BURBANK, CALIFORNIA — What’s on the other side of the Hollywood sign? Real movie magic. Warner Bros. Studios sits perfectly pretty against the blue-green slopes of the most famous hill in Hollywoodland. And for a measly (sarcasm) $50, you can step foot onto a lot where film and TV dreams come true for 3 solid hours.
Technically located in Burbank, the Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour takes you behind the scenes of some of La La Land’s best. You and a small crew of foreigners will pop onto an extended golf cart with a young tour guide whose dying to get an “in” at the studio. You’ll breeze around the lot as your guide spouts endless amounts of cinematical wisdom. Example: each building dons a plaque listing all of the well-known shows or movies filmed inside. (Friends! Full House! Goonies! Inception! The Hangover 2!)
After a drive on the trolley past the Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars and Growing Pains neighborhood, we breezed past some outdoor scenes where Friends, the original Batman TV show, Smallville and Casablanca where filmed.
One free souvenir photo against a green screen Hogwarts background complete with prop wands later and we were back on the trolley for a quick trip to the prop house. Upon entering, I was blindsided by this beauty:
We headed back to the trolley where it was now time to lock up our cameras and bags. No photos for this next part. I’m sure this differs on each tour depending on shooting schedules and who your tour guide is friends with, but we were able to wander around the entire Chuck set. It was amazing and I don’t even watch Chuck. Next, we sat in the empty studio audience seats of Shit My Dad Says (affectionately called “Bleep My Dad Says” by the tour guide).
Now back to the trolley where our cameras were still locked up and on to an intimate 2-story museum featuring costumes from Willy Wonka, Bonnie and Clyde, Casablanca and Inception among other films. The upstairs is dedicated fully to costumes and props from Harry Potter. With only 20 minutes to spend, we had to breeze through it pretty quickly.
A short drive past Ellen and Conan’s offices and we were back at the entrance of the studio. The $50 ticket plus $7 for parking? Expensive, but well worth it. For movie buffs, the Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour is almost everything you’d hope for. Sit at the front of the cart and ask your guide any questions you want. Express your favorite films and TV shows and he’ll be sure to tell you or show you something about it.
When the tour comes to an end and you’ve collected your souvenir Harry Potter photo, you’ll be hungry (and ready to digest all of the movie knowledge you just consumed). The Original Big Boy is just down the street.