The VIP Studio Tour at Warner Bros. Studios took us “into the scenes” to see a side of Hollywood usually closed to industry outsiders.
I didn’t think you could go on real studio tours. I thought they were closed off to the public, but it turns out that you can sign up to visit a real-live-honest-to-goodness working studio. And it’s easy.
Amber, our tour guide, took our party of twelve on a 2 1/4 hour cart tour to see famous sets, stages, props, costumes, and vehicles. It’s the real thing, and because of that, you never know what you will see. Working sets are off-limits, while others might change from Hart of Dixie Spanish-moss covered trees one day, to an open space to stage an explosion for The Mentalist another.
Even if you’re not a movie or TV fanatic, it’s interesting to observe this mini-city in action. Spread over 110 acres – with 10,000 employees, and its own gas station and fire department – Warner Bros. Studios is large enough to warrant its own zip code.
We covered a lot of ground with a guide who was an amazing treasure trove of movie and TV trivia. But there was no way to see it all. Warner Bros. Studios has gathered a lot of memories in the 75 years+ that it’s been filming Oscar and Emmy winning shows.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the day was just how many of those memories came to mind as we discovered one familiar set or prop after another.
Entering into New York City, we headed toward the set of Harry’s Law. This is also one of the exterior sets recently used by Clint Eastwood to film J. Edgar.
We entered the interior set for Harry’s Law, as well as the live audience stage for Mike & Molly, but photos were not allowed in the latter.
TMI at the scene of the “most romantic kiss,” Spiderman’s upside-down smooch. Turns out that the sweet kiss might not have been so beautiful up close. (No, I won’t spoil it for you.)
If you see an exploding building on The Mentalist, you can say you saw it here first.
No moss grows on these trees – Spanish Moss is carefully hung on these enormous trees to film each episode of Hart of Dixie.
And who could forget the Scoobymobile?
Or the flying car in Harry Potter?
I was thrilled to find an extensive collection of Harry Potter memorabilia, covering an entire floor of the museum. Photos were not allowed here, but I can tell you that you will find Giant Spiders, Troll legs with the stuntman’s harness, the Golden Egg, and much, much more. What I won’t tell you is which house the Sorting Hat assigned to me, only that it’s the right call for “loyal friends.”
Go See It!Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour 3400 Riverside Drive Burbank, CA 91522 Parking ($7) available at Gate 6, behind the building. Children 8 yrs + are welcome. Cost: $49.00/person (Discounts available through WB Insider Rewards.) Tours run nearly 2.5 hours (5 hour tours available at additional cost) 8:20-4:-00pm Monday-Friday, open on weekends in Spring/Summer. For more information, and to reserve a tour, go to http://vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com/ Important note – Adults must bring legal photo identification, You will have to show it at the ticket counter.
Where To Eat: On the extended Deluxe Tour, you will dine at the Studio Plaza Café where you can enjoy breakfast among studio personnel. But around the corner from the Warner Bros. Studio entrance is a McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant. Warm and inviting, the menu features seafood so fresh it practically swims off the table. Best of all, daily printed menus showcase local and seasonal ingredients highlighted on the day’s menu.
Sandra Foyt | Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: email@example.com, Twitter @SandraFoyt.