I’m a movie tragic so I’m fascinated by Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes secrets. I’ve visited all the Los Angeles studios over the years, doing tours at each. I find it interesting seeing working film sets, trying to spot a celebrity and hearing the history of the studios. But we’ve never visited as a family. There’s never been enough time and to be honest, I think the tours are best suited to teenagers and adults. That’s not to say kids won’t enjoy the tours but I think they’ll get more value out of it when they’re more mature given it’s three hours long.
When AJ and I had our girl’s trip to the US last year I was excited to share the Warner Bros Studio Tour with her. I felt she was finally the right age to appreciate it. She’d heard plenty about my previous tours and she was keen to experience it for herself.
Warner Bros. Studio is one of the busiest working studios in Los Angeles with shows like Big Bang Theory, Gilmore Girls, Sheldon and Ellen filmed on the lot. Every day is different on the lot so no tour is ever the same, making it fresh even if returning for a repeat visit.
Once allocated a guide and trolley we were off on our tour. As a die hard Gilmore Girls fan I was happy to show AJ Luke’s Diner, Miss Patty’s Dance Studio and the facades used as the township of Stars Hollow.
Although it’s exciting seeing sets from shows or movies you’ve watched, the movie geek in me loves hearing how the movie magic happens. Our guide described how the building facades are changed to suit the era the show or movie is set in. The detail which goes into making movies realistic from the door handle choice, the paint work and set dressing, I find it all fascinating. And it only makes me appreciate my movie experiences even more.
THE PROP DEPARTMENT
A walk through the enormous props department is like walking into an antique store with a range of high end items mixed with everyday bits and bobs. Our guide pointed out props and told us how they’d been used in various movies and music videos. A ladder signed by Lady Gaga had AJ reaching for her camera to take a close up photo.
As we wandered through looking left to right and from floor to ceiling we were amazed at the curious combination of items housed in the enormous space.
THE WIZARDLY WORLD OF HARRY POTTER
Harry Potter fans (which we are sadly not) must go nuts for the extensive display of costumes and props from the movie franchise.
The studio tour explores the original Harry Potter movie and Fantastic Beast movies.
A cool interactive experience with the sorting hat will decide if you are brave, ambitious, hardworking or clever and advise which Hogwarts House you belong to.
For an additional fee you can hop on Harry Potter’s broomstick for a photo opportunity.
Batman fans will love entering the Batcave which features authentic cars spanning nearly 30 years of film history.
Vehicles are rotated from time to time but the collection includes, Bathammer, Batpod and Tumbler.
I’ve watched every episode of Friends and would’ve loved to have joined the cast on the Central Perk couch back in the day. All problems seemed to be solved over a coffee and a chat on that couch.
Doing the Warner Bros Tour was a good excuse to introduce AJ to the show before we left home. And I I loved sharing the Friends’ couch with her for a photo.
Last time I did the tour I sang Smelly Cat while strumming Phoebe’s guitar. I will not confirm or deny if it was performed with a Phoebe-like talent. Even if it was, clearly I was acting.
We visited the Big Bang Theory set but as the finale was yet to be filmed, we weren’t allowed to use our cameras in the studio. It was great for AJ to hear how filming occurs in front of a live audience, and to see the sets and the illusion of an apartment which can be created in such a small space.
A friend recently did the tour and they visited the Ellen set, something I’d love to do after trying for years to get tickets to a live taping of the show. For me it would be the next best thing.
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour is accessible with modified trolleys which can accommodate a wheelchair user who needs to stay seated in their wheelchair..
Ramp access is provided to the trolley.
We found the majority of attractions are located in spacious areas with easy access and elevators to the second level.
Andrew and his wife Jen are long time members of our Have Wheelchair Will Travel community and also gave the Warner Bros Studio Tour a big thumbs up saying, “We loved Warner bros… Accessible tram… Batmobile room… Props.”
Please ensure you contact Warner Bros. Studio Tours Hollywood in advance to book an accessible trolley tour.
Wheelchairs are available to loan for guests with limited mobility.
Warner Bros. Studio makes ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters available to guests as needed. If you need an interpreter, contact the Tour Center 72 hours before your tour to ensure arrangements can be made.
Service dogs are welcome on studio tours. Contact the Tour Center before your visit and notify them of your service dog. Note other animals and pets are not allowed on studio tours.
CENTRAL PERK CAFE
At the conclusion of the tour, visitors are free to grab a Central Perk coffee or snack in the replica Central Perk Cafe.
You can grab a souvenir from the gift store which has a range of merchandise from Harrry Potter, Friends, Gilmore Girls and other Warner Bros. Studio movies and TV shows.
AJ and I arrived straight from the airport with our large suitcases. We had checked in advance they could be stored while we participated in the tour. We didn’t anticipate the airport-like security screening which included opening our bags for inspection. It wasn’t a problem and staff happily stored our luggage but I thought I’d mention it to anyone else trying to squeeze the tour in on the way to or from the airport because you need to allow a little extra time.
I loved my second visit to Warner Bros Studio as much as my first and feel AJ was the perfect age to appreciate the tour. A big thanks to Alison for snapping the pictures of the accessible trolley tour, something we hadn’t managed to find while we were there.
The Warner Bros Studio Tour is 3 hours long so ensure you allow enough time in your plans to enjoy it. You can read more about the tour on the Warner Bros website.
We were hosted for our tour, but as always my perky opinions are my own – I just had to add one Friends reference in before finishing!
Costumes from A Star is Born