Last week a friend and fellow Jersey Family Fun team member, Kathy and I took a ride up to the King of Prussia Mall for the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia partly out of curiosity and partly since we were big fans of Friends. I can remember my college days coming back to my dorm to catch the latest episode before there were DVRs and streaming services.
Friends took me through my final years of college and my early twenties into marriage and into becoming a new mom. I could completely relate to the characters and where they were in their lives. Granted mine wasn’t as glamorous but I was still young and trying to figure out post-graduation life. LOL.
So when the Facebook ads started showing up for the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia in King of Prussia Kathy and I made a plan to attend over spring break. If you’ve been seeing those same ads for the Friends Experience you may be wondering if it’s worth it. I’m sharing my review based on my experience.
Even if you’ve read other Friends Experience reviews I’d encourage you to read this one as well. Some things have changed since the King of Prussia experience first opened back in February. Our visit was Friday, April 14, 2023.
About the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia
Before I get started with my review, let’s go over the basics for this immersive Friends Experience.
What is the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia?
The Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia is part museum, part interactive experience for friends and fans of the Friends tv show that aired between 1994 and 2004. It can now be seen on HBO Max and other streaming services.
Where is the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia located?
This Philadelphia Friends Experience is located outside of Philadelphia in King of Prussia at the King of Prussia Mall. The experience is located on the third floor, above the Cheesecake Factory and Urban Outfitters. The Blue E parking garage is the closest place to park. There is no charge for parking at this area of the mall.
Quick note, I did not see any restrooms in the nearby vicinity of this experience.
When is it open?
The Friends Experience opened on February 10, 2023, and will remain open until May 29, 2023. It’s open Thursdays through Sundays during the following hours.
- Thursdays and Fridays: 12 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (last entry)
- Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. (last entry)
- Sundays: 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (last entry)
How much are Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia tickets?
The experience offers a variety of ticket options: general admission, flexible entry ticket, premium ticket, and guided group tour.
General Admission – includes full access to the experience at the date and time you select. Prices may fluctuate at peak times. There are also ticket fees.
- Adult (ages 11+) $33.50
- Child (ages 4–10) $27.00
- Senior (ages 55+), Student, or Military – valid ID required $30
Do you need a premium ticket?
It’s a personal choice but I’d say no. It’s a $16 per ticket upgrade. The main advantage is the skip-the-line privilege. It also includes 1 Free “The One Near Philadelphia” mug (or similar item of equal or greater value if unavailable) and 1 Free Coat/Bag/Stroller Check. Parking is so close though you could leave your coat in the car.
A special note about ticket changes. Before buying your Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia tickets be certain about the date and time you want to attend. I ended up needing to change dates due to an unforeseen conflict. There is no contact number to call regarding tickets. The process to reschedule took several emails to different email addresses. I was given a ticket voucher to repurchase tickets for a different date. I did have to pay ticket fees a second time.
Is the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia Worth It?
The quick answer is it really depends. It depends on what you are looking for in the Friends Experience, which experience location you attend, and what you feel that experience is worth. Allow me to explain.
My Friends Experience review is based on our visit to the one near Philadelphia at the King of Prussia Mall. While there will likely be lots of similarities between all the locations, there will also be some differences.
What happens first
We arrived at Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia about 15-20 minutes before our scheduled visit of 12 pm. We were second in line, but a line quickly developed behind us. Staff members let us in about 5-10 minutes prior to our ticketed time. Kathy and I walked with other guests to a waiting area with some extra large Friends photos on display and videos playing.
Once a small group had gathered one staff member gave a brief introduction before we moved into a different room. There, another staff member showed us a quick video about the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia went over some rules and then we went through a replica Friends apartment door to get to the experience.
Even though it seemed like the experience would be crowded based on the line that formed behind us, I don’t think it ever felt like it was. The only moment we had a true wait for a picture was at the first photo spot.
Step into the Sets
If you’re looking for a Friends Experience that allows you to feel like you stepped onto the set of a Friends episode you’re going to get that.
Stage sets at the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia
- The opening scene with the orange couch, lamp, and ‘spraying’ water fountain
- Monica and Rachel’s apartment
- Joey and Chandler’s apartment
- The hallway between the apartments
- The classic ‘pivot’ hallway
- Central Perk (both inside and outside of the cafe)
We did not see stage sets for these locations
- The living room, balcony, or bedrooms of Monica’s and Rachel’s apartment
- Ross’s apartment
- Phoebe’s apartment
- Chandler and Joey’s kitchen
- Anyone’s workplace besides Central Perk
Get Up Close with the Props
Beyond feeling like you’ve stepped onto the set of a Friends episode you’ll also have the chance to take pictures and ‘play’ with some of the props, even the iconic props.
Fun props at the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia
We were encouraged to pick up props to pose with but with one word of caution. If it took effort to pick up the prop, then it wasn’t meant to be picked up. Some props are permanently affixed to their structure to avoid damage from overhandling.
- Pat the Dog sculpture
- in Chandler’s and Joey’s apartment
- 2 leather Barcaloungers
- Foosball table
- Hockey stick
- Magna doodles
- Monica Guellar’s turkey
- Monica and Rachel’s apartment
- Kitchen table
- Kitchen appliances
- Phoebe’s instruments
- Central Perk
- Coffee mugs
- Coffee pots
- Serving tray
We did not see these iconic props
- Phoebe’s bike
- Holiday armadillo
Photo Experiences at the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia
There’s A LOT to say about photos at the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia. Inside this immersive Friends Experience, you’ll constantly find yourself wanting to stop and take pictures, not just with the classic scenes but also with some familiar sets and props.
