Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with this review of Madame Tussauds Hollywood. Out of all the things to do in Los Angeles, I never expected that I’d actually visit this wax figure museum. In fact, it’s been something of a running joke between Sarah and I. We go somewhere that has a Madame Tussauds, invariably get handed a flyer offering some “great” discount, joke about how we should do the tourist thing and go there, and that’s that.
So, when I suggested to Sarah that we visit Madame Tussauds Hollywood a few weeks ago while her sister visited us, her first reaction was to laugh. Then, she realized I was serious and delivered an expletive-laden response that made it abundantly clear she had no desire to go. Okay, so her response wasn’t quite that vehement, but it was made clear that if I went…I’d be going alone.
The thing is, Madame Tussauds Hollywood is not awful. I mean, it’s not good…but it’s not bad, either. It’s more of an “is what it is” type of place. To that end, this review is probably totally unnecessary. Without reading this, you can likely decide for yourself whether you want to see wax figures of celebrities or not. There’s a bit more to it than that, but not much…
About the only other significant piece of advice I can offer with Madame Tussauds Hollywood is that it could be ironic fun, potentially. The idea of enjoying something ironically may not appeal to a lot of you, but think of it like watching a really bad horror movie. There are some things that are so bad or bizarre that they become fun for reasons other than those intended. If you’ve ever watched Snakes on a Plane (or my personal favorite, Leprechaun In the Hood) then you know what I’m talking about.
While I think there’s very little redeeming value in Madame Tussauds Hollywood as anything more than a place to goof around and take silly selfies, I do have to say that the likenesses here are incredibly well done. You should be able to see that much from the photos. The details are meticulous, and I suppose one could argue that these wax figures are an art form.
Moreover, some of the surrounding scenery is pretty cool. Both of these things surprised me, as I sort of figured it’d just be a bunch of poorly-done wax figures in a dank basement. I’ll be honest: I liked it more than I expected, but my expectations were really, really low. (I could see kids loving this sort of thing.)
I guess you could say another highlight is diversity of the lineup. Seeing classics such as Jimmy Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, and Gloria Swanson alongside Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift was nice. Adds appeal for all ages.
Given the location of Madame Tussauds Hollywood, it is really easy to pay the wax figure museum a quick visit while doing other things in Hollywood, briskly touring the museum making silly poses and snapping selfies while laughing along the way. In fact, I could totally see having a few drinks beforehand, and having a really fun 45 minutes or so going through Madame Tussauds Hollywood.
I had no time for such frivolities given that I literally just bounced in while Sarah and her sister were eating lunch at the Hollywood & Highland Center while we awaited our Dolby Theater Tour, but other patrons of the museum seemed to be making a pretty fun time of it.
If you’re using the Go L.A. Card (as literally everyone else in line in front of me was doing), there’s really ‘no risk’ in checking out Madame Tussauds Hollywood. So long as you’re already in Hollywood for something else, you’re looking at a minimal time commitment to give it a try.
At worst, you wait in line to get your pass scanned, walk in, find out it’s not for you after about 90 seconds, walk back out, and proceed on to your next destination. You’re still only looking at 15 minutes of lost time, which is not bad.
At best, you walk in, visit multiple floors and stop for selfies with several celebrities, and spend an hour in the process. (You could easily be in and out in far less than an hour.) You post the photos on Facebook, convincing your friends you met T-Swift in Los Angeles and became BFFs with her. (Plot twist: by the end of your trip, you developed bad blood and her next ‘beef’ song is actually about you.)
I’m actually curious as to what percentage of Madame Tussauds visitors worldwide pay full price, which is currently $30 per person. Literally everywhere we’ve gone that has a Madame Tussauds has some sort of aggressive marketing and discount offers.
I’d be surprised if the number of visitors who pay full price at Madame Tussauds is above 50%, and I would not be surprised if it’s below 20%. It seems like their whole business model is predicated upon tricking people into doing it because it’s such a good deal or they aren’t directly paying. (To that end, I guess they duped me!)
If you don’t have the Go L.A. Card or some other means of free or really low-cost admission, I have a much more difficult time recommending Madame Tussauds Hollywood. Like I said above, you probably already know whether or not it’s for you, so maybe you’re thinking I’m crazy for not being super hyped on seeing wax figures of celebrities. I don’t know. Personally, I don’t get the appeal of this place as something anyone would pay money to visit. It’s kitschy fun, but not the type of fun I’d pay money to have.
Clearly, plenty of people disagree with me, as Madame Tussauds Hollywood is currently ranked as the #24 (of 536!) thing to do in Los Angeles on TripAdvisor, and it has a 4.4 star rating on Google. Granted, a lot of people are idiots. Plus, the ones who are not idiots probably toured Madame Tussauds Hollywood just like I did–without paying directly for admission–which undoubtedly skews the score (people tend to rate free things higher than ones they pay for). Still, it surprises me to see Madame Tussauds Hollywood score so well. Perhaps this is like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and I just don’t “get” the appeal that so many others can plainly see. As they say, different strokes for different folks.
If you’re planning a California vacation, check out my California category of posts for other things to do. For Los Angeles-centric trips, we’ve found the most useful guidebook to be The Best Things to Do in Los Angeles: 1001 Ideas, which is written by locals (and we use it even as locals!). If you enjoyed this post, help spread the word by sharing it via social media. Thanks for reading!
Have you visited Madame Tussauds anywhere? If so, what did you think of experience? Visited multiple Madame Tussauds locations? Am I missing something, or is it just ‘silly fun’ at best? Do you have a favorite wax figure celebrity? Any additional tips to add that we didn’t cover? Was it worth your time and money? Hearing from readers is half the fun, so please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!