So school has been stressing me out, so I decided to take the weekend and escape to my cousin’s house in SoCal.
As soon as I got to LA, I decided that I wanted to play tourist, and as I planned it, I realized that I really didn’t take advantage of living in LA when I did.
Long story short, I found out that Warner Bros. Studios offers a studio tour, so I jumped on the chance (and convenient SoCal resident discount, courtesy of my cousin). Read on for details …
The Warner Bros. tour isn’t part of a theme park, but I thought it was better than the one at Universal Studios. It does involve riding on a tram for part of it, but we were also able to get off and walk around.
Our guide that afternoon was Sarah (Sara?), and she was super open to tailoring the tour to our personal interests. PRO TIP: Per Sarah’s advice, take the tour on the weekends. While you probably won’t be on the property at the same time as the stars, you’re able to see more of the sets and studio departments when shows aren’t filming. Even if you go on a weekday, you wouldn’t be able to watch something being filmed while on the tour. They close it off.
We toured through backdrops and walked through skeleton houses as Sarah narrated and named movies and shows that have been filmed on studio property, including Grease Live, Batman, Gilmore Girls, La La Land, and The Music Man. Sarah was also nice enough to stop by request for us to take photos in front of places like the façade of the Fuller House house, made to look like the actual house in San Francisco, whose real residents (understandably) aren’t too happy with tourists knocking on their door looking for the Olsen Twins (who aren’t even on Fuller House and don’t even live in San Francisco).
We stopped at a building where props and artwork from various movies were on display. The top floor had memorabilia from every Harry Potter movie and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Go towards the back and try on the Sorting Hat. I didn’t do it. There was a crowd of people and it made me nervous.
The bottom floor has memorabilia from the DC Comics franchise. Check the very front for a display of DC Comic books featuring such heros as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. Walk along the first floor to see costumes from Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad.
Next stop was a tour through the various soundstages around the property. We were lucky to be able to walk through Stage 25, which once housed such classics as Casablanca and Blade Runner, and is now home to The Big Bang Theory. Because it’s a set that’s currently being used to tape a show, we weren’t able to take any pictures, but if you’ve seen the show, just know that the real set is a lot smaller than it looks on TV.
Back outside and across the way is Stage 24 and the FRIENDS plaque. I religiously watched this show from the time I was about 8 or 9 up until the end (and didn’t really understand all the jokes until I was older), and my goal in life was to see the FRIENDS set. More about that later.
Sarah also led us on a tour of the prop department that looks like a cross between my grandmother’s house and a thrift store warehouse. Aisles are tight; watch your oversized bags because if you break it, you buy it.
Across the way from the prop department is a building dedicated to the 75 years of Batman. Again, fangirled so hard. A number of vehicles used in the franchise movies are housed here, and they apparently all work. A couple of the ones from the 90’s movies were built on Chevy Impala engines, which apparently mean they go very fast. There’s also a FRIGGING BAT SIGNAL!!
You can even switch it on and off. SPOILER ALERT: It’s not really that bright when projected. It supposedly projects on the opposite wall, but there’s actually another, brighter spotlight halfway across the room that projects on the wall and is also hooked up to the same switch.
The finale of the tour is Stage 48, which houses the gift shop, a coffee shop, as well as additional memorabilia from additional Warner Bros. cartoons, shows, and movies. There are also special effects stations, and for a fee you can have your picture taken in front of a green screen while riding a broom or motorcycle, or experiencing various other movie effects. Want to know how they make some actors look giant and others like hobbits? One of the displays explain it. Oh, and also …
It’s Central Perk! Stand in line and have your picture taken on the same brown-orange couch and/or behind the coffee counter. They do have a staff member there to pass your phone to and aid in the photography sessions. Sometimes you can participate in a scripted scene on the set, which I didn’t do since the line for the photos was a bit long.
I highly recommend going on this tour, especially if you’re a fan of something from the Warner Bros. franchise. I took a crazy amount of pictures, which I’ll post on Instagram over the next few days.
Have you been on the tour? How about being a part of a studio audience? I’m thinking about requesting tickets to be a part of The Big Bang Theory audience. What do you think?