Make sure you’ve charged your camera or smartphone and given yourself enough memory to take lots of pictures. Once you’re inside the experience you can take as many pictures as you like. Be aware though you may also have others who accidentally appear in your photos just from passing through the exhibits. Check your pictures before moving on or leaving the Experience.
Designated Photo Opps
These are the designated photo opps and stops. There will be a staff member taking photos at each of these locations. They will take a portrait that you can purchase. In some spots, the staff will also take a picture of you with your own phone or camera.
- The classic opening scene with the orange couch, lamp, and water fountain – This will be the first photo stop. On our visit, the staff took our pictures for the photo packages. They did not take one with our camera. We swapped phones with other guests so we could all have photos in this iconic spot, that we didn’t need to pay for.
- The ‘Pivot’ Couch – At this location a staff person used a camera box to take 2 pictures. We were posed with one shot of us smiling at different ends of the couch and one shot of us grunting and looking like we were exerting ourselves to move the couch. There are blue dots on the floor to designate where you should stand and the staff member helped pose us in such a way that the stair railing was not blocking our faces.
- Central Perk – The final designated photo opp was in Central Perk. Kathy and I posed on the couch holding coffee mugs. The staff member took pictures for the paid photo packages and with our personal phones/cameras.
Additional Photo Stops
There are so many undesignated spots where you could take a picture, I loved that. However, there wasn’t much staff around to help Kathy and me get pictures together. When we passed through Monica’s kitchen a lovely staff member offered to take our picture. But in other areas, we were on our own to either attempt a selfie or take turns taking pictures of each other.
- Look through the peephole from Rachel and Monica’s apartment
- Sit at Rachel and Monica’s kitchen table
- Throughout Joey and Chandler’s apartment (except the kitchen)
- Joey’s ‘Could I be wearing any more clothing’ is represented as a statue that you step behind.
- Outside Central Perk playing Phoebe’s instruments
- Throughout Central Perk
- The cheesecake on the floor in the hallway scene (I recommend bringing your own fork props. There weren’t any there.)
What’s missing from the photo opps
While I love that there were lots of engaging photo ops, looking back there was one more kind of photo prop I wish they would have had. It would have been great to have lifesize cutouts of the characters so visitors could ‘pretend’ to take their pictures with Ross, Rachel, Joey, Monica, or Phoebe.
In the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia you have multiple opportunities to take a picture as if you were on the set, but there’s no space to take a picture with a member of the cast.
Earlier reports stated that the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia guests received one free photo with their admission ticket. We did not find that to be the case. You can preview your photos on a screen with the cashier before making a purchase decision. Based on the pricing, see below, I determined it was better to buy the digital package. I paid $35, but if you pay in advance it’s $25.
The digital package included photos from the 3 designated spots for a total of 6 shots. Buyers are given a receipt with a QR code to scan in order to get their pictures. I found the process to download my photos to be very time-consuming and required creating an account in order to get access to my photos.
I also found that the quality of those photos did not match what we had taken ourselves. Their photos seem darker and not as crisp. Ours were bright, clearer, and more playful.
Behind the Scenes
In the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia there are wall murals dedicated to each character, well-known quotes from the cast in their roles, and the team behind the show such as the costume designer, and Central Perk artwork artist.
Other exhibits feature the many versions of “the Rachel” hairstyle, an outfit from each character of the show, and Phoebe’s Jukebox. There were reports that this jukebox played dialogue clips from Phoebe, but we found the jukebox to be nonoperational.
In addition to some of what you may have already expected at Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia there are some fun surprises waiting for you. While normally I would hate to ruin a surprise I also think it’s important to know what to expect when you’re buying a ticket for Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia.
Who dated whom?
Ever lose track of who dated whom on Friends? This large wall mural will help you figure it out with special designations to symbolize relationships, flings, marriages, divorces, and babies; as well as the length of each relationship.
Tidying Tips from Monica Geller
It’s not clean unless it’s Monica clean. Inside the Friends Experience, you’ll find a wall mural where Monica shares her best cleaning tips.
Within each character’s exhibit area, there are also screens playing videos portraying some of that character’s best scenes.
The Friends Experience gift shop left us feeling disappointed. There was a very limited selection of apparel and gifts with nothing less than $20. There was only one kind of t-shirt. If you truly want Friends merch you’ll find a more extensive selection in their online shop. You’ll likely get a coupon for it, by email, after your visit.
Value vs Time
All in all, I’d say Kathy and me spent about 30-40 minutes at the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia. We didn’t read every mural or piece of signage we could have so maybe it would have taken a few minutes longer if we had. But we did both feel it was rather short compared to similar experiences we had been to.
Final Thoughts on the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia
We had a great time at the Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia. I just wish there would have been more to it, especially considering the price of the tickets. I would have liked opportunities to pretend to pose with the cast or learn some more behind-the-scenes information or even sit inside Rachel and Monica’s living room or ‘look’ out of their balcony.
The Friends Experience, The One Near Philadelphia is a special one-of-a-kind experience though. If you’re traveling from New Jersey or other areas of a distance then turn it into a day trip. Have lunch in the mall. Do some shopping. Or even take a hike or do one of these outdoor activities in Philadelphia.