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Experiences

Warner Brothers Studio Tour – Burbank, CA

By: Eden Duhamel

After over a year of travel restrictions, we can finally start to plan our vacations without worrying about pandemic-related cancellations. Since international travel is limited at the moment, you might be deciding where to travel within the United States. Why not southern California? Yes, I know this is an exceedingly obvious choice for all, especially entertainment lovers, but I visited in September 2019 and have some photos I’m excited to share on this currently photo-less blog.

Located in Burbank, just north of Los Angeles, is the studio that brought you Bonnie and Clyde, Twister, and Batman. The Warner Brothers lot is filled with iconic props, nostalgic sets, and likely more stories than even your favorite film buff knows. For me, taking a tour of the studio was a dream come true.

General information: The traditional tour operates daily and currently costs $69 for adults and $59 for children (July 2021). The guided portion lasts about an hour and no two tours are exactly alike. The tour guides 1) have to work with what sets are available to see without disrupting current productions and 2) ask guests about their favorite shows and movies in order to ensure that the information they’re sharing is of interest. Once the guided tour is over, guests can explore designated self-guided exhibits, grab lunch at the café, and buy merchandise in the gift shop.

You will be reminded of this during your tour, but please note that photos are not permitted during every phase of the tour. As you can see, I still managed to take many pictures. And as a solo traveler, I was pleased to find that the tour guides and exhibit staff were more than happy to take pictures for guests if asked.

Okay, so let’s get into the fun stuff.

For millennials, I believe one of the most recognizable parts of the backlot is the section that was used as the set of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls. Whereas in many shows and movies tight shots are used to create the illusion that the story is set elsewhere, with Gilmore Girls audiences are seeing the backlot in its true form. Just as Rori leaves Lane’s house and crosses the park to Luke’s diner, guests can too. Fun fact: Lane’s house (the antique shop) is also used in an episode of Friends as the Gilmore house. Remember when Ross sits sadly on the stairs on Rachel and Monica’s prom night? Same stairs!

Just around the corner from Stars Hollow, guests can take a photo in front of the Tanner family home as seen in Fuller House. This facade was specifically built for the reboot. The real San Francisco house had been repainted and no longer looks like the home that original Full House fans know and love.

As you already know, Warner Brothers produces many major franchise films, such as Harry Potter and its spin-off Fantastic Beasts as well as Batman and other DC Comic films. There’s so much to see for fans of these movies! Fun fact: Remember in Batman Returns when the Penguin takes control of the Batmobile forcing Batman to speed around New York City? That was filmed on one small block of the backlot and cut together to look like he covered significantly more distance.

After multiple remakes, can we also consider A Star is Born a franchise?

At the end of my visit, I had the great fortune of participating in a scene reenactment in Central Perk from Friends. I played Ross and strongly believe that it was a stellar performance. Where’s my Emmy? Speaking of awards, I held an actual Academy Award during this tour as well. To be honest, it was heavier than I expected…I still want one.

Of course as times change and the studio continues to work on new projects, the tour will change as well. What I saw in 2019, may not be what you see tomorrow. There’s so much to see and learn and I look forward to visiting again in the future.

What is your favorite Warner Brothers classic? Tell us in the comments below!

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