I’ve never been a fan of bus tours – sure they’re great for getting from Point A to Point B – but if you’re looking for a personalized experience, you’re certainly not going to get it on a bus packed with 40 people. Back in ’97, we did a Hollywood bus tour that was so comically bad – how bad? Well, we learned about a lot of locations where they filmed CHiPS, plus we also learned that buses aren’t allowed to go onto a lot of the streets in Beverly Hills.
So fast forward to ’13, we wanted to visit the Warner Bros. Studios and maybe do another – hopefully better – Hollywood tour. As with some of my past reviews, Trip Advisor came through, leading me to the Anaheim Tour Company (aka Anaheim Visitor Center) which offers a combo tour of both. This is a great option if you’re around Disney, as I wasn’t able to find very many companies that included Warner Brothers as a destination from Anaheim. Effectively, you kill two birds with one stone and end up with a full day excursion. I have a separate review for Warner Bros., so this focuses on everything else that happened.
The tour was run by Tom, who is also the owner of the Anaheim Tour Company. As we were the only two people on the tour, he gave it using a small rental car, so it had more of a feel of a family member showing you around town. And show us he did. We ended up seeing quite a few famous homes, and Tom also filled us in on some of the background regarding purchasing and building practices, which I found fascinating. It was interesting to see how some look at historical preservation, while other will buy a perfectly good house, knock it down and built upon the ashes. Anyways, you could see that Tom really enjoys giving the tour and knows a lot about the city.
I was actually surprised at how many different stops and different experiences were fit into the day. There are quite a few places where Tom parks the car and gives a short walking tour: Areas like Rodeo Drive - which you would expect - but also places like Greystone Mansion, the Biltmore Hotel and the Bonaventure Hotel, which are featured in a lot of movies. On top of that, the stop near the Hollywood sign is pretty much the closest you can get without breaking the law.
Combined with the Warner Brothers tour, this was an excellent “rest” day from all of the walking we were doing at Disney…but still lots of opportunities to stretch, stroll and take a few pictures. We started a little late because of a timing snafu, but Tom made sure we got the full package. The tour also has a lunch stop at a great diner and the WB gift shop has a Starbucks, so you have a few places to grab some food over the course of the day. This ended up being one of the highlights of our trip and went way beyond expectations.