Los Angeles Studio Tours

As part of my ‘celebrity’ experience in the USA, I decided to visit all of the major studios in town that offer behind-the-scenes tours to get a glimpse of some of that movie magic.

Each studio has been given a ‘star rating’ out of 5 based on service and overall experience.

Please note that, with the exception of Universal Studios, it is highly recommended that advance bookings are made for each tour.

Universal Studios Tour
One of the most popular studio tours in LA, Universal Studios bundles the background experience of a studio tour with the adventure elements of a theme park.

With exciting rides like Jurassic Park and The Simpsons 3D Adventure, Universal Studios offers something for everyone.

The studio tour itself is a bit corny and over-acted but it’s perfect for the type of theme park that it is. Guests expect to experience a dash of ‘movie magic’ and that’s delivered many times over.

From the uber-realistic King Kong 3D to driving through ‘Wisteria Lane’, Whoopi Goldberg and your ‘Studio Host’ let you in on the tips and tricks moviemakers use to create those Hollywood blockbusters we all know and love.

Depending on the time of year, for approximately $40 more than the price of General Admission, guests can purchase a ‘Front of Line’ pass which offers the following:
  • Priority access to ALL rides and attractions
  • Reserved seating at ALL shows
  • Special behind-the-scenes access at WaterWorld, T2: 3D, and Universal’s Animal Actors

There is nothing better than truly feeling like a star and saving valuable time by not waiting in what can sometimes be a very long queue for your favourite ride.

Read our ‘On Location’ from Universal Studios here.

 

 

Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tour
My first experience of a working studio was so exciting!

This is the studio where Ellen Degeneres films her show daily and, given that I couldn’t obtain tickets to the show that I love so much, it was as close as I was going to get to actually seeing her.

I may not have been successful in an Ellen sighting, but, if the reaction I had when I saw her parking space is any indication, it probably was best for everyone that she didn’t appear during the tour!

Our tour guide, Scott, ensured that he knew what the group were fans of so as to tailor the tour to include our favourite movies, TV shows and celebrities.

We perused the menu at the remodelled ‘Central Perk’ from ‘Friends’, saw the many incarnations of the ‘Batmobile’ in the ‘Picture Car Museum’, gazed in awe at the many costumes worn by actors in a myriad of movies over the years and walked down ‘New York Street’ which has featured in TV shows like ‘Gilmore Girls’ and movies like ‘A Star Is Born’.

Passing through the same gate as so many leading actors and directors have done before you gives you the feeling of being a part of something truly special.

Every tour is different, guests have no idea who they may encounter and what movies or TV shows are currently filming. One group was lucky enough to have Tom Cruise join them on their tour to listen to the tour guide’s history of ‘New York Street’ that was being transformed into Tokyo for his movie ‘The Last Samurai’. Another particularly cold guest was kept warm by Martin Sheen’s coat during their tour…they promised to return it to the soundstage at the end of the tour of course!

Founded in 1923 and situated on 110 acres in Burbank, California, Warner Bros. Studios productions have received more than 200 Academy Awards and numerous Emmy Awards.

This rich history is explained in an entertaining way by your guide and for only $48 per person, this is a tour I recommend any ‘cine-file’ attend.

Operating Monday through Friday from 8:20am to 4pm, VIP tours leave every 20 minutes and extended hours are offered during spring and summer. For those true movie buffs, Deluxe VIP Tours are offered daily at 10:20am for $225. Children under eight are not permitted.

Read our ‘On Location’ from Warner Bros. Studios here.

Sony Pictures Studios Tour
A little different to the others I experienced, Sony Pictures Studios Tour is a walking tour and my time there really re-iterated how important it is to have a guide that you connect with as well as an interesting group.

Whilst our guide was very educated, it just seemed as if he may have repeated himself a few too many times so the excitement was a bit lacking compared to the other tours I experienced. Granted, our group seemed a bit ‘tired’ as well so neither complemented the other.

On a more positive note, we did catch a glimpse of Katie Holmes walking into the main building potentially to discuss a new movie with the head studio honchos!

We were told to refrain from using our cameras most of the time which was a downfall to the tour. There was nothing I wanted more than to take a photo on the set of either ‘Jeopardy’ or ‘Wheel of Fortune’ which we were lucky enough to view.

Located in Culver City, tours are conducted from Monday through Friday at 9:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. Tickets are $33 per person and children under the age of 12 are not permitted.

Read our ‘On Location’ from Sony Pictures Studios here.



Paramount Studios
Seeing that infamous water tank and larger than life blue screen gave me goosebumps.

Visiting the perfectly manicured lot at Paramount Studios was a dream come true and everywhere I looked reminded me of a moment in movie making history.

Our tour guide, Andre, was everything you could hope for in a guide, animated, entertaining and someone who clearly loves their job…and the movies of course!

We were taken on a journey through movie making history. From tales of the many premiers held at the lot to the time of DesiLu Productions when old school Hollywood reigned and star power was the name of the game.

There were minimal areas that didn’t allow guests access to take photos which really heightened the experience and increased the amount of photos I was able to share on Facebook which is always a positive really!

We even had the opportunity to watch scenes being filmed for new TV show ‘Rizzoli and Isles’ and I refrained from singing “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated” whilst skipping past ‘Laverne and Shirley’s’ apartment…

One of the best things about Paramount Studios was the access that guests have.

If you want to arrive early for a coffee or a bite to eat at either their cafe or restaurant, you might find yourself sitting across from any number of actors on a break from filming!

Sit back and relax in the sun on a seat along their manicured promenade to do some star spotting in their ‘natural habitat’.

At $40 per person, tours are conducted from Monday to Friday at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm and are a must for anyone who dreams of the golden days of Hollywood.

Read our ‘On Location’ from Paramount Studio here.

 

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: Natalie Aroyan
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