Since The FRIENDS™ Experience made its debut in the SoCal area last June, we’ve been dying to see what the hype was about. An experience straight out of our favorite series, made up of set replicas, memorabilia, photo-ops and merch? Yeah, we had to check that out. As expected, it’s an adventure through the FRIENDS™ sitcom that’s full of surprises.
It’s not The FRIENDS™ Experience’s first rodeo: before coming near Long Beach, the adventure charmed attendees in NYC, Toronto and Paris among many others! In every city it toured, the experience left a lasting impression — much like Joey’s classic “How you doin’” line. But, before you run to book those tickets to the one near Long Beach, read on for our full review of the experience!
As we entered the Lakewood Center, we couldn’t believe the journey we were about to embark on. It suddenly dawned on us that we would live our best FRIENDS™ dream, recreating our favorite scenes and embodying our beloved characters. Through a colorful arch of balloons, we got a glimpse at the first photo-op of the experience and let out an internal scream: it was the iconic fountain! And of course, we had to hum “I’ll be there for youuuuu” in between takes.
Once we snapped out of it (though it was hard to), we made our way to the next room. It featured FRIENDS™ memorabilia galore, from original costumes to scripts, BTS tidbits and concept designs that made us feel as though we were in the actual series. It was also fascinating to see what goes behind the scenes of such a show!
After staring in awe at all the memorabilia (did you know Rachel had so many wigs over the seasons?), our experience was followed by the legendary PIVOT! couch moment before we made it to Chandler and Joey’s lair. Lounging in their recliner was much needed after we fought each other mercilessly at darts and table soccer. We also got to recreate Joey’s iconic “could I BE wearing anymore clothes?!” and took plenty of pictures as a souvenir.
Taking photos throughout the experience was effortless thanks to the attentive staff members who encouraged us to pose while they snapped our flicks. If you’re planning to take a group of friends with you, we’d highly recommend taking advantage of it (plus for an additional price, you can get professional photos printed as something to look back on!)
After avoiding cheesecake on the floor (the real ones know), we made it to Rachel and Monica’s kitchen with its lilac and teal shades. This was a memorable moment from our adventure, since we’ve always wanted to live in the iconic flat.
Nothing could’ve prepared us for Central Perk though. Seeing Phoebe’s musical equipment firsthand, we almost heard echoes of “Smelly Cat” — and that took us for another nostalgic spin. At the go-to FRIENDS™ meeting spot, we delighted in themed merch, accessories and hilarious games that we simply had to take with us. And after taking the entire gift shop home, we had to say goodbye.
Leaving was bittersweet, but we’ll gladly come back again — and maybe we’ll catch you there next time!