After a successful week of soft openings, Ghirardelli has “officially” opened its doors at the Disneyland Resort inside of Disney California Adventure’s Pacific Wharf area.
We were lucky enough to be invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony, where Mickey and Minnie helped welcome the park’s first independently owned and operated establishment.
First, we’ll take a peek inside and try a sundae. Then I’ll show you a very special surprise that makes this Ghirardelli location more incredible than any other in the world… (we even have a little video of what makes it so cool).
This Ghirardelli location is the first store to be built inside of a theme park (though there is a location in Downtown Disney in Orlando, that’s not, technically, a theme park). Although the cast members at Ghirardelli have had some Disney cast member training, they are actually employees of Ghirardelli and have been taught specifically by the chocolate company.
After the ribbon was cut, we were invited in to see the gorgeous new Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop!
As you enter the shop, there are menus to peruse as well as a few registers. You place your order at a register and are then sent to one of the three pick up windows where you will be handed your order.
As a “Grand Opening” guest, I was handed one of these tasty little treats!
It wasn’t easy to eat a sundae and take photos of the store at the same time, so unfortunately I had just a few bites and then got to work. My favorite thing about a Ghirardelli sundae? Definitely the hot fudge. It’s thick and creamy the way fudge should be, and here you can get in in milk or dark chocolate!
Ok, back to the shop… Here’s where you order when you first walk in.
After ordering, head to the assigned pick up window — then grab your napkins and utensils on the way out!
I was told that both of the menus at Disney California Adventure and the Downtown Disney, Orlando, location are the same. They are patterned after the menu in San Francisco at Ghirardelli’s original factory location near Fisherman’s Wharf. (I’m sure AJ’s relieved she can get her Gold Rush sundae when she comes to Disneyland!)
Don’t feel like having a specialty sundae? Feel free to order individual scoops that can be served in sugar cones or cups — OR homemade waffle cones or bowls, with an optional chocolate dip!
The happy-to-serve-you cast members had just finished a batch that smelled absolutely delicious.
In addition to sundaes & scoops, Ghirardelli offers their own chocolate drinks as well as shakes, floats, malts soda, tea, coffee, and espresso drinks.
There’s even a Ghirardelli kids menu that features a S’more Sundae, smaller ice cream scoops & chocolate milk!
A Special Surprise…The Interactive Mural
What the Anaheim location does have that is unique and unlike any other Ghirardelli store is the amazing interactive mural that is located behind the pick up window.
Featuring some very famous San Francisco landmarks, the mural comes to life when certain sundaes are ordered off of the menu!
So for example, if you order The Earthquake (8 scoops ice cream, 8 delicious toppings, finished with fresh bananas, chopped almonds, chocolate chips & cherries) the building below will start to shake and rumble.
If you order The Cable Car (rocky road, chocolate chip & chocolate ice cream with marshmallow, hot fudge, and whipped cream topped with chopped almonds, a cherry & Ghirardelli chocolate squares), the cable car will move up and down the street.
Feel like ordering a sundae named after the founder of Ghirardelli? If you order The Domingo, a small portrait of Domingo Ghirardelli lights up just below the clock in the clock tower.
The center of the mural features a scene of chocolatiers making what else? Chocolate! This scene moves continuously. The fires burn, the wheels spin and the chocolate flows! The oval screen on top shows a picture of each sundae as it is ordered. The one shown below is The Cable Car!
The far right of the mural depicts Haight Ashbury and a Gold Miner. If you order The “Haight AshBerry,” the lights on the street and in the windows glow and the trolley moves down the street.
If you order The Gold Rush or Strike it Rich, the gold miner starts to “pan” his gold, the gold sparkles, and fun music plays!
I even took a little video of the mural to share with you…first we pan through the mural, and then you can watch the effect from the Earthquake sundae! I think it’s such a clever way to make the shop unique!
Chocolate Shop Goodies
Not interested in ice cream or sundaes? The shop has tons of chocolate goodies to choose from.
Everything from Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares in bulk to mini chocolate Golden Gate Bridges can be found here. If you aren’t ordering something from the menu, you may bypass the line and head straight for your chocolate shopping spree.
Gather your goodies and head to the register towards the back of the shop to make your payment.
After all purchases are paid for and picked up, you exit the store to pick up napkins and utensils.
There is no indoor seating here, but there are several umbrella covered tables outside as well as lots of seating in the nearby Pacific Wharf seating area.
A Little More About Ghirardelli
Founded 160 years ago in San Francisco, Ghirardelli is one of the only chocolate companies that oversees production of their product from “bean to bar.” This means that they do not purchase any pre-made, unsweetened chocolate bases as many companies do, but rather start with the cocoa fruit and build a superior product from scratch.
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Making Process
Ghirardelli really prides themselves on that “bean to bar” process. They even had a “Chocolate Professor” at the opening to share the chocolate making process with us, which was really quite interesting. I had never seen a cacao pod before!
After the seeds are removed from the fruit, they are then roasted, cracked into “nibs,” and then “winnowed” (husk removal).
Once the nibs are ready, they are ground into a paste, which is where the unsweetened chocolate base comes from. At this point, the chocolate is very very bitter (bottom left bowl).
Conching the chocolate is next. This is the “ingredient” adding process. For milk chocolate you add milk powder (middle left bowl), sugar (top left bowl) and oil (top right bowl). For dark chocolate, you leave the unsweetened base and add oil and sugar.
I really thought that it was interesting to see Ghirardelli’s chocolate making process. After asking if these types of demos would be offered in the store on a regular basis, we were told that it was quite possible and they hoped to offer them for guests.
I really feel like Ghirardelli is a great match for Disney California Adventure. It’s 160-year-long residence in the state makes it a noteworthy part of California’s history. Besides, who wouldn’t want a great place to get a unique sundae!?!
I can’t go wait to go back to try out The Gold Rush peanut butter hot fudge sundae.
Are you a Ghirardelli fan? Have you been to Ghirardelli’s newest location at Disney California Adventure? Got a favorite sundae? Tell us about it!