By Josh Quillin, BuyLocalBG.com,
Friday, December 20th, 2013 8:30 AM CST
We had the opportunity to take advantage of a special viewing and tour of Walt Disney Studios and we sent one of our contributors to check it out. Here is his review:
On Monday December 16th 2013 my Wife and I had the privilege to be part of the second time that the Walt Disney Studios has opened it’s theater doors to the public. We visited the Walt Disney Studios is Burbank, CA. to see a pre-screening of the film ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ followed by a self guided walking tour of part of the historic movie lot.
Upon arriving to the studio we were greeting by, and in perfect Disney fashion, many smiling cast members (the term used for Disney employees) who directed us to a special room where we were given our tickets, map of the lot, coupon to receive the 50th anniversary DVD of the film Mary Popping, which the film Saving
Mr. Banks is about, as well as a Saving Mr. Banks wrist band which is a nice souvenir but also served as our, “Access Pass”, on the Walt Disney Studios Lot.
After receiving the proper papers we were allowed to meander through the room and take pictures with some carousel horses that were on display, as well as have our photos taken in front of a large Saving Mr. Banks stand up advertisement, the type you would imagine would be lining the red carpets of the movie premiere. There were also concessions available as well as some extra goodies, for an additional cost of course, which were a glass carpet bag ornament, an official Saving Mr. Banks movie poster, a supercalifragilistic tote bag, and an umbrella matching that of Mary Poppins’.
We made our way to the theater which was a short ways from the building we entered the studio through. The lot was dark, quiet, and remarkably well maintained. Not much has changed on the Walt Disney Studios Lot since it was first built, it still retains all of it’s original charm. All was quiet, until we reached a corner where Mary Poppins and Bert in person were standing. No, not Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, there were actors standing in front of a printed London Street background posing for photos. After getting our photos taken we made our way to the theater.
The theater was fairly simple and modern. No ornate embellishments, gold spires, or large elephant statues, it was a clean modern well maintained studio theater. After finding our seats a MC made some house keeping announcements then told us that the world premiere of “Saving Mr. Banks”, had happened in this very same theater not too long ago. The curtains rose, after a fun little light show, then we were shown some footage of the world premiere. Immediately following the world premiere footage the film began.
The film in itself is nothing you couldn’t find out on the internet, but it’s very charming. Overall it’s well worth your time and money to see it in the theater, especially if you are a Disney fan. Emma Thompson plays the author of, “Mary Poppins”, Mrs. P.L. Travers, and Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney. Both actors did a fantastic job and really carried the film well. Annie Rose Buckley plays a young Mrs. P.L. Travers and Colin Farrell plays her Father. Again both of these actors did a
fantastic job. The film really keeps it’s pacing throughout and the comedic relief moments are well placed. There are many moments that will have more of an impact for seasoned Disney fans, but overall the heart of the movie is a Father Daughter story that’s well told and never loses sight of what it’s really about.
After the film ended, to a great applause, we had about an hour and a half to roam the 11 preset up areas on the lot to explore. We were not given total reign of the lot and were kept on course by some very nice cast members waving large glowing red sticks. There was the animation building with a History of Animation and History of the Company set up another photo opportunity in front of the large Saving Mr. Banks stand up advertisement. But the place most people wanted to tour was Walt’s Office. Now this was not the real office of Walt Disney, that no longer exists and the space the office used to occupy is now home to a production companies office. This area was a tour of the sets used in the film, and it was very interesting. The filmmakers went to great detail to bring this true story to life.
Outside of the Animation Building for Stage A, one of the many stages on the Walt Disney Studios lot that was set up with more props and artwork. Inside Stage A was also a film of actor Jason Schwartzman who played Richard Sherman, sitting along with the real Richard Sherman at a piano where Jason was interviewing Richard about the time he spent working on “Mary Poppins”. Outside of Stage A was a Walt Disney Studios limousine that was actually used during the time of Walt Disney.
There were more photo opportunities with Mary Popping and Bert as well as one with Mickey Mouse. On one corner of the Studio was the, “Hyperion Bungalow”, which is a bungalow that was on the Hyperion lot, the studio before Walt Disney built the current one, and then was moved. Inside the, “Hyperion Bungalow”, were set pieces from Mrs. P.L. Travers home.
Following the look inside the bungalow we made our way to, “Legends Plaza”, which is the plaza in front of the large building being held up by the seven dwarfs from the film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Here there are plaques in honor of many different Disney Legends, as well as two large statues.
After our look around the plaza, we made our way back the way we came, received our DVD, then headed back to the car. All in all it was a wonderful experience, and being able to walk around the place that the events from the film, “Saving Mr. Banks”, actually took place in was amazing. It was literally stepping through the screen and into