Studio Tour Information Thread - Warner Bros, Paramount, and Sony

Discussion in 'Southern California' started by hurleysweety, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. hurleysweety

    hurleysweety <font color=deeppink>DISPrincess in Training<br><f

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    I recently looked up this information while deciding which tours, if any, we would do and thought I would share with the boards. Here are the three main studio tours available in Hollywood/LA.

    Studio Tour Information

    Warner Bros VIP Tour (IMO, the best, and if you only do one, do this one!)
    Tours available every day and is the only tour available on weekends. Monday-Friday, departs every 15 minutes beginning at 8:15 until the last tour at 3:45 (sometimes 4pm is available). Weekend tour hours differ depending on season. Check website for details.
    • Website: http://vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com/
    • Cost: $49 for all ages, 8 and up only, must bring ID for everyone in group
    • 2 hr 25 min Tour
    • 5 Hour Deluxe Tour available at 10:15, daily for $250 (not Go Card eligible)
    • 3400 W. Riverside Dr. Burbank, CA 91505
    • Enter Through Avon Street Parking on Gate 6
    • There is a $7.00 parking fee)
    • Take the 405 North to the 101 South to the 134 East. Exit Pass Avenue, turning right onto Pass. Turn left at the second light onto Riverside Drive. Take Riverside past Hollywood Way. Turn right at Avon Street and left onto Warner Blvd. Follow signs to VIP Tour parking.
      **Personal Opinions about Warner Brothers - Definitely our favorite. WB has the only backlot (outdoor set) area and that is just fun to see! For added value, be sure to go during the fall/spring when they are shooting shows as you'll have a better chance of seeing more going on. Since we went in the off season, we didn't see much - but we did come across some amazing...things. If you like the show, "FRIENDS" than you have to go on this tour - you won't regret it. We liked this tour so much, we would definitely go again - and possibly consider the Deluxe experience someday!

    Paramount Pictures - M-F - Departs every 30 minutes beginning at 9:30, last tour at 2:30 - $48
    4 1/2 Hour Special "VIP Tour" available for $150 departs at 10 AM each day (not Go Card eligible)
    2 Hour Tour
    Parking at Windsor Lot A for $7
    Arrive 30 mins before
    Vistor entrance at Melrose Gate
    Located at 5555 Melrose Avenue Hollywood, CA 90038
    **Personal Opinions about Paramount - Very cool grounds and architecture here. We got to see the folley room where people make all the noise/sound effects for movies. Also, you'll see some interesting things like seeing where Lucille Ball's office was once and other fun historical things (don't want to ruin any surprises!). If you like shows done by Paramount, you'll enjoy seeing where they are filmed too.

    Sony Pictures - M-F - Departs every hour beginning at 9:30, last tour at 2:30 - $35
    Twilight Tours are offered on Thursday nights at 6:30 pm (not Go Card eligible)
    Approx 2 hours - walking tour
    The Tour Department is located in the Sony Pictures Plaza in Culver City, just east of the San Diego (405) Freeway and south of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway. We are conveniently located twenty minutes from Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, downtown Los Angeles and LAX. Free underground parking is available at the Sony Pictures Plaza building, across from the main gate to the studios. The Tour Department is located in the rear of the SPP lobby by the museum.
    **Personal Opinions about Sony: We went on all three tours in June 2012 and were very disappointed by this tour. Most of the tour was "here is a giant warehouse where such and such movie was filmed, and here are the doors to the jeopardy building." We went inside to see Wheel of Fortune, but since it was the off-season, it was just bleachers and an empty set. I could tell people were really not happy with the quality of the tour. I was glad we had already gotten our money's worth and had not paid full ticket price.

    Additional Notes:
    • The special tours at Paramount and Warner Bros include lunch, which can takes about an hour of the tour time.
    • All three tours are available on the LA Go Card which offers free admission to these attractions plus more for one flat rate per day (you can buy a 1 day, 2 day, 3 day, 5 day or 7 day pass).
    • If you use the Go Card, you can make your reservations by calling each studio and giving them the date, time, and name of the members in your group. Check online first to see what is available.
    • If you use the Go Card,you can only tour the WB studio on the weekends or between 2:00-4:00, Monday - Friday. The fine print doesn't include Sunday, but when you call, they will tell you all weekend tours are available with the Go Card.

