Recap of SAVING MR. BANKS Special Event at The Walt Disney Studios

To celebrate the opening of SAVING MR. BANKS, The Walt Disney Studios opened up their iron gates to the public for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  This very special event gave guests the opportunity to attend a screening of Saving Mr. Banks on the lot, followed by a tour of the Studios, including sets, props and locations from both Saving Mr. Banks and MARY POPPINS, plus character meet & greets, and even a special parting gift.  At $50 per ticket, the price was certainly enough to make you blink twice, but all that it included made it a really good value.  Personally, just the opportunity alone to see a movie, about the making of one of my all-time favorite films, at the location where BOTH movies were made?!  My Disney-geek meter was reading off the charts, and there was just no way I could pass this up.  Then add in the tour, plus everything else and for me, it was a no-brainer.  Continue reading for photos and a full report from this exclusive event AND a Practically Perfect “Mary Poppins” GIVEAWAY.

NOTE: This article is a recap of the event at the Walt Disney Studios, for a review of Saving Mr. Banks, check out George Gensler’s post by clicking here

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Welcome to The Walt Disney Studios!

Our confirmation said we could arrive as early as 5:30 pm, with the film set to begin promptly at 7:00 pm.  As silly as it may sound, there’s an electricity on the Studios lot that’s almost palpable.  Just walking in this place, where Walt and Roy Disney each had their main offices, where so many beloved classic Disney films were made, knowing that you’re walking in the footsteps of so many creative innovators and legends; it’s a magic that can’t be fully described.  I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the lot a handful of times, and it’s a feeling that never dulls.  I knew that for this very special night I’d want to spend as much time here as possible.   So even though I’m the girl that’s perpetually late for everything in life, I made sure to arrive early for this.  We were there by 5:30 pm, on the dot. Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios (2)   First things first: checking in.  Here we were given wristbands and a map for the walking tour after the film.  Concessions were available to purchase, and the merchandise selection included items from the Mary Poppins broadway musical and a Saving Mr. Banks poster.  There was also a photo op, a kiosk advertising the free iBook about the film, and the actual prop carousel horses from Mary Poppins were on display. Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Mary & Bert’s carousel horse props from Mary Poppins

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

A peek at the Walking Tour map

After we were done checking in, we were led through the lobby of the Walt Disney Archives where they have the Multi-Plane camera on display, as well as costumes from Saving Mr. Banks.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Multi-plane camera protected by toy soldiers.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Costumes from P.L. Travers’ family flashback scenes in Saving Mr. Banks.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak’s costumes as the Sherman Brothers.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson’s costumes from Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Close-up of Walt’s famous Smoke Tree Ranch pin.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

The walls are flanked with wonderful vintage photos from around the Studios. This one in particular caught my eye.

As we made our way toward the theater, Bert & Mary were posted in front of a Cherry Tree Lane backdrop, and Mickey Mouse was in front of the lot’s original Animation building (one of many geek-out moments for me this evening).

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Bert & Mary are ready for a Jolly Holiday

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Mickey Mouse poses in front of the old Animation Building. This is where Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and dozens more were created.

Before we knew it, it was time to head into the theater for the feature presentation. Inside the lobby, they had items on loan from the Walt Disney Archives on display from Mary Poppins. Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Grammy for music from Mary Poppins

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

An original script for Mary Poppins

Because this was an exclusive screening, rather than the usual previews before the film we were treated to clips from the Saving Mr. Banks World Premiere which was held at the Walt Disney Studios, and in the very same theater we were in, just days before our event. Once the film was over, we were invited to participate in a self-guided walking tour, utilizing the maps we were given during check-in.  The first on our list was a walk through of each of the 3 floors of the old animation building.  The walls of the first floor are adorned with artwork from several animated Disney classics, taking you through the history of Disney animation.  The second floor walks you through the history of The Walt Disney company.  Since we had seen both of these before, we opted to head straight to the third floor where they had sets and props on display used to create Walt’s Suite in Saving Mr. Banks.  They also had a display of both vintage and new Mary Poppins merchandise, along with several photos from the set of Mary Poppins (these were also on display at this year’s D23 Expo).   This was also the floor where Walt & Roy’s offices were located.  While they’re now occupied by new tenants and we weren’t allowed to go into the actual offices, it was neat to even be able to walk the halls since we had never been allowed up there before.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Old & new Mary Poppins merchandise on display.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Prop awards & trophies from Walt's reception room in Saving Mr. Banks

Prop awards & trophies from Walt’s reception room in Saving Mr. Banks.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Set pieces used for Walt’s formal office in Saving Mr. Banks. Notice anything odd about that Time Magazine cover on the wall?

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Tom Hanks had to pose as Walt for several portraits. One of the cast member guides noted that Tom Hanks said it creeped him out having to recreate these portraits.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

This one made for big chuckles among the group.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Storyboards from Mary Poppins

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

These are some of the actual items that were in Walt’s office when he passed away in 1966.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

One of my favorite photos on display from the set of Mary Poppins. Walt & Julie, enjoying a spot of tea.

Afterward, we moved back outside to visit Stage A, another spot we had never been able to venture inside before.  On our way, we ran into Mickey again.  This time, he was posing by the Studios iconic Mickey Ave/Dopey Dr. sign. Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney’s actual Cadillac Limousine on display outside of Stage A.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Inside Stage A. This location is where P.L. Travers first meets Don DaGradi and the Sherman Brothers in the film, and where many of the songs were recorded for Mary Poppins.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Mary Poppins character design props used in Saving Mr. Banks on display inside Stage A.

Next, we moved over to the Hyperion Bungalow, a structure that was moved over from the original Walt Disney Studios that was located on Hyperion Blvd in Los Feliz.  The set pieces and props used to create P.L. Travers parlour in Saving Mr. Banks were on display inside the building’s Silverlake room.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Using a photo from a previous tour to show you the exterior of the Hyperion Bungalow.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Set pieces from P.L. Travers’ parlour in Saving Mr. Banks.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Just like Tom Hanks had to pose as Walt Disney in portraits, Emma Thompson did the same as P.L. Travers.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

P.L. Travers’ family portrait from the film.

The map then took us to Stage 2, also known as the “Julie Andrews Stage” because it’s where the majority of Mary Poppins was filmed, as well as the Princess Diaries 2.  While we didn’t go inside the soundstage, Mary & Bert were moved here for their meet & greet. Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

The Studio’s iconic water tower and the old castle logo light up the lot.

Last but not least, we were invited to tour Legends Plaza.  This is an area dedicated to all of those that have been given the prestigious Disney Legends award.  Several people from Mary Poppins have received the award, including Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, the Sherman Brothers, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Robert Stevenson, Bill Walsh, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, and Don DaGradi.  This is also where the original statues of Walt & Mickey and Roy & Minnie are located.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

The original Partners statue, sculpted by Disney Legend Blaine Gibson (taken during a previous trip to the Studios).

Some of the Legends plaques on display in the plaza. Seen here are Richard Sherman, Robert Sherman (that note was left by a fan, just after his passing last year), Julie Andrews, and Don DaGradi (posthumously, which is why his plaque is a symbol rather than his handprints).

Some of the Legends plaques on display in the plaza. Seen here are Richard Sherman, Robert Sherman (that note was left by a fan, just after his passing last year), Julie Andrews, and Don DaGradi (posthumously, which is why his plaque includes the Legends logo rather than his handprints).

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

Santa Dopey atop the Seven Dwarves building looks over the Legends Plaza (this is where Bog Iger’s office is located).

By this time, the wind had changed and it was time for us to be on our merry way.  As we exited, we were each given a copy of the 50th Anniversary edition Mary Poppins DVD + Digital Copy - and guess what?  We’d like to share a copy with you!  It is the season of giving, afterall.  Use the rafflecopter widget below for instructions on how you can enter to win! Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

a Rafflecopter giveaway

While we were sad to say goodbye to the Studios, it was a wonderful event and certainly one that we won’t soon forget.

Saving Mr. Banks Event at The Walt Disney Studios

For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Chrysty Summers

Growing up in southern California, Disneyland has always been a staple for my family. Today, my husband and I spend most of our free time at the parks, where you can usually find us soaking up the atmosphere of Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. We also love traveling to Walt Disney World as often as we can, especially during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in the Fall! Find me on Twitter @PenelopePeach for live updates from around the parks.