During the Critics’ Choice Awards weekend, Solzy at the Movies visited Walt Disney Studios, Universal Studios, and Warner Brothers Studios for studio tours.
To say that my weekend in LA was magical would certainly not be an understatement. Walking along the hallways that Walt Disney once roamed is also very inspiring. You can’t help but get a magical feeling in knowing just how much magic went down within the building. Yes, I did take a lot of photos. Who wouldn’t?!? The Walt Disney Studios lot is actually a closed lot in that there aren’t any public studio tours. Well, unless you’re lucky enough to also save up the points through Disney Movie Insiders. I had free reign to tour the lot and take in some of the many sites. The Team Disney offices sit across the Frank Wells Building with the Disney Legends Plaza in between. There’s also some impressive design work!
Here’s the thing to know about the Old Animation Building: there are photos and posters that line the walls. You can find backgrounds from films, rough animation, or CGI imagery. The list goes on and on.
What follows are some of the highlights from the Disney lot in Burbank:
Following Disney, I visited Universal Studios where the main highlight would be the Studio Tour attraction. Jurassic World: The Ride just happened to be an added plus. I love Jurassic Park but I’m also not one for drops at those heights. Anyway, the studio tour is also about an hour long. Unfortunately, there’s no walking around to take photos within some of the sets on the back lot. Believe me, I certainly would have hopped at the opportunity to walk onto the soundstage for NBC’s Superstore, The Good Place, and the exteriors for The Good Place. Alas, we only get to ride by them. Given the upcoming series finale for The Good Place, there’s probably no way of knowing when the exteriors will be gone.
Visitors on the Universal Studios tour will also get to see a selection of picture cars from various films including Back to the Future, The Flintstones, and Jurassic Park.
There are also attractions for various films along the path including Jaws, King Kong, and The Fast and the Furious. Tourists will also get to experience an 8.3 earthquake and a flash food. This is in addition to the many streets along the lot.
Where the Universal Studios tour was short, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour needs between two to three hours. Depending on which day you attend, some parts of the lot might be closed off because of shooting. I visited the Warner lot on a day in which there wasn’t much activity. As such, my tour shuttle visited soundstages for both Conan and The Ellen Show. Yes, I certainly sat in the seat reserved for Tom Hanks whenever he attends the show.
Statues of both Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny greet visitors upon entering the Warner Brothers building. They also make for a great photo opportunity before the day gets busy.
There’s also a lot of history on the Warner lot. Fans of the Muppets will probably recognize the lagoon where Kermit the Frog sang “Rainbow Connection.” It’s also the same location where Pee Wee Herman swang across on a rope. You can also see the fountain and couch from the Friends theme song. As for the Gilmore Girls, both front exteriors are connected to each other. Speaking of Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars and Hart of Dixie also used some of the same exteriors. If I heard my tour guide correctly, you can also see the same exteriors in Riverdale. The Stars Hollow Gazebo lives on in infamy. Meanwhile, you can even find the coffee shop from La La Land on the lot.
The Warner Brothers lot also plays home to an actual Batcave full of cars from the Batman films. The tour also stops by the prop house where you can find various props used in film and television. Before ending the tour, there is an opportunity to take a photo on both sets from Friends and The Big Bang Theory. You can also take photo ops or create a video in front of a green screen for both The Dark Knight and one of the Harry Potter films.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention dining at Shalom Grill–the actual restaurant where the Avengers ate schwarma at the end of the 2012 film. I highly recommend it!
If there is certainly one thing I should stress, it’s that the shops are where you will spend your money. It’s probably not an understatement to say that you’ll leave with a photo or a shirt. Or something that a friend probably wants you to get them.
If you ever make it to LA, the studio tours are certainly worth your time…and noney.