    Hope this helps anyone interested in the tours. I will add more information as I find it!
     
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  3. pipervali

    pipervali Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for compiling all of this. My group has already settled on the Paramount tour. Mostly because two of us are big Glee fans and strong armed the other two into doing it :lol: But I've also been giving some thought to the WB one as well.
     
  4. hurleysweety

    hurleysweety <font color=deeppink>DISPrincess in Training<br><f

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    You're welcome! We are scheduled and have booked reservations to go on all three tours this Sunday and Monday. So I will compile the pictures I'm allowed to take and include more tips as well! :goodvibes
     
  5. kkendle

    kkendle Mouseketeer

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    Did you do all 3 tours? Just wondering as we are wanting to do at least one of the tours and wondered which one you liked better?

    Any info on these 3 tours would be greatly appreciated!

    kelly
     
  6. hurleysweety

    hurleysweety <font color=deeppink>DISPrincess in Training<br><f

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    Hi!

    We went on all three tours. You can definitely skip Sony pictures. Barely worth the drive unless you are huge fans of wheel of fortune and go during their season (nov-march?).

    Warner Bros was our favorite. They have a great backlot too. If you are/were fans of Gilmore girls, pretty little liars, friends, hart of Dixie, big bang theory, two and a half men. You won't be disappointed. You spend the most time on the cart in this one. Plus you get to walk through parts of the backlot. What you see will depend on what is currently shooting and in production while you are there.

    Paramount was pretty fun too. I would suggest this if you are a fan of dr Phil, big time rush, dr oz, Lucille ball (and nostalgia from her and deli Arnez). We had the best tour guide on this trip. This trip required a bit more walking, but their was a cart to take us from place to place. This studio also depends on what is in production and what is open for you to see that day. You won't know until you get there.

    Paramount had more of a movie focused tour while Warner brothers was more tv focused.

    I would look and see which studio produces more shows that you and your family like. It was so weird that a lot of people on the tour didn't seem to care that we were on the set of tv show. In fact on the Warner bros tour I almost wanted to ask some of them if they've ever watched tv. LOL. And this is coming from someone who watches less than half the average of my friends!

    Feel free to ask more questions! :)
     
  7. kkendle

    kkendle Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for answering!! Did you happen to go to Universal Studios as well? I know they also have a tour which is different from the rest. The tours you described sound good....so basically, you look around sets of shows...so you might drive by the Friends set and look at it?

    I am wondering if it would be worth it for the money for us....we have never done a tour like this so thought it might be interesting but looking at a bunch of empty sets might not be as exciting as I thought..maybe for the money we should just go to Universal. I have been to Universal in Orlando several times and know the Hollywood park is half the size.

    I really don't know what to do. Did you do any of the hop on hop off tour busses? They sounds kind of neat too and you could see a lot of different things that way.

    Thanks for your help...I appreciate it!
     
  8. hurleysweety

    hurleysweety <font color=deeppink>DISPrincess in Training<br><f

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    We didn't make it up to Universal, so I can't comment about the park. Their studio tour is more of a "ride" than a studio tour, from what I've heard. But it might suit a family better - or thrill seekers with all the coasters and such.

    As for what to do in LA - we used the GoCard. Its this card that you purchase for a certain number of days. Much like Disney tix - you can use them whichever days you want over a 14 day period. The card gives you access to about 40 different attractions include all three studio tours. A couple of the celebrity home/hop on hop off tours are offered on their too.

    We got the two day card and did all three studio tours, madame tussads, the hollywood museum, and went to the Santa Monica Pier. It takes some careful planning, but its doable! The card is good from 9AM to 5PM. So as long as you get to an attraction by 5PM, you can be at/use the attraction until it closes.

    When you get the 3 day card, you get a free ticket to Universal. So you'd then have a day at Universal plus 2 days for the other attractions!

    We bought the card at about a 20% discount from last minute travel. They email you a voucher and then you have to redeem it at any of their locations (but check on the site which locations will let you redeem vouchers). You can also buy from them directly and have them send it to you via mail (if you have time) or through a voucher as well.

    Hope that helps!
     
