Let me start out by saying I have been very fortunate to have always grown up with access to The Magic Castle, because my parents are members. I didn’t realize quite how big of a deal it was until I heard people saying they had been trying for years to find a way to gain access. For people who don’t know what The Magic Castle is, it sounds a little cheesy and words don’t quite do it justice. On the surface, it’s a dinner and a magic show, inside a building that looks like a castle in Hollywood. But, when you delve beneath the surface, it is so much more than that. I’ll do my best to give the low down on The Castle without spoiling any surprises.
First things first, attire. The Magic Castle has a strict evening dress code. We’re not talking club attire, as is acceptable most everywhere else in Hollywood. A night at the Magic Castle should feel elegant and classy, and your attire should reflect that. For men and women who are dressed inappropriately (think no tie/jacket, rompers, etc) The Magic Castle has “loaner clothes” you can wear. I’ve seen a few unfortunate patrons have to dawn these lovely “loaners” and trust me, it’s not pretty…dress appropriately!
Secondly, no photography is allowed inside. I wanted to respect this rule and everything The Magic Castle stands for. Most of you will want at least a few pictures to remember your time at the ultra exclusive Castle. Be sure to take a picture with your group outside, in front of the The Magic Castle backdrop before you walk in. You can also take a picture in front of the bookcase when you first walk in. The no photography rule is strict, breaking it isn’t worth ruining what should be an amazing night.
Once you check in, you get inside the rest of the castle by saying the “magic word” to the bookcase (I’ll let you figure that one out). Depending on what time your dinner seating is, you’ll either eat dinner, then see the shows, or see a majority of the shows then eat dinner. I’ve done it both ways now and I actually think I prefer the 9:45 PM (later) dinner seating.
If you’re doing a later dinner seating, you still want to arrive around 6 PM so you can be the first in line for the shows. I love being in the front couple rows because you get to be an active participant. *PRO TIP: If you’re not able to sit in the middle, sit on the side where the exit door is. The quicker you can get out of a show, the quicker you can get in line for the next one, and thus have a better chance of being front row.
Now, everybody talks about the “big show” which is quite literally in a bigger room and oftentimes hosts a well-known magician. You do need a ticket (which you’ll receive after dinner) to get into this show. While it is enjoyable, it’s not my favorite, and I do feel it’s a bit over-hyped. I love the little, intimate shows that can be found at some of the bars in the bottom level of the Magic Castle. If you get to these early enough you can sit at the bar and have a drink while magic is performed right in front of your eyes. Most of these consist of card and coin tricks. It’s my absolute favorite when they walk you through step by step how to do the trick, and you STILL can’t figure it out.
Lastly, make sure to check out Irma, the ghost who plays the piano behind the bar on the entrance level floor. Ask to play anything from Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen to Low by Flo Rida. The Magic Castle is full of random little tidbits of fun so I won’t ruin it all for you here. Half the fun is discovering something new every time you go.
A couple things that should go without saying:
- DRESS CODE! This is cocktail hour at the country club. Not 21st birthday in Vegas. Dress AND act like it.
- Conduct yourself as you would if you were a guest in someone’s home. When Magic Castle members check-in they are literally told “Welcome Home.” If you want to get drunk, be ultra loud, and disrespectful, there are plenty of clubs within walking distance.
- NO PHONES! If you absolutely have to take a call or text be sure to step outside of the show. But, think of this as some mental health time to disconnect from your phone for a few hours. I was there this past weekend from 6 PM to 1:30 AM and didn’t once look at my phone. If you do pull your phone out during a show, be prepared to have the magicians heckle you about it in front of everyone. They don’t hold their punches.
- Enjoy yourself. Whether you’re a person who likes to spend the whole night figuring out how they do the magic tricks, or if you just love to be shocked after every show, this is a place everyone will enjoy. Make mental memories of this once in a lifetime experience.
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl