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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Going Behind the Movies in Southern California

I'm a movie buff. I love watching all kinds of movies, even bad ones. I mean, if they're bad in the way that they are still good or at least amusing, like Snowpiercer or those new Transformer movies (please don't hit me). That said, I love to know how movie magic is made and see props. And if, like me, you watch TV and movies and are totally into the clothes, then we have another thing in common. 

movie props

While in California before Christmas, we had a fun time learning about the behind-the-scenes of our favorite moves and television shows. You may have read about our visit to the Warner Bros Studio where we stopped by the archive for Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts fun and enjoyed the rest of the tour and seeing where awesome stuff is/was filmed.

No visit to Universal Studios is complete without a trip to Hogsmeade from Harry Potter. The village is a bit more compact than the one in Orlando, with smaller shops. I also found that the food at the Three Broomsticks, which I was really excited about, was disappointing. We took breakfast there and my plate was pretty flavorless, except for the overwhelming taste of used cooking oil over everything, save for my croissant. That said, I savored my hot Butterbeer.

Before we had our pictures taken in the Hogwarts Express prop compartment, I stopped by to hang with the conductor, who was nice enough to take 3 or 4 pics with me. I didn't wait in line when I was in Orlando, but wish I had. Now I have my picture and the experience, without having to wait, because this was our first stop when the park opened. I'd also totally recommend the train compartment photo op (which is to the left in that brick building). The photos aren't cheap, but if it's the only thing you buy, it's worth it. You choose props and get three photos taken and you can purchase one, two, or all three. The more you buy, the bigger your discount. That said, the two I bought cost me $30 total with tax, but they are stamped with the date and have the WWoHP logo on it.

My usual first stop in Universal is the tram tour, since the lines can get pretty long. Hollywood still has Jaws and the little town of Amity where some of the movie was filmed. Oddly enough, this was also the New England town where Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) lived in Murder, She Wrote

The tram takes you through the backlot, where you see how they create rain and flash floods, as well and how they create whole towns in a small area. One of these is the above set that they call Little Italy, and has been used for many, many movies and is currently being used for the new show The Good Place, which if you haven't seen it, you should totally watch it. It stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson and is hilarious. 

Universal Studios loves to immerse you in movies, so you walk from one "set" to another in the park, like this 1930's New York street. Around the corner you'll find the streets of Europe and even Springfield from The Simpsons. Now, you can also walk right into the world of The Walking Dead with a new walk-through attraction featuring scenes from the show and scare actors. I'll tell you what. The music starting as soon as you walk in under the downed helicopter genuinely freaked me out a bit, and a more once I realized that I wasn't even in the attraction yet, just the line. Unfortunately, they don't let you take pictures inside (not that I would have had any non-blurry ones probably), but it's kind of realistic and it made me glad we aren't in a zombie apocalypse. I made it through the whole thing without dying though, so go me. 

Budget and Bonus tips: Buy your Universal tickets online to get the best price. Look for two days for the price of one to get more for your money. This also means you can skip the Front Of The Line Pass, which will save you even more. If you get to the park and someone asks you if you'd like to do a survey once you've made it through the gate, do it. We were able to get a line skip pass for the tram and basically could choose any seats we wanted without waiting at all. If you want to take pictures of the cars on display, aim to sit on the left side. We made a point to go on the tour twice and sat on opposite sides, so we could see some things better on each ride.

While you're in Burbank for the Warner Bros. tour, take time to head into town and check out a place called It's A Wrap! If you love to see costumes and clothing from the big screen, this is where you go to see if you can get your hands on some at deep discounts, because the studios don't keep everything that they've used, mostly because characters don't generally rewear outfits and they don't have unlimited space for pieces that aren't phenomenal. 

I was excited to see some pieces from the show Girl Meets World, but disappointed that I couldn't fit into any of it. Obviously, I'm much larger than a 12 year old girl. LOL! Bummer. I especially enjoyed this skirt.

Each tag gives you the code of the show it's from (and sometimes it's just a general studio) and most everything in the store has been marked down several times. This skirt was a DOLLAR! I'm still sad I couldn't fit into it. 

It's A Wrap! is a large store with two floors that has everything from undergarments to shoes to jewelry to some props. We left with 5 pieces and spend under $50. 

Around the store, you'll find sheets that tell you what every label in the store means. As that tag I showed says GMW, that's the code for Girl Meets World. I also purchased a top from General Hospital (there are a ton of pieces from soaps). You'll find generic pieces right alongside designer pieces. I snagged a pair of James Jeans that may have only been worn a couple times for $8. I have similar jeans in that brand that cost me $100, so score!

While you're in the area, and you're hungry, head up Magnolia about a mile and hit up the Donut Hut. It doesn't look like much, but it's perfect if you're on a budget or in a hurry. They specialize in doughnuts (as the name suggests), but they also have sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers.

Eric and I ordered the ham and cheese croissant sandwiches, though we weren't entirely positive that's what we were ordering at the time, as the sign for it was right next a picture of a hoagie sandwich. They only take cash, but two of these hearty sandwiches, which were amazing, and a doughnut cost us less than $10. 

The doughnuts weren't anything to write home about, but if you like a doughnut and you're there, grab a couple, because they're still good. I just wouldn't go out of my way to get them here. And if you're looking for some vintage looking clothing, you'll find Unique Vintage a block away. This store specializes in 50s skirts and 20s flapper dresses. While they aren't actually vintage, they look it and are quite well made. The prices aren't cheap, but you pay for the quality, so I'd definitely recommend a stop in if you're looking for something in that realm.

What are your favorite movies that you'd love to see props and clothing from?

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