On Friday, Dec. 13, I attended the first of seven sold-out special screenings of “Saving Mr. Banks” at the Walt Disney Studios, including the unique opportunity to not only see the film on the lot where much of it was filmed, but also enjoy a walk in Walt Disney’s footsteps on a self-guided walking tour.
Watching “Saving Mr. Banks” at the Walt Disney Studios was truly a wonderful experience. My husband and I watched the movie in the Main Theatre and prior to showing the movie, Disney played red carpet premiere moments that took place at the studio just a few days prior, featuring some of the cast and crew. They offered their thoughts and insights on the movie but most interesting was hearing both Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke give their personal thoughts on what it was like to make “Mary Poppins.”
After the movie, we were given the chance to participate in a walking tour of the Walt Disney Studios which was really amazing as we would normally not have access to many of those locations. We saw the buildings that they used in the movie as well as costumes, many props and sets. The Animation building was an included stop along with the actual soundstage where “Mary Poppins” was filmed.
My favorite part was seeing Walt’s Suite from the movie. I particularly enjoyed seeing Tom Hanks’ face superimposed on Walt’s body in some of the pictures on the set.
I was also so lucky to happen to be in Walt’s Suite when Jon Donahue, Tom Hank’s long time stand-in, was there. My husband and I struck up a conversation with him and he shared personal pictures of their shoot during the Disneyland scene. He also showed us a playing card that had Tom Hanks signature and told us Tom Hanks would pass these out to people on set as a nice gesture – just like he does as Walt Disney in the film.
We also had a chance to meet and greet with a few characters: Mickey Mouse, Mary Poppins, and Bert.
The special Walt Disney Studios event was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I was thrilled to be a part of it on it’s first night.
“Saving Mr. Banks” opens wide on December 20, 2013.
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