Orlando got a taste of Hollywood glitz and glamor as Walt Disney World brought guests back nearly fifty years for a special red carpet event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.
The Disney Parks Blog hosted a meet-up and special screening of “Saving Mr. Banks,” which tells the story of how (and why) author P.L. Travers was reluctant to sign over “Mary Poppins” rights to Walt Disney.
Ultimately, as we all know, Disney did make that famous film, holding its grand movie premiere at Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre. So after the movie, with a bit of Disney flair, meet-up attendees were delighted to find red carpets rolled out in front of The Great Movie Ride with spotlights swirling and “Mary Poppins” music playing while everyone was invited to meet Mary Poppins herself, along with Bert, penguins, and chimney sweeps.
Video: Mary Poppins and Bert meet at Great Movie Ride for “Saving Mr. Banks” event
Following the film, two long lines quickly formed in front of each set of characters. Mary Poppins and a penguin were located to the left of the ride’s entrance, posing with a “Jolly Holiday” backdrop including a carousel horse. Bert and chimney sweeps were found to the right side, posing in front of a London rooftop background. A penguin and chimney sweep also walked up and down the line, entertaining as guests waited for the final photo ops.
The line to meet Bert finished faster than that of Mary Poppins, so he and the chimney sweeps began to roam the area, interacting with guests and having a jolly good time. He happily obliged when I asked him to pose in the cement footsteps of the original Bert, Dick Van Dyke.
Including the movie screening, preceding trailers, a bit of trivia, and the meet-and-greets, the whole evening lasted around four hours - all offered at no cost for those who signed up via the official Disney Parks Blog. It was my second viewing of “Saving Mr. Banks” and having just watched “Mary Poppins” a couple days ago I enjoyed the new film even more, catching many subtle nods and references to the 50-year-old film throughout. Adding in the “premiere” experience at the end made this meet-up practically perfect in every way.
More photos from the Disney Parks Blog “Saving Mr. Banks” event: