Since I’ve moved out to California to intern, I’ve visited Disneyland numerous times (posts forthcoming), but have also done some non Disney activities. I figure better late than never for reporting on my California adventures! Enjoy the next two weeks of posts as I catch up a bit.
Four of my intern friends and I decided to buy tickets for the Warner Brothers Studio Tour for a Saturday morning. Supposedly, the chances of seeing a star are much higher during the week when filming is actually going on, but we all have work so we had to go on the weekend.
After reading a few reviews of this tour, I had high expectations for the tour and my high expectations were exceeded! If you don’t want to read about the details of the tour so that yours is a total surprise, don’t read ahead.
We arrived at Warner Brothers a full 30 minutes before our tour time. I drove everyone and wanted to be early rather than late especially since I’m still not used to the California roads so we checked in and then grabbed some Starbucks breakfast that we scarfed down before the tour. Our letter/color combination was called and we were escorted into a small theatre where we saw a short film for about 15 minutes. Ellen DeGeneres introduced us to the tour during the short and we saw small clips of Warner Brothers films. We then boarded our tour trams and headed out on tour!
We had a fantastic tour guide who was very knowledgeable about the Studios and asked us at the beginning what we were interested in so that he could bring us to the right places. No video was allowed on the tour and we were only allowed to take photos at certain spots.
One of our first stops was the Ellen DeGeneres stage. We actually were allowed to take photos here, but the photos don’t do the experience justice. It was really neat to be in Ellen’s audience and see the seats reserved for her Mom, Twitch, as well as a few other people. The stage is a lot smaller than you would expect, as well as the area where she walks out at the beginning to do her monologue. Since the show wasn’t filming during the week we were there, we saw many props and set pieces crammed in to the monologue area. Tickets are very hard to get to her show, but I have my fingers crossed that while I’m out here I will be able to go. We walked through the Ellen shop, but it was closed so we could not buy anything. We also saw Conan’s stage, but I’ve never gotten into his show so I wasn’t as excited.
The prop building was one of our next stops and it reminded me of the old area you would walk through on Walt Disney World’s Backlot Tour in Hollywood Studios. We saw hundreds of props, some with reserved tags on them for the shows they were needed for. This painting of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca was on the garage doors of the building. I recognized a few of the props, but not as many as I had expected to. Some of the dolls from Pretty Little Liars were here and they were very creepy. I think it would be challenging to try to find a prop you need for a show though as items were grouped by categories (ex. lights in one section) but did not appear to be organized much more. Maybe during the week, someone works in the prop shop or there’s a master inventory online.
We then went to a building with a Batman exhibit. I’ve seen a couple of the movies, but not in a while, so I need to watch them again to refresh my mind on what I saw. The Batmobile, as well as other vehicles were here. You could even try turning on the projector light for the bat symbol to appear in the sky.
Our next stop was the Warner Brothers Archive Building. The first floor was Harley Quinn and superhero focused items. The second floor was the Harry Potter exhibit where I spent most of my time.
Tons of props were in this exhibit from the Privet Drive sign to Dobby himself and clothes from the Triwizard Tournament. You could be sorted into a house with the sorting hat as well. Warner Brothers added a section at the end for the new Fantastic Beasts movie. I really enjoyed this section as I’ve watched the movie three times now and love it. Posters and costumes were the main items on display.
But they had this bed and briefcase, as well as the bakery creatures in a glass case from the end of the movie. Either most people had not seen this movie or did not care as much because this section was fairly empty. We stopped in this building for 20 minutes and you could also use the restrooms here if you needed to.
We proceeded to Stage 25 next where The Big Bang Theory is currently filming and where many classics (ex. Casablanca) were filmed. We were not allowed to take photos in The Big Bang Theory set but it was much smaller than I had pictured. The couch where Sheldon’s spot is does not look like it could fit three people comfortably. The seats are also higher up and removed from the set a bit, but I’d still love to see it filmed if I could.
We drove past the La La Land set areas, which I still had not seen at the time, as well as Gilmore Girls spots (also have not seen).
We arrived at a few Pretty Little Liars homes which was neat to see as I have seen that show and saw the infamous chapel as well. We learned a few fun facts about the show such as that one house might have been used to film the inside of one character’s house and the outside of another’s and that the blowing up of a character’s house was written into the script because Warner Brothers needed to get rid of that building.
Our tour wrapped up in…a gift shop! Of course, what else would make sense? But, here was where the Friends set was as well so you could have your picture taken on the iconic couch. Here’s the one of me by myself but we also took one as a group.
Overall, there’s really nothing I would change about the tour and I would give it five stars! I wish we got tickets to come back and see a show being filmed but I know so many people take this tour, that realistically that would be impossible. If you’re in Southern California, I highly recommend booking tickets to go on this tour!