  9. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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  10. SnowWhite12

    SnowWhite12 DIS Veteran

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    Dang it! I just looked at the WB tour, which looks amazing! However, can't do it because kids under 8 can't go:mad:
     
  11. Jajone

    Jajone DIS Veteran

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    What kind of ID do you bring for the kids?
     
  12. danaesacto

    danaesacto DIS Veteran

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    You have to enter their names when you buy the tix, and it says ID required of all adults. If they question your child's age- they will just ask them- and then ??? It has been a debate on these boards previosuly on the parents that allow and encourage their child to lie and those that say if you don't want them to lie to you mom/dad, then you shouldn't let them lie to others... personally I found it was just easiest to wait until my girls were old enough to go :thumbsup2
     
  13. vakamalua

    vakamalua DIS Veteran

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    Has anyone done the Warner Brother Studio Tour recently? What TV shows are highlighted (LOVE the Big Bang Theory)? If there are a bunch of shows that we don't watch, would it still be enjoyable? Thanks
     
  14. danaesacto

    danaesacto DIS Veteran

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    I have tickets for March 12 and will report back after that- sorry I can't be of more help now :)
     
  15. uncw89

    uncw89 DIS Veteran

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    Glad to see this thread! We are going in July and I'm trying to decide what to do after we go to DL!
    Thanks!
     
  16. vakamalua

    vakamalua DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, looking forward to hearing your report. We'll be at DLR in late May.
     
  17. kkendle

    kkendle Mouseketeer

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    My husband and I went on the Warner Bros tour in October. I remember them saying each tour was different and depending on what is going on at the studio makes a difference in what you see.

    We walked onto the set of The Mentalist. It was neat seeing where they filmed. We also walked into the Conan show set...but they were not taping, which is why we got to go into it.

    We also were in a small town America place where lots of movies are filmed including the latest Muppet Movie...which I loved.

    We saw the Friends set...they said this is by far the most popular and most asked for. I don't remember seeing anything of Big Bang Theory but did see stuff in the gift shop for it....shirts, mugs etc.

    We saw different vehicles used in different movies and also walked around a 2 story museum like area with costumes and some props.

    We enjoyed the tour...I think we were there on Veteran's Day...so nothing was really filming. I know the guide said there are lots of times you see stars and producers etc and but we didn't that day.

    We enjoyed the tour a lot! Hope any of this helps!

    Kelly
     
  18. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    Before you order the Tours, google the tour name and discount.

    For our WB Tour, we got $6 off each, $5 off with the code PERKS, and $1 each with the code CONAN.
     
  19. OhioStateBuckeye

    OhioStateBuckeye DIS Veteran

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    We had tickets for Feb. 26, a Tuesday, at 8:45 am.

    I would recommend ordering your tickets online before hand, we ordered ours 3 days before and several of the times for our day were sold out.

    Also don't forget to use the discount codes!

    I know some people want to read about this, so I'll just do a quick mini review without pictures and do a more in depth one later in my trip report.

    If you are driving from Anaheim, give yourself plenty of time. I think we gave ourselves an hour and a half and it was not enough, there was a lot of traffic and we were 15 minutes late (and panicking about it).

    We entered the WB Studios into our GPS, and once we got in the general vicinity there were signs directing us to the Studio Tour area. If you get lost, just stop at one of the gates with security and ask them.

    Parking was $7 and the lot was in a nice, shady (as in trees, it was a very safe area) area.

    The parking is directly across the street from the check in building. The employees were super nice about us being late and checked us into the tour that was starting in 2 minutes (I imagine if that tour had been sold out we wouldn't have been let in, since there is only so much space in the golf cart, so be on time). There was room for about 10 + the tour guide in the cart, our tour had 8 people including us.

    Inside the check in building was a coffee shop and a little gift shop that had lots of TV show stuff. We didn't buy anything because you can find all of it on the internet (didn't the internet just ruin specialty stores??).

    There was also a bathroom in there.

    The tour began in a little movie theater where we watched a 5 or 10 minute intro video about the Studio.

    After that we exited to the golf cart. If you go in the morning, be sure to wear a sweatshirt because there is quite a bit of driving around outside.

    I believe we started out by driving around the lot and looking at all the fake streets and building facades. We ended up in a little town that had houses that you could film inside.

    Workers were 'dressing' the small town set for Hart of Dixie (the town square was also the Gilmore Girls' town). We parked the cart and got to go inside several houses.

