Without a doubt, everyone knows that Los Angeles is the capital of movie production and home to many of the world’s top film studios. Those who are interested in movies can take tours to two of the most influential studios: Universal and Warner Brothers. Both of these visits aren’t cheap and each takes at least half a day to visit, so if you don’t have time or money to visit both of them you can plan your visit accordingly after reading my article.
I definitely recommend visiting both Universal and Warner Bros Studios. Each offers a completely unique experience for visitors.
You also need to consider that both studios are constantly producing movies and TV series. Therefore rebuilding their stages, closing some parts for filming, and adding more things. Before you head out to see one of your favorite TV show stages double check that it’s not closed due to refurbishment or filming.
Warner Bros vs Universal Studios
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios theme parks are now all over the world and you can visit them in Orlando, Singapore, and Hong Kong, but the most important is Universal Studios Los Angeles as this is where the magic happens. It’s the only park where you can see the actual filming locations of many amazing movies.
I started my visit at Universal with the Minion ride as I adore those little yellow guys! That’s when I found out that almost every ‘ride’ at the park isn’t actually a ride.
It’s more like a 4D movie where you feel like you’re really going through an obstacle course among the minions. I loved it so much that I just had to get a minion shirt after.
Universal Studios park is great for anyone, a movie freak like me or an animation fan. I only had a slight idea of what to expect when I visited, but even my friend who hated theme parks quite liked our experience. In the park, you can find a lot of rides and a few live shows.
Come as early as possible to avoid long lines to every ride or prebook your tickets. If you’re short on time trust me it’s really worth it because in the middle of the day on a Saturday I saw the waiting time was almost 2h for many rides.
The only rides that are actually roller coasters are The Mummy (in my opinion it was okay but not spectacular) and Jurassic Park, which is supposedly very good but it happened to be closed when I visited, but don’t worry, I’ll be back at the end of the year to check it out!
As much as I love the Minions I think the best ride was Transformers. I haven’t seen the movie and I still thought it was the best because the vehicle was actually moving among a maze of screens bringing us from one 4D spot to another, making the experience very immersive.
There are a few live shows in the park, but my favorite was definitely Waterworld. I just couldn’t believe how incredible the stunts were – there was fire on the stage, actors jumping into the water from a high platform, and even a plane flying into the stage spraying the audience with water. For sure a must-see.
What about movie sets? Don’t worry movie fans they’re all on the studio tour. When you embark via tram you’ll be taken to an outdoor movie set. You’ll see different tricks by which Hollywood creates NYC in LA, how to create a rainstorm and flood and much more. There’s even an earthquake on San Francisco subway!
From the movie sets, you can see the famous Amityville from Jaws, house from Psycho, a plane wreck from War of the Worlds. The unfortunate thing is that you can’t leave your tram and wander around the sets. I would have liked to do that. It was still a lot of fun!
Important information: If you’re driving, remember that parking at Universal City is $25. If you’re renting a car, it might be cheaper for you to get a round-trip pre-booked transportation.
Warner Bros Studios Hollywood
Warner Bros Studios Hollywood is definitely a great stop for movie enthusiasts. Dare to say it’s better than Warner Bros London, unless of course, you’re going for the Harry Potter experience.
The studio has been home to many great TV series such as The Ellen Show, Big Bang Theory, Friends, Pretty Little Liars and some great movies. It also has the tallest sound stage in the world with a Warner Bros logo facing the headquarters of Universal.
The tour started with a short movie about the history of Warner Bros before we embarked on our little trams. Unlike the Universal tour we were allowed to leave the tram quite often and take some photos.
I got to hang out on the set of Pretty Little Liars, take a photo on the steps of Rosewood High School, enter Sheldon’s apartment from the Big Bang Theory, and I was shown different spots where Sex in the City was filmed and where the Gremlins escaped on the street. I loved it!
There was also a stop at a museum with Harry Potter and Batman exhibitions. I’m not a big fan of either, so when a guy put the famous Sorting Hat from Harry Potter on my head I guess it knew that I’m not a fan of the books or the movies as I was the only person from the group who got Slytherin. How did it know I was evil? 😉
The Warner Bros Studio tour is different depending on your guide as different guides stop at different places. Unfortunately, my guide was neither funny nor enthusiastic compared to other guides. Although, he did let us wander around the equipment where I could see different furniture rented for different movies. How cool is that!
As you can see these two studio experiences are quite different from one another. You should definitely visit both of the studios. I would say that the Warner Bros is more for movie fans, as it tells you much more about movie-making production. Universal is for anyone who just wants to have fun and enjoy the rides – think about it as Disneyland with a small movie-making part.
Any questions? Shoot them over in the comments below!