Vacation 2.0: Southern California Edition - Day 4

Day 4: September 17, 2014

Today we had several tours planned and all thanks to the Go Los Angeles Card. This card is a must for anyone who wants to go on several tours in LA; as it saves you a lot of money!

N and I purchased our cards ahead of time, and after getting ready for the morning, we went on our first tour for the day...Warner Brothers VIP Studio Tour.
A short car ride from our hotel and we were at the front gate of Warner Brothers Studios. After checking in, we were led into a theatre to watch a small movie about Warner Brothers history and short clips from their productions.
Next we met our guide who showed us the tram that we were riding on that will take us all around the studio. We got on the tram and started our journey, passing several buildings that are used in movies and TV shows.

Our first stop were two locations shown in Friends; Ross & Monica Geller's parents home that was featured in the prom episode, and Phoebe's father's house where she accidentally hits the dog with her car. We went inside the Geller's house and took pictures on the steps where Ross was playing the keyboard while sitting on the stairs.

After this brief stop, we got back on the tram and we were on our way to the next stop. On the way we ran into a celebrity, Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper - from The Big Bang Theory), who was pulling into the studio and heading to the soundstage where The Big Bang Theory was currently filming at the moment. He stopped his car as we passed by, smiled and waved at us.

The next stop was a Batman Museum, where the studio was celebrating 75 years of Batman. The museum featured several props and figures from all the Batman movies.

We continued our journey throughout the studio, visiting several streets and buildings that you see in TV shows and movies. We also passed by several Friends filming locations; the park where Rachel & Phoebe go running, the park where Ross plays rugby with Emily's brothers and the most important building, Stage 24 - the Friends Stage, where the show filmed for 10 wonderful years.

We stopped at another soundstage, also a tribute to Batman, where all the Batmobiles were on display for us. After taking pictures of the amazing cars, we were encouraged to test our acting skills in front of a green screen. That was a fun experience!

The next stop was a surprise...a short walking distance from the Batmobile soundstage, we were standing in front of a door that had a huge poster of Friends painted on it, and the moment the door opened, we were standing in Central Perk cafe, with the actual furniture from the show, including the famous brown couch. Each took turns taking pictures while sitting on the same couch that the cast of Friends sat on for 10 years.

Our last stop at Warner Bros. was the actual set of Two And A Half Men. The stage was located right next to The Big Bang Theory set, and since they were filming, there was a chance we could meet the cast while on their break. Unfortunately, we were done while they were still filming.

After the tour was over, we went back to VIP Tour Center to buy souvenirs and have breakfast before going on our next tour for the day.

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A short cab ride from the studio and we were at Hollywood & Highland Center on Hollywood Boulevard. Our first stop was Madam Tussauds, where we had a lot of fun taking pictures with celebrities. 

After hanging out with celebrities at the museum, we walked up and down Hollywood Walk of Fame, trying to spot the stars of our favorite celebrities. 

Next, we signed up for Hollywood Behind The Scenes tour; which is a walking tour that starts from Egyptian Theatre and you pass by several important landmarks on Hollywood Boulevard; such as TCL Chinese Theatre, the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood & Highland Center, Dolby Theatre and a tour of the Egyptian Theatre to name a few. This tour is a must for anyone who wants to know the history of Hollywood and Hollywood Boulevard. It is a very interesting and informative tour, where you learn a lot of interesting facts about the history of Hollywood, movie business and the Walk of Fame to name a few. Here are a two interesting facts I learned that day; (1) The first ever Hollywood movie premier took place at the Egyptian Theatre which was built by Sid Grauman, and (2) The Dolby Theatre which hosts the most important event in the film industry, The Oscars, is located inside Hollywood & Highland Center...a mall....Yes, the Oscars, the most glamorous event in Hollywood are held in a theatre inside a mall! Who would have imagined?? I didn't. On Oscar night, the stores at the entrance of the theatre are all covered with red curtains.

This led us to go on our next tour: Dolby Theatre Tour. 

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We were lucky as the tour was the last one for the day; so after meeting our guide, we were led into the doors of the theatre. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside, but I will always remember this tour for several reasons. 

Our tour started from the outside of the theatre, and we gradually went down the same path that celebrities take on Oscars night. The guide explained where several bars are set for stars to enjoy their evening and how the set up usually is. Then we went into a small room, and suddenly found ourselves looking at an actual golden Oscar statue...I was less than an inch away from the statue....the only thing between us was the glass protecting it...That moment felt amazing...until we were led through a hallway and suddenly we found ourselves standing in the middle of the stage looking at the whole theatre! Everything felt unreal in that moment. In my whole life, I never imagined that I would be standing in the middle of the stage where the Oscars take place. I was speechless in that moment...but I was ready to step into my imaginary bubble and give my acceptance speech...sigh....

Following this unbelievably amazing moment, we walked the same path celebrities take after winning an Oscar, through a hallway where winners get to have a moment to themselves before meeting the press in the next room.

Sadly the tour was coming to an end, but as a souvenir, the guide gave us a postcard that shows the view of the theatre from the stage. But of course, it is no match to actual experience of standing on that stage.

Our day was also coming to an end on Hollywood Boulevard; so we decided to spend some time at Hollywood & Highland center, where we had burgers for lunch at Johnny Rockets then took another walk around the Walk of Fame to burn some of the calories before heading back to our hotel to relax as we had another big day the following day.

That night we decided to check out the pool and the jacuzzi to relax from all the walking we did that day.


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