Our recent trip to Burbank, California had us just a few miles from the famous Warner Brothers Studios and even though I’ve lived in the state for 40+ years, I had never taken the Warner Bros. Studios Tour. It was time and I thought it was also perfect that I had my oldest daughter with me. We are both such huge fans of the TV series Friends, we knew they had some great photo opportunities within the tour so we were thrilled! Our stay at the Safari Inn in Burbank had us set up with a complimentary shuttle ride to and from the studios, so we didn’t have to worry about parking. We checked in and only waited about 20 minutes before 3-5 groups of people entered another room for a pre-tour video. Soon after we were put in groups by assignment letters and appointed a tour guide and on our way. The full tour is approximately 3 hours long from start to finish, with 10 backlots and 30 soundstages, Warner Bros. has made some of the most iconic performances in Hollywood history come to life on the studio’s 110-acres.
My daughter and I climbed into the front seat of what looked like a limo version of a golf cart with about a dozen others. Our tour started out visiting iconic backlots which have been the exterior sets for classic films and TV shows such as Casablanca, Batman,Gilmore Girls, Friends and more. Diana was our guide and she filled us in on so much information, I’m sure she could write a book. I could hardly keep up with my notes because there is so much history here as well as today’s hottest and most popular movies and television shows currently in production.
I loved the flashbacks that went through my head as Diana described scenes from shows I’m familiar with, even a small grassy lot or staircase can bring a flood of memories. My daughter and I smiled and nodded at so many things we remember even a generation apart, this tour is really great for every age level!
Next up was a journey from concept art to final designs used on set of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the Harry Potter films. My husband and I read all the Harry Potter books, as did our children, and of course we watched all the movies. This was a fun exhibit, we saw the detailed costumes of Lord Voldemort, the Weasley’s, Harry, Ron, and Hermione and even get sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses by the magical Sorting Hat. I had a strange feeling about where I’d land, and I was right!
*Click on the above photo to watch the video.
Additionally in this same exhibit hall you’ll find tons of DC Comics memorabilia and original Batman items. We even stopped into check out the Batmobile Collection and just the simple bat signal was impressive to me!Something I loved about Diana is that she took a poll of our group and focused on things that were really relevant to us. One super fun stop we all agreed on was over to Stage 25, home to The Big Bang Theory, America’s highest-rated network television comedy. Of course no photos on a working set, but we got to see so much inside and learned that when they first started, they PAID people to come sit in the audience, now you’re lucky if you can get a ticket. Just seeing the chairs with the actors’ names on them just makes you realize what a cool tour this really is!
For fourteen seasons The Ellen DeGeneres Show has called stages 1, 2 and 3 home. I was so excited about going on her set, I was near tears! Again no photos inside, but if you watch the show enough you know exactly what to look at and look for! We walked by the riff-raff room and even saw dozens of flat screen tvs and knew that had to be her next audience giveaway. We sat in the audience and had perfect view of Ellen’s chair. I’ve been able to acquire tickets to her show when she filmed in Las Vegas years ago, but never here….yet. I’m still trying and look forward to the day I can actually sit in the audience with her at the helm!
The Property Department was established in the early days of the Studio to house the antiques from the very first Warner Bros. productions. Today, it has grown to over 200,000 square feet and four floors of set dressing, home to more than 450,000 registered artifacts, the Warner Bros. Prop Department contains countless treasures used in nearly a century’s worth of entertainment. I immediately got excited at the lanterns from Inception when they were pointed out, upon returning from our trip it was one of the first movies I had to rewatch!
Stage 48 was where we actually got to sit and stand on the Friends’ Central Perk set. It was so cool and my daughter loved it as much as I did as we sat in the famous chair holding our Central Perk mugs! Since there was few people in line for photos at the time, they allowed us to go behind the bar where Gunther would pour coffee, and also near the window with the branded logo to our backs! There’s a working café and the only place in Los Angeles where Friends fans can order, purchase and enjoy an actual cup of Central Perk branded coffee! Grab a cup of your favorite blend from the coffeehouse that Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey and Ross all loved. Or, buy a bag of authentic Central Perk Café coffee to take home with you. The only bummer, the white mug we purchased was ruined in the dishwasher. The logo literally melted off. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood’s Script to Screen is interactive sound stage explores phases of the film and television production process. Here is where you see how Hollywood is made and ride a broomstick like Harry Potter with our green screen experience or move your body in animation like Dobby.
Our tour tickets were hosted, all opinions are 100% our own.