2 September 2019

THE LIFE DIARIES: Exploring FriendsFest

Anyone who knows me is fully aware I am a huge Friends fan. You can't sit and watch and episode with me without me basically saying every line. It's just one of those shows that always makes you feel happy and makes you laugh. So when ComedyCentral first started doing their FriendsFest I was dying to go - but always missed the boat. This year however my lovely husband signed up for early access and voila! We got tickets straight away.

It's something I've been excited to go to for so long, so how was it? I do want to start this by saying that I did have a good time, and if you are a Friends fan and you get the opportunity you should go. However, it is essentially just somewhere to go to take photos in different famous Friends scenarios. For me I think I was expecting it to be a bit more like the Harry Potter Studio tour, where you take you time, see all the sets and there's a lot of magic behind it. It's not that it wasn't amazing to take the photos and see some of the sets, I just feel like I was a little underwhelmed by the whole thing.

Let's break it down a little more...

So we got there around 11am, and our tour time was at 12pm so we had the opportunity to explore a little first. Something to note if you do go - it is outside, or it was where we went. And it was a rainy day - so although everything is under tents and gazebos, if you queue to do anything you get wet, if you want to get food, you get wet, if you want to walk inbetween photo ops, you get wet. So just keep that in mind. 

Nice little photo with the queue of people waiting for their photo behind us as well!

Our first stop was Central Perk, where I had visions of sitting down with a Central Perk mug having a coffee and a laugh - not really. There are two sections - the set area where you can sit, take photos and watch someone do Phoebe's songs, and the other where you have wooden fold out chairs and a coffee cart with paper coffee cups. It was still cool - don't get me wrong - but not really what I was expecting. I will say actually sitting on one of the stools in the set watching someone do Phoebe's songs was one of my highlights though - I did enjoy that. 

We then walked over to the next section where you could do photos and a boomerang on the sofa for the opening credits. Again, I did like this bit and the boomerang came out really well. I think more direction for the photo would have been fun, to do different poses etc but I do understand they have a queue of people to get through. We also recreated the "PIVOT" moment, again there was someone there to take the photo for you. We decided to skip the video section where you can recreate the opening scene, and just go for a bit of an explore. 

We had our tour at 12pm, I'm not really sure you can call it a tour to be honest. When you first go in and wait there are grass cabinets of actual props which was very cool, and then you were taken into each of the apartments. Don't get me wrong - it was definitely cool to be in the apartments, however, it was a little like being herded like cattle. It's essentially a free for all when you go into each one, so every photo has people in the background, you feel rushed and it amazed me how many people got arsey with each other about being in the way. There wasn't too much commentary on different pieces either, and if you wanted the guide to take a photo is was very much one and done. For all the other photo ops you ended up with at least 10 to choose from. By the time we got to the third apartment, Ross's, I was ready to just walk out the tour and find a coffee. I think it would work better if there were smaller groups, but there was too many people. There was also a few things where we were like buuuut that's not right, or I don't think that's the actual prop or original set. Which is absolutely fine - but don't make out like it's the real deal if it's not you know?

There are a few food trucks dotted around outside, and also a large cinema showing Friend's clips. Not going to lie, one of my best moments was sat eating my bagel watching Friends. There's also a gift shop, which was okay - there was some cool stuff - however I was really surprised and disappointed that they didn't do Central Perk mugs - they did travel mugs etc, but nothing else. Having said that, I did come away with my own Hugsy which I did hug the whole way home.

Overall - I'm glad I went, and there were definitely certain aspects I enjoyed. However, not quite as amazing as I hoped it would be. It definitely felt more like a photo shoot than a tour, or an experience.

My highlights:
  • Watching someone sing Phoebe's songs in Central Perk
  • Watching Friends clips on the big screen
  • Seeing the hallway and posing there with no one else
  • Seeing the girl's apartment
  • Buying a Hugsy
Let me know if you've been and what your thoughts were - it would definitely be interesting to see if it differs from previous years as well!

Much love, Lisa May x

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