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“First time to the Magic Castle” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Magic Castle

The Magic Castle
7001 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Central L.A)
323-851-3313
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator
Attraction details
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator
Carmel
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“First time to the Magic Castle”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

Food was average. The atmosphere is very different. It had a main theater and a lot of small rooms for the magic acts. The interior looks very old but of coarse the Mansion was over a 100yrs. old. Parking is a premium. It is a large home that had been converted. Small gift shop. A lot of bars in the mansion. The magic acts where first rate. Very friendly waiters. The magic acts where intimate and up close and you get a chance to talk to the magicians. It was not your usual night out on the town. Had hear about it for many years. The admittance is by invitation only. You have to know someone associated with the Magic Castle to attend the performances and have dinner.

Visited September 2012
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“over-rated”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

so glad to read other lukewarm reviews, otherwise i might still be wondering what i was missing. Got in b/c we were staying at the Magic Castle hotel, went to the family show on Sunday afternoon, while staff were friendly, didn't explain well how it all worked, were left wandering around trying to figure out where we should be. Of 3 shows, main one was great (although with some slightly-inappropriate humour given it is marketed as kid-friendly - i did feel for the performers as, in reality there were far more adults than kids. But like other reviewers, seems like this is a money-grabbing exercise. Either market these shows to families, and make them appropriate, or don't and go wild, but you can't have it both ways). A teenage magician was good, the last female performer was very average. Which was a shame, as it seems they are rare.
And the buffet is nice, but not vegetarian-friendly.
Stick with the hotel, which is awesome. Unless you're REALLY into magic, give this a miss. It is quite costly too.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Top Contributor
183 reviews 183 reviews
45 attraction reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
145 helpful votes 145 helpful votes
“Love this place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

I live in LA, so I am able to go often. I always take out of town guests and they love it. The trick is trying to get a pass. My husband went online and emailed about 5 magicians and 2 offered us a pass (this is what I would recommend trying for you out of towners to find one).

Go early (they open at 5) and plan to stay late as the shows go all night (I think till 1am). Get in line early so you can catch the shows (appx 20-30minutes). Friday & Saturday are really busy, so go mid week for shorter lines. You are guarenteed a seat to the main show, but there are 3-4 other rooms to watch (you get a schedule at the front when you check in). Over dinner, plan your evening.

Food is good, service is okay (sometimes slow), and prices are reasonable - especially for Hollywood.

Another tip - Hocus Pocus Focus will offer to take your picture, which is nice since you are already dressed up, it's a great souvenier. Cost is $20 for a 8x10, but they also include a guest pass - so you can come back :)

Have fun!

Visited August 2012
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LA
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Magic Castle - The Magic is in the "Invitation Only" Marketing”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2012

As a Los Angeleno, I had big expectations for the Magic Castle. When I moved here ten years ago, I began being indoctrinated through party chatter that it's an exclusive magic club with a great reputation for high quality magicians, unique environmental tricks and an old Hollywood ambiance. "You'll never get in."

Things must have changed. The reality is that the magic castle is, I'm afraid, a run-down, pedestrian, high-volume dinner theater with some Houdini artifacts, and a veneer of exclusivity, used as a marketing gimmick. The magicians are stale, the drinks are overpriced and the some of the tricks I first saw when I was 13. (Like the holding up the domino with the spots on it? Freaking seriously dude? In 2012, the spots better become a tattoo on the magician's backside or appear in an audience member's cleavage if you're going to impress today's Penn and Teller crowd. But no. Nothing near that level of quality performance here.)

Suit and tie are required here, because if you didn't wear the suit and tie, the whole place would be unmasked. It easily becomes a Ripleys Believe it Or Not museum with a restaurant in it. The exclusivity is a marketing charade. This "Suit and Tie Only" and "The Knights of The Magic Round Table University" turn out to be the best magic tricks of the evening. There's no exclusivity here, people. Anyone who visits can invite 12 friends who can get "memberships" and invite 12 more of their friends, and so on. The air of "invitation only" is a marketing ploy which becomes apparent when you hear the 1980's music begin before the magic show.

Not all the people there were tourists. It was actually a diverse LA crowd whose hip sensibilities overshot the caliber of magic by a mile. The magician's delivery was stale and suburban. The magician couldn't even remember the audience volunteers' names.

The food was a cut above, with interesting plating and nice cuts of meat. Table service was tired and forgetful.

The "seance" is an abysmal, embarrassing, pedestrian Tony And Tina's Wedding like one man show featuring three small-group magic tricks whose secrets can be found on Youtube. We would have been thrilled with a real seance from a local medium, but nothing that complex or original here.

The concept of small group performance magic dinner theater isn't a bad one, and a mansion in the Hollywood Hills seems to be the best place to do it, but it's clear that this is a hovel and safe haven for struggling or retired magicians. Not a cutting edge place where hip, fresh peformers are trying new things.

The whole place looks like it might be run by Shriners in Columbus Ohio, who have an interest in magic only to keep their social lives vibrant while in retirement. The men's room in the basement was foul smelling and clearly not built to handle the crowds their stuffing into the place now that they've gone mainstream. An incredible disappointment. We had visiting guests from New York City, and I was embarrassed and the simplicity and hokie blandness of the magic, which is supposed to be the centerpiece here. No magic here. Avoid.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LA
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
40 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“invited by a member!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

It was fun. The food was good though nothing particularly special; the magic show, was however, very high quality. Even if you are not into magic, this place really does impress by bringing in the best talent. There was a visiting magic artist from London when I went.

Visited August 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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