Burbank – The true Hollywood city

12:13 PM

When thinking of celebrities, film and TV starts, almost everyone dreams about going to Los Angeles and Hollywood. Those cities in fact are the best known but there is another city, very small in comparison, which is the actual “Media Capital of the World”: Burbank. Yes, Burbank.

That’s where all of the big studios are, where the production and filming of big TV shows and films happens. The city is so close to Los Angeles (only 12 miles to the north) and a few miles north of Hollywood that it is easily overlooked.

We are suckers for TV shows and films, so Burbank is a paradisiacal city for us… it is a quick trip if you are in the LA area… but there are lots to do.

A visit to the city has to include a stop at the Warner Bros. Studios, where current shows like Pretty Little Liars, 2Broke Girls, Ellen, The Voice, Mike & Molly and more are taped. Older shows include ER and the most famous of all, Friends.  The tour takes you to the famous coffee shop, Central Perk, where Phoebe, Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Ross had their coffee and more.

If you are lucky and carefully looking, you might spot a few actors roaming around and getting ready for work. During our visit we spotted David Arquette!!!  The tour guide mentioned that Ben Affleck was around there shooting extra scenes for his little movie that could, Argo. But sadly, we didn’t see him.

Another well know studio is the ABC Studios that is alongside The Walt Disney Company offices. Unfortunately, they are not open for the public. However, I had the chance to go and although in some areas they don’t allow photography of any kind, there are others that are available and they are full of history and Disney legacy. So here are some of the things that I was able to know …

The headquarters for the international company are in fact the only major studio that doesn’t offer a backlot tour for the general public. But here are some of the things that are inside one of the most ‘secret’ production location that was born in the late 1930’s and remodeled in 1986.

The Disney Legends Plaza – located between Team Disney (corporate offices of the company’s CEO and boardroom of the Board of Directors; it is also called The Michael D. Eisner building and the Seven Dwarfs building as it has the seven dwarfs from Snow White ‘holding’ the roof of the building) and the Frank G. Wells building, pays homage to the recipients of the Disney Legends awards. It features the popular Partners statue of Walt and Mickey and one of Roy Disney and Minnie… both can be found at Magic Kingdom in Orlando. At the plaza you can see bronze plaques of the award recipients like animator and Imagineer Ward Kimball.

The Frank G. Wells building is home of an underground parking lot and the home of the famous Walt Disney Archives as well as offices and most importantly the home of the Multiplane Camera, an animation camera that was created by the Disney Company to do Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. The building also has a Starbucks!

Other buildings are the Animation Building; The Roy O. Disney Building – office for Roy and now home for many corporate offices; The Fantasia Stage (Stage 1) – the original Disney soundstage; The Julie Andrews Stage (Stage 2) – is the second oldest soundstage in the lot and one of the largest in LA where the first series of The Mickey Mouse Club was shot as well as Mary Poppins and The Princess Diaries, therefore the name of Julie Andrews, star of both films;  Stage 3 – that was designed for the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, it has an operational water tank for water effects; Stages 4 &5 – used for a lot of TV shows; Stages 6 & 7 – soundstages for the Studios and last but not least, the ABC Studios Building – corporate offices for everything related to ABC (American Broadcasting Company) including its ABC Studios and also offices for the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

There’s a lot more in Burbank of course… and you walk around the residential area of the city, almost everyone that you will see/meet is an employee of the industry and work in the area. 

There aren’t a lot of good and known restaurants in the area since most of the studios have their own cafeterias and use a lot of catering companies. However, if you are visiting, you need to stop by Bob’s Big Boy Restaurant.  The famous burger restaurant was established in 1949 and in the early 90’s it was named a California Point of Historical Interest.

We had wonderful meals at Olive & Thyme, a café and marketplace and Don Cuco Mexican restaurant, which are very good and not expensive at all. At Olive & Thyme, you can run into a celebrity or two, since it is a organic, fresh restaurant that serves salads and fresh made iced teas and much more.

So, if you are in Los Angeles, be sure to give Burbank a chance, and go and explore at least the Studios that are open to the public and learn a little bit more about the history of this production city.

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