Headin’ on Down to the A.N.T. Farm!

A few weeks ago, I posted about going to see a taping of the Jeff Probst show at Sunset-Gower Studios in Hollywood. After taking my husband to his first TV show taping, I realized that it was probably an experience that my 10 year-old son would enjoy as well. I popped onto TVtickets.com to see if there were any TV show tapings coming up that would be suitable for children. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but free TV tickets for the Disney Channel‘s “A.N.T. Farm“!

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I can’t lie. I was pretty psyched about scoring “A.N.T. Farm” tickets. There are a lot of shows that my son likes to watch, but there are very few that I can actually stand to sit through with him. Sure, “A.N.T. Farm” is pretty cheesy (as are most children’s shows. Well, come to think of it, so are most adult shows!) but it’s put together well and it’s usually good to deliver a few laughs, even for the grown-ups, each episode.

In case you were wondering, A.N.T. stands for Advanced Natural Talent. The show follows a group of friends, all with their various talents, who attend a special school for gifted kids. The main character, Chyna (played by China Anne McClain), is a 13 year-old musical prodigy who hand with her pals Olive (Sierra McCormick) who has a super-memory, Feltcher (Jake Short) who is an artistic genius, and Angus (Aedin Mincks) and generally pull a great deal of slap-sticky shenanigans which are always resolved with a heart-warming moral. Of course they have to go through all of this while also dealing with China’s arch-nemesis Lexi (Stefanie Scott). Basic kiddie-show formula.

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Kids really love this show, though! I didn’t realize how lucky I was to actually score the “A.N.T. Farm” tickets until I arrived and saw how packed it was. They’re often sold out, but if you check back on the TVtickets website frequently, there’s a good chance you can nab some (or tickets to other Disney shows like “Austin & Ally” or “Jessie“).

“A.N.T. Farm” is taped at Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas Ave where, conveniently enough, there is plenty of street parking so that you won’t have to walk too far to get in. Check in for ticket holders is on the corner of Santa Monica and Seward Street. Be aware that they do check I.Ds of all guests over the age of 18, and though they do allow cellphones inside the studio, they are very strict about making sure that you keep them off.

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When you are first seated in the studio, you’ll get a great view of the “A.N.T. Farm” set (currently including the main student lounge, Chyna & Olive’s dorm bedroom, and the dorm common room which they share with Lexi). Seeing the set in real life was a pretty exciting moment for my son (and, OK, for me too).

If you’ve ever been to a TV taping for a sitcom, you know that they can take anywhere between 3-4 hours to film. Fortunately, the folks at Hollywood Center Studios are aware that this can become very tiring and boring for the little ones, so they’ve got this great guy who interacts with the kids between takes and keeps them pumped up. He gave them riddles, played games with them, and their DJ was spitting out tunes for the little kids to jump up and dance to. We were also provided with water and snacks (granola bars and fruit gummies) halfway through the taping. I would still strongly recommend eating before you go.

The cast of the show was really great. I was actually very impressed with their ability to get through entire takes without making any mistakes. I expected that with a younger cast, there would be a real struggle to get through scenes, but they all worked together to keep the ball rolling. Between takes, the cast members would smile, wave, and blow kisses to the kids in the audience (which basically made their whole world better!).

When the taping was complete, they offered all of the kids in the audience a “cover page” from the episode’s screenplay (ours was “Angus’s First Movement”) and dismissed us row by row so that before exiting the studio, each child was able to meet the “A.N.T. Farm” cast and get their autograph. They were all very sweet and respectful and my kid was pretty jazzed about it.

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As far as TV tapings go, I would definitely recommend that any parent with Disney-loving kids round up their minions and take them to go see “A.N.T. Farm”. It’s a great time for everybody and of course…it’s free!

Happy weekend, everyone!

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