A Los Angeles highlight, our Warner Bros Studio Tour review outlines the fun of this magical day, but note that the tour demystifies illusions.
From the first moment of the Warner Bros Studio tour, I was transported from reality. I am embarrassingly star-struck and a bit goofy at these types of places.
My highlight list is long as I got to see Leonard and Sheldon’s living room (The Big Bang Theory), sit on the couch at Central Perk (Friends), turn on the bat signal (Batman), and get sorted by a hat (Harry Potter).
Warner Bros Studio Tour is a mix of memories. It’s an opportunity to see how it’s done. In some ways, it’s magical, but on the other hand, it demystifies the illusions.
The tour starts out with a brief history. Then we are divided into small groups. We travel in electric vehicles, as louder engines have been banned from the lot since the days when “bad boy” Jimmy Dean used to sit outside sound stages, wait for the light indicating filming, and then rev up his motorcycle.
Warner Bros Studio tour review: backlot
We toured the exterior sets in the “backlot” first. It is here cities, towns, and other outdoor scenes are created.
From our guide:
“Temporary is good, everything is fake, right down to the bricks. It’s about Illusion.”
Take a look below and see if you can see the illusion:
- From the front view (as seen in television or movies), it looks like a typical New York street full of apartment buildings. However, the side view shatters the illusion.
- We went inside one of the houses (called a practical set) and discovered no ceiling, as that is where the lights and microphones are set up. Due to the heat of the lights, there are also large air conditioning systems in place.
- Below is “Anytown USA.” By altering building names, plants, lampposts, and doorknobs, the production staff create a different atmosphere. Do you recognize it? This street has been used in 350 movies and TV shows.
- Using a technique called “forced perspective”, the set creators alter the height and width of buildings to create the perception of depth while using less space.
- The bush wagon is moveable and used to block out other parts of the back lot. This particular field is where the Friends cast played football, and the street is where Sheldon was chased by a dog on The Big Bang Theory.
- Reserve your tour here.
Warner Bros Studio tour review: museum
The tour stopped at the Archive Museum for a 20-minute look inside. At the time we visited, it featured DC Universe: The Exhibit and The Harry Potter Exhibit. Here I was sorted by the Hogwart’s sorting hat into Slytherin.
Interestingly, in the movie, the hat never says, “Ravenclaw,” so the museum’s sorting hat does not either.
Some of the museum highlights include:
- Troll club and legs used in Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone.
- We stopped at the Picture Car Vault, where we got to turn on and off the bat signal and see all of the Bat Mobiles.
Warner Bros Studio tour review: front lot
Eventually, we made our way to the Front Lot. Here we found the Sound Stages, the set and prop construction areas, and the offices.
They pointed out a few special sound stages. Sound Stage 25 has a long history. It is now used for The Big Bang Theory. While the entrance is part of the Warner Bros Studio tour, photos are prohibited. The Big Bang Theory is filmed in front of a live audience.
The laughter is never faked, and the writers use it to gauge the effectiveness of the humor, fixing, and re-writing on the spot.
Why you should take a tour
This is my fourth visit to a Warner Bros Studio. We visited Warner Bros’ Harry Potter Studio in London, we were invited into the soundstage for the filming of Major Crimes, and I was brought on the lot before independently by a relative. Reserve your tour here.
The value-added from the Warner Bros Studio tour makes a big difference. It explains the illusions, brings out the magic, and it was quite a bit of fun.
Practical and Interesting Information
- Located at 3400 Warner Blvd in Burbank, California, it is one of Los Angeles’ largest Hollywood studios.
- Studio tours run between the hours of 8:30 am and 3:30 pm and are closed June 13-14. Check the official website for the day you want to visit.
- The more comprehensive 6-hour deluxe tour departs on weekdays in the morning.
- It is recommended that you arrive 30 minutes before your tour time. Plan to be at the studio for about 3 hours.
- The tour itself takes about 2 hours and ends in Sound Stage 48 where there is at least an additional half-hour worth of things to take you along the path from Script to Screen, longer if you read it all.