    It was neat to see, there were no second floors, they were where the crew set up lights and cameras. We went inside a Hart of Dixie house and the Gilmore Girls house.

    We heard lots of stories and facts about filming tv shows, but I'll leave those out for now.

    We got back into the cart and drove around some more streets. Our guide pointed out specific areas where shots were filmed, there were a lot of outdoor ER scenes, and also the alleyway where the upside down Spiderman movie kiss happened.

    I forget the exact order of these next parts, and I don't have my pictures uploaded yet to act as a time guide.

    We stopped at the prop warehouse and got to walk around. This was very neat, we learned about how props are rented and cataloged. You could take pictures inside. Probably the most famous piece we saw was one of the Casablanca pianos. However, most of the props weren't identified as being from particular movies. Don't be afraid to ask the guide to point out popular props, or to ask if a particular prop piece was in something popular.

    We also got to stop at a little movie/tv car museum. They had about 5 Batman movie cars, including the Tumbler and the motorcycle from the newest movies. They had the General Lee, the Austin Powers convertible, the space capsule from the big bang theory, the Ford Anglia from harry potter and many others. You also get to take a picture in front of a green screen for a surprise (I won't spoil it) movie photo that is free!

    We drove around the actual studios and our guide pointed out what was filmed where. One of the studios was being prepped for pick up shots for a new movie, something with Will Smith, but we didn't see any actors.

    We got to go inside the studio for the Mentalist. I think the thing about this is you'll go inside whichever studio is available at the time. The Mentalist was filming on location somewhere so we could go inside and explore.

    Next we got to go inside a scene from a very well loved tv show. Our guide explained that they usually don't save sets. Sometimes they will for very popular shows but they are usually packed away until a museum or exhibit wants them. However, they have the Central Perk set from Friends set up. We got to look around and even sit on the sofa and take pictures. It was incredibly detailed. Any Friends fan would love it.

    We drove around the Studios some more and then we parked at our final destination, the WB Museum.

    You had to leave your camera behind as there are no pictures allowed in here.

    You only have a short half hour to explore. There are 2 floors. The top floor is all Harry Potter. I am a huge HP fan, and it was incredible. There are costumes and props and a few models, everything was amazing. We started on the top floor to make sure we had time to do all of HP. You still need to move quickly.

    We almost finished the bottom floor. It had mostly costumes from everything like old movies to a new Batman display to Big Bang Theory and Hangover costumes.

    The tour is now over, you get your cameras back and are taken back to the start building where you can browse the shop.

    If you want to stay in the area, ask your guide for a guide to places to eat in the area. He told us that if you want the best chance at seeing stars to eat at the Smokehouse.

    We, however, had to get in line for the Big Bang Theory taping so we quickly ate at an In n Out and got in line around 12:10. We were let into the show at 5:30, and only 28/29 standby people made it in that day. We were 18 and 19. There were maybe 150-200 people waiting.

    If you want to experience a show taping, most of the tickets are on tvtickets.com and are available 30 days in advance. The Big Bang Theory is by far the most popular, most of the other shows like 2 Broke Girls you can show up an hour or an hour and a half in advance and be fine.

    The Ellen show and Conan O'Brien also tape there, but you have to get those tickets through those shows' websites.

    A Brief 3 Studio Tour Comparison:

    -keep in mind each of these have more expensive, private and longer tours

    Universal: you stay on the tram the whole time. There are several ride type or show experiences. You get to see a lot of fake towns.

    Paramount: very old Hollywood. Also seems to have a bigger focus on movies, but still has TV elements as well. Get to walk a TV set.

    WB: focuses mostly on TV. Get to walk a tv set, a prop warehouse, a car museum, a costume/prop museum and the Friends set.


    Any specific questions about the WB tour?
     
  20. danaesacto

    danaesacto DIS Veteran

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    LOVE IT!! Thank you, thank you :) I very much appreciate the report- great advice about bringing a sweatshirt and starting at the top for HP-the tour is a surprise for my girls- and they are both huge HP fans- so very excited- just one week away :)

    I may just explode with excitement now....pixiedust:
     
  21. uncw89

    uncw89 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the review! Did you like the Paramount tour as well? Is it a must do? I think we are going to do th WB tour and Universal, but I could do the Paramount one too.
     

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