When planning all of the fun touristy things I could do whilst visiting Los Angeles, discovering that Warner Brothers studios runs a VIP tour for fans to see the sets of some of their favourite television shows and movies, there was no question about it… We were going. We booked our tickets online in advance and booked our time slot so that we could fit in everything we needed to. You have the options of a 2 hour VIP tour or a 5 hour Deluxe tour. We chose to do the VIP tour and we were not disappointed!
So what was the Warner Brothers Studios VIP tour like?
Unfortunately for me, the Ellen DeGeneres show doesn’t film in July/August so I was devastated to realise that I wouldn’t be able to go to a taping of their incredible show. However, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour was as close as I was going to get, I just didn’t know it yet. With some of my favourite television shows filmed or currently filming at Warner Brothers lot I knew this tour was going to ignite my inner fan girl of the shows like Ellen, Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist, Two & A Half Men, Conan, Friends, E.R., Gilmore Girls, Hart Of Dixie, 2 Broke Girls and Shameless.
Due to a terrible LA cab driver who was late, had absolutely no idea where he was going and couldn’t follow his GPS we ended up arriving to the tour late instead of the 35 minutes early we had planned for. This meant we missed watching the video segment shown to guests before the tour begins, so unfortunately guys, I can’t say much about this. We were given the option to watch it at the end of the tour but were on a tight schedule and couldn’t squeeze it in.
So how did it all go down and what did I see?
The tour begins at the Studio Tour Centre & Store and like I just mentioned, unfortunately we missed watching the video shown at the start of the tour. You can grab a bite to eat from Starbucks and purchase some awesome merchandise from some of your favourite shows and films like a ‘Bazinga’ shirt from Big Bang Theory, Ellen clothing, Harry Potter wands and so much more.
We then hopped into our cart with our tour guide and we were off. It’s pretty cool riding around on the backlots in the cart going past iconic sets and seeing props from all different famous shows and films.
We then stopped at the Warner Brothers Museum which is currently featuring a Batman exhibit with many props, costumes and most importantly batman masks! Featured in order of film, it was incredibly cool to walk around and see the Batman transformations along with all the villains too.
Upstairs for me was an even better exhibit but. The Harry Potter exhibit. Having been to the Warner Brothers Making Of Harry Potter tour in London (which took almost a whole day to explore) I didn’t think I’d see anything here I hadn’t before. Wrong! There were plenty more costumes and props that I hadn’t seen yet and the best part, being sorted into a Hogwarts house by the Sorting Hat! (Hufflepuff is the life for me apparently!)
From here we ventured through many more backlots where we could see the crew working on an outside street for scene from Hart Of Dixie to be shot. We also stopped off in one of the unused sound stages to see more of the Batman exhibit, the iconic cars from the films and the awesome Batlight!
Our tour guide announced that if we love Friends our next stop will excite us so of course my inner fan girl was getting excited. We lined up for our glimpse inside the set of Central Perk from the TV show and an opportunity to sit and get a photo on the iconic couch from the show (yes, I can officially now say I have set with Jennifer Aniston… kind of). Seeing the detail that goes into the set is incredible with no finer detail missed.
We also stopped off at the Props Department for a walk through the hundreds… no, thousands of props available to set designers from within Warner Brothers and also for rent to outside shows and films. I kid you not, there is not a single spot you can look at without something catching your eye. From fake blood splatter to crystal chandeliers and Presidential emblems to furniture and nick knacks you can find just about anything here.
Back on the cart we got and headed over to Stage 1 as I squealed with joy when our guide announced that this was in fact the set of the Ellen DeGeneres Show and while it sucked that she wasn’t currently filming it meant that we could walk around and see inside. Win I say! Unfortunately, they’re super strict on photography and phones within these stages so I wasn’t able to take any photographs but I can assure you that her set is awesome, although much smaller than it appears on television (but this is quite common in showbiz). My real fan girl moment was when our guide had taken us past the Riff-Raff room and onto the actual Ellen stage and said that we could (if we wanted to) dance on the audience stairs just like the lady herself. Everyone else laughed but I of course said ‘hell yes‘ and did a boogie through the aisles of her audience. Something I won’t forget (or the people on my tour) quickly.
Whilst driving through the backlots of the tour we drove past the stage that films The Mentalist, which was filming the day we were there. Myself and Emma were sitting at the back of the cart and as we were driving past the set we noticed a male in a suit walking towards the stage door. Before we had time to react we had driven past but I can say confidently that I saw Simon Baker (an incredible Aussie actor and lead actor on the show) whilst on the tour, so celeb spotting is definitely possible!
Often television shows allow regular people like you and I to sit in their audience and be part of the experience such as Conan and Ellen DeGeneres. After doing some investigating, we requested tickets to be in the studio audience for Conan which was such a cool experience and I definitely recommend requesting tickets after your tour if you can. There’s always different guests and Conan and his crew are hilarious and it was incredibly interesting to see how shows like this come together to what we see on television.
I ]recommend this tour for anyone who wants to see behind the scenes of some their favourite television shows and films. Even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of any of the particular shows, seeing the behind the scenes action that happens for these scenes to come together on our screen is a fantastic experience.
Avoid this tour if you aren’t interested in film or television. That’s pretty much it, it’s a really fun tour for anyone!
Tickets should be purchased online for either the VIP tour or Deluxe tour to and a time slot is selected at the time of purchase to ensure your group can stay together, so group sizes remain small and so that tours run smoothly. Tickets are however available at the Studio Tour Centre on a first come first served basis. Ensure you arrive to your tour at least 30 minutes prior to your allotted time to ensure you are checked in and ready for your tour to depart.
Visit the Warner Brothers Studio Tour at 3400 W. Riverside Dr. Burbank, CA 91505.
All posts are by Global Whispers and are entirely my own opinions, views and experiences.