Getting tickets for a studio audience
- Many shows are filmed before a live studio audience. Getting tickets takes a bit of advanced planning, the best site is tvtickets.com.
- Did you know that Ronald Regan was in 41 films made by Warner Bros?
- If you’re a bit star-struck like me, you might also like the Hollywood Madame Tussauds.
Whether you are doing a big United States tour or just passing through LA, Warner Bros is a great place to visit.
Save on your trip with these resources
These are our go-to companies when we travel. We believe this list to be the best in each category. You can’t go wrong using them on your trip too.
- Flights: we use Expedia for the best and cheapest flight options.
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- Cars (gas or electric): we use RentalCars to search for deals and dealer ratings.
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- Private guides: we love the private guides at Tours by Locals
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Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
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If you enjoyed our Warner Bros studio tour review, please share it on social media.
Have you been on a Warner Bros studio tour? What would be your highlight?
More from the USA you might like, including our USA Adventure road trip.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary tour. However, the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
Did you know Warner Bros were responsible for far better than DC movies, Harry Potter, Friends and Big Bang? Guess not. Their tour is an insult to their many brilliant films.
Wow.. seem a lot op fun here.
Love to see the troll legs,.. like real.
There were so many “real” things at the studio. It was so much fun!
Oh my gosh, this looks like so much fun! I’ll definitely have to check out this studio tour in the future 🙂
It was totally fun, and getting to see the set of Big Bang Theory and get on the set of Friends were my two highlights.
Your description of Warner Bros Studios is strangely appropriate. While it does seem magical, seeing the behind the scenes sets will shatter some illusions.
That is very true. It is a mixed bag.
This is looking really great fun, cant believe that street using in more then 350 movies and batman and superman stuff is amazing. I love to see things about comics such as batman.
I was surprised too. It has me looking at TV and movies differently now.
It really is a great tour.
How clever! This sounds like so so much fun and I’ve never heard of it before!
The studio tour was really interesting and yes, it was loads of fun.
I finished Warner Bros Studio way back and it still doesn’t look like it’s changed much! It was such a cool experience to see how easily they changed the surroundings to make it look completely different. (And also shattered some of my TV series fantasies) Still it was so awesome to stand in the exact places where some of my favorite actors and characters had been. Looks like a great time!
I agree, and I notice that I am watching TV a bit differently now.
It sounds like Warner Bros offers a superior tour. Years ago I visited Universal Studios and whilst we did get driven about the lot we did not get shown inside any of the real sets or studios. I love that you get to see a bit more of how the making of a movie or show gets put together.
I did the other tour many years ago, long before I was a blogger. I thought of it more as an amusement park. WB really brings you into the guts of the place.
Rhonda, thank you for sharing your experience with the tour. Yet another great experience to plan for when we visit LA!
And one worth adding to the itinerary.
Great post! I just published my visit (3rd one for me) on my site haha. It was interesting to read yours and see what perspective you took in writing this as it was different to mine, as I am a film and tv nut and thus recognise a whole lot of stuff being so eagle eyed that aren’t even pointed out haha. Glad you enjoyed it!
I will head over and check out your post too. Since it’s your third time, I assume you loved it as well.
Van @ Snow in Tromso
I would love to go on a tour through the studios! Must be so exciting!!
I hope you get too someday. It’s really fun.
I’ve never been on such a tour, but I was at Universal Studios in Orlando once a long time ago. It’s awesome. Thanks for sharing. Sorry I’m late had a procedure done in the hospital. Thanks for stopping by. hugs
Hi. Hope you are felling better. If you get the chance, take this tour. It is well worth it in my opinion.
We loved the Warner’s Brothers Studio tour. Our favourite was walking through the set of the Mentalist.. that was really cool!
Oh wow! The Mentalist was over by the time we went through. Too bad, I would have loved to get a glimpse of Simon Baker!
This is so cool!!! I’ve never been so lucky to go to Disney or one of these studio tours – but I would absolutely love to go one day. I’d probably be around those Batmobiles for a long time. And I love seeing the costumes. It’s kinda neat to see all the “tricks of the trade.”
I don’t know about the other studios but Warner Brothers is definitely a thumbs up. Hubby thought the Batmobiles were really amazing – they are all functional.
Trekking with Becky
What FUN! I would have LOVED to have seen where BBT is shot – I LOVE that show! 😀 I’m super envious! Thanks so much for sharing. I guess you couldn’t take pictures inside where they shoot BBT eh?
Hi Becky. Pictures of the BBT set were strictly prohibited. I remember passing by the parking spaces for the stars of BBT.
I always love studio tour…it’s fun and refreshing..
It definitely gives a different perspective to all the movies and TV shows out there.
Hi Rhonda – not sure if my comment got through … but what a fascinating tour to take – and I’ve never done anything like that … cheers Hilary
This is the first time I did a formal tour of a studio lot and it was great.
Hi Rhonda … I’ve never been to one of the ‘lots’ … but I’m sure it’s so interesting – and you’ve added to your knowledge … cheers Hilary
Raych aka Mystery Case
How interesting. The side view really puts things into perspective.
I took that picture from the parking lot. A lot different view than when you are on the street looking up at a “tenement”.
that was fun! i’ve been to the disney mgm studios tour (a mini tour) and i can see being demystified, but i’m a realist and think it’s cool how they fool us into believing things!
hope your health is good too!
Rhonda, WOW, amazingly cool! This is something I won’t see unless we in California. The closest I ever go to Hollywood is when a movie starring Burt Reynolds and Chevy Chase filmed in town last month. That was major cool stuff!! They used locale buildings and scenery for their shoots. We got to watch one day, which was nifty. If we ever make to California, then I’d like to tour one of these places and try to get into The Price Is Right. 🙂
When they filmed in your town, all the buildings and scenery were real. The tricks they played with stagecraft at the studio were quite amazing.
The ‘streets’ are amazing, totally fake and yet they look like the real thing. This tour looks really cool
Yes, they are fake. Our tour guide had us go and touch the bricks. Not real!
Never been to the WB studios or California for that matter. It looks like a fun experience. Thanks for taking us on a pictorial tour. It was interesting learning so much about what goes on on the studio lots! 🙂
Thank you. And our tour guide had lots of interesting tidbits on the various shows being filmed at the time.
That’s awesome! The US makes spectacular movies and tv shows. How exciting you go to see where the magic happens!
Yes, they do. (So does New Zealand, but ours are less studio intensive).
What a ghost town! I’m always shocked at how much we spend on entertainment.
LOL – do you mean us as watchers, or the world as producers of entertainment? Either way, it is quite a bit.
Actors are illusions too, I’ve never been to Warner Bros. Never felt the urge to go. Not my cup of tea. Okay, I’ve not been to Disneyland either. Why? I haven’t a clue.
You sure did pack a whole lot of fun things during your whirlwind trip.
Have a fabulous day. 🙂
I am quite a bit starstruck, embarrassingly so at times. I loved this tour.
Paul F. Pietrangelo
Give me more Rhonda. I will probably never be able to get there so if possible could you show more photos. I enjoyed this so very much.
Rhonda, you & your husband have taken us to some great areas. Thank you. For now, have a great Wednesday my friends. See ya.
Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
the houses look so real!I’d love to do this one day:)
It is supposed to look real 🙂
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Be cool to take that tour. Been through Universal Studios, but in Florida I don’t think they actually film anything there.
It was very cool. If you get to LA, I recommend it.
This looks like fantastic fun and so envious that you got to see the big bang set. Another place to add to my list of places to go.
I only wish I could have shared it in photos. Of course if you watch the show, you know what it looks like.
Although I lived in the area until I was about 40, I never visited any of the film making sets. I lived within walking distance of MGM and Desilu in Culver City, but only passed by. I did see some of the MGM sets through the fence as I walked past. I don’t think they even had tours. I never watched many movies so I never was motivated to visit the studios.
Isn’t that what they say, visitors to a city do so much more than locals.
What fun! I have never been on a studio tour but would love to. I’d like to be sorted by the Sorting Hat.
I thought it would have been fun too – until I got Slytherin.