Fire in visitor center, and tourists weren't told.
When we were there, there was some sort of small fire at the visitor center. Here is what happened. We had finished our tour, and wanted to go inside the visitor center to take a leak, and charge my camera. A security guard showed up, and didn't tell us anything about a fire. He just started yelling at us, that we can't go this way. I told him nicely, "We're trying to get to the visitor center", and he just ignored us.
We tried to go through the front entrance, and again we were yelled at, without being informed what was going on. We told him, we just want to use the bathroom, and he started yelling at us that, we can't go inside. It wasn't until I raised my voice to him, that he told us and everyone in line, that there is a fire. People in line were angry that they were being held outside, and were not told why. If I hadn't raised my voice, they wouldn't have told us anything, and we would've been standing outside like a bunch of idiots. If they just would've told us, and everyone else, nicely and calmly what is going on, we would've just walked away without getting frustrated.
I am extremely disappointed with the way the security staff handled this situation. If there is a fire in your facility, you need to inform your guests.
Go While the Going is Good
Near the end of Tour 3, a short film will be showed. During which the guide may offer you an opportunity to use one of Mr. Hearst's bathrooms. If you are in need of restroom, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity before the conclusion of the film. Once the film is over, the group will move out and the chance will have been lost.
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I'm not sure if anything can be done to prevent getting on a tour with obnoxious tourists but our first tour was comprised mostly of a tour group from Israel that talked over the guide and couldn't seem to figure out how to turn the flash feature off on their cameras. I mentioned this to the guide at the end and asked why they didn't break us up into two groups since there were two docents, one to talk and one to herd the unruly tourists. She said that this particular guide was known to be a problem and they found this was the best way to handle him but I think banning him and his tour groups would be a better solution!!!!
For the 10 or so of us that were trying to listen to the guide, it was incredibly distracting, their leader at least waited until the docent was done talking but since they weren't listening to her they talked over her the entire visit. And I can't believe that we got a full tour, most of what the docent said was scolding the tourists for taking flash photos, stepping off the carpet and touching the furniture! It was like being on a tour with a bunch of 2 year olds!!!
No Visitor Facilities on Castle Grounds
During the tour, no amenities for food or drink are present. Restrooms are available only through special arrangement with the guide. No food or drink is allowed on the tour.
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