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