C, T, and I were lucky enough to make an appearance at Sunday brunch at the World Famous Hollywood Magic Castle earlier this month!
Two Sundays ago, we finally managed to reserve a brunch seating that worked around our family’s crazy schedules as well as Barry’s, our sponsor and Academy of Magical Arts’ member who met up with us. I’d met Barry months ago at the Long Beach Memorial iWalk where he generously offered to meet with our family and tour us around The Castle (that’s what members of the Academy of Magical Arts call it for short) if we ever were to plan a visit for a meal or otherwise.
Yes, for those of you longer-time readers, this is the same brunch that I’d mentioned scoring at last fall’s iWalk. And, yes, sadly it took me that long to get it all set up. But – abracadabra – we finally made the magic happen!
Let me just say that the time it took for us to finally get into The Magic Castle was well worth the wait. While no pictures are allowed inside of The Castle beyond the lobby, which offers a fun group snapshot opportunity before entry, visitors have plenty of photo opps available outside all around the perimeter of the building. There’s also a cute red-carpet setup for those seeking a complete “Hollywood experience.”
For our family, however, we preferred the views looking out from The Castle, both up and down the hill, along with taking in all the awesome architecture of the building itself.
Since I don’t have pictures to share of the wonderful brunch spread, please allow me a feeble explanation of its deliciousness. Long story short, brunch was simply a magical experience all on its own. The spread included several seafood options (including crab legs, shrimp cocktail, and sushi), prime rib carving station, omelet station, and a variety of fresh fruits and desserts. C and I sipped bottomless mimosas (including taking one to-go at the prodding of the server when it was time for us to depart for our first stage show!), and I digested with an espresso and C with more champagne. T also dined without complaint from both the regular and special kids’ buffet, which included Belgian waffles and an ice cream sundae station. Weekend brunch pricing is $39.95 for adults and $19.95 for kids under 10 (kids under 5 are free!). We are not what I’d call regular brunch folk, but magic aside, The Castle has really set the bar high for any other future brunch experience.
As for The Magic Castle’s stage shows, well, there was nothing Hocus Pocus about those either, RMT’ers. I’ve read a number of reviews from previous Castle visitors who were disappointed with their time there as they only were able to catch one standing room only stage show during a 3-4 hour evening as it was so overcrowded (as Friday and Saturday evenings can be per Barry, so heads up should you consider a date night over a brunch). However, in the course of our 4-1/2-hour visit, our family not only brunched without abandon, but we also sat and saw five different performances over four different staged shows: Two on the main stage (seated ticket included with brunch reservation); one on another side stage; and two smaller shows in smaller theatrical settings given by up-and-coming Junior Society Members. All afternoon, Barry seamlessly guided us through The Castle for an optimal entertainment experience that seemed like an illusion all on its own. We never once felt rushed. In fact, we had plenty of time in between shows to enjoy a thorough guided tour of The Castle and for Barry to share some of its storied past.
And the magic, you ask? Well that is why we went to The Magic Castle after all, right (yes, brunch was simply a bonus!)?! Again, the entertainment portion of our visit was nothing short of spectacular. The magicians were professionals through and through. We saw three different acts who’ve entertained on stages the world over, on television, and regularly at The Castle many times before. Even the Juniors were top-notch. In fact, if I didn’t know they were Junior Members, I’d have been none the wiser. And after meeting and watching those 15- and 19-year-old young men perform, I’d just like to extend a sincere BRAVO to their parents for doing such a wonderful job raising them.
RMT’ers, if you ever get the opportunity to go to The Magic Castle, please take the trip sooner than the nine months it took us to get up there after being extended the invitation. I will give you two insider tips to planning your visit that you might not see on this list. First, see if an AMA member can sponsor your visit in-person if at all possible for reasons aforementioned. I don’t know how you can do this without being invited as someone’s personal guest, but I am sure you can find more details online somewhere from more seasoned visitors than myself. The second piece of advice I have is to reserve for the first brunch seating on a weekend day that may not be as popular as others. For example, we booked the 10:30 a.m. seating on the Sunday after Mother’s Day, which also happened to be a few weeks after Easter. We heard over and over how everyone lucked out with the crowd being so light, and I just deducted that folks must have been brunched out (and hooray for us!). Booking the first brunch time of the day also allows you to go eat first and then take in as many shows as you can before closing time at 3:30 p.m. (versus breaking up shows with brunch then returning to shows). Eating first when having a young child(ren) in your party also seemed to be a most excellent decision for a happier experience for all of us, including T.
I now could never imagine going to The Castle without an insider’s know-how of coordinating show viewings, which comes in very handy with an impatient 6.5-year-old in tow! But even more fascinating was Barry’s own passion for all things Castle-related. He made it easy to get caught up in the enchantment of it all. Our Magic Castle experience wouldn’t have been what it was if not for Barry taking the time to educate and entertain us during our visit. And the best part about visiting The Magic Castle? It isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Castle’s been around for more than 50 years, so even if it takes another nine months for us to re-appear there, it shouldn’t disappear before then.
Thanks again to Barry, The Castle staff, and the magicians for a most memorable and magical day for all of us.
The World Famous Hollywood Magic Castle (home of the Academy of Magical Arts) is at 7001 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028. As The Magic Castle is an exclusive, private club, you must be a member or have a guest card from a member-in-good-standing to gain admittance. For reservations, please call 323 851 3313 anytime Monday-through-Saturday from 8 a.m.-to-10 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-to-5:30 p.m. Call 1-to-2 weeks in advance for weekday dinner or weekend brunch seatings; for Friday or Saturday reservations, The Castle recommends calling 6-to-8 weeks in advance as those slots are the most popular and tend to fill quickly. Please note no one under 21 is admitted at dinner anytime. For weekend brunch, kids are welcome. Click here for more visitor details, and be sure to read their detailed dress code in advance for men, women, and children, which varies greatly depending on days and times. In the interest of full disclosure, please note that while there is usually a cover charge per person on top of dining charges for non-member visitors, our cover charges were waived because we entered with a member as their personal guests (as is customary); we did however pay for our brunch, and it was money well-spent.