I am as always committed to reviewing to be a guide to my fellow sojourner ... reading many reviews did not answer my question succinctly until I journeyed but thanks to many... from Pacifica from the north down hwy 1 leaving near 1100ish and stopping in Santa Cruz for lunch 1230-1300 gayles eatery a must stop for good food and deserts of every imagination- but that’s another journey the cost route was outstanding in many ways and views but no stopping to arrive at the castle before closing and getting the lay of the land prior the return the next day. Parking is plentiful many covered by solar panels but free as is the visitor center - Hugh inside single story build with shops and eateries and 3 line separate line up areas for each of the specific tours. Each tour is 25.00 dollars and yes the ticket window staff will perfectly help you plan your tours. But back to this late arrival- we were sadden to arrive about 530 pm tours were closed and we had hope to see the movie - off to right in its own theatre building- a Hugh mega theatre big screen 40-45 min and thrill to catch the last but 600 pm showing. Advertisement read 515 last show but at visitor center it was listed as 600 pm perfect and very informative before any tour recommended. Now show is part of any ticket purchase but we bought tickets 8.00 per person and then reimbursed upon showing a tour ticket- must have original receipts for reimbursement. ( our next day return tours) most shop close about 5-600 pm with center open till 7-800 pm theirs the large indoor and some outdoor seating areas for cafeteria or your own bring in foods. The backside outdoors faces the castle way atop the hill but probably can’t see it as it is too far away but see the Hearst grazing ranchero of cattle and mixed in zebras!!! And of course herds of deer and elks the buses although school like bus seats were slow and if a hot sunny day are in air conditioned so grab a window seats as the bus moves slowly breezes are difficult. No food or gum just plain water do carry - you’ll be thankful. We chose the bedrooms, the kitchen and guest cottages and the designing tours to see more and deferred the most common tour through door 1 shuttle. All tours enter via a single entry so your photo is taken for purchase after your tour- I believe you can choose your background pose. At the center as said is cafeteria - hours unknown but food looked good and plentiful. In the seating area all walls had historical photos and cations to tell much of the Hearst story and times. We returned the next day from 1100 to 600 pm a very full day. Forget all the opulence and splendor and his hodgepodge era walls floors artifacts murals arts and painting statues sarcophagi etc and his affair with his mistress occupying the castle the wife abdicating to New York never to be seen again at the castle and the parents his mother only giving WR 10 grand a month which he childishly spent for decades till he finally inherited the whole of it all. And remember the history and times and what it brings and offers to those who visit- don’t mind the 500.00 tour to swim in his pools but visually enjoy it as it is.