantheatre.disney.com

IMG_1771photo credit: Jennifer O’Brien

What are your family’s favorite memories of the El Capitan Theatre? We’d love to know!

– Jennifer O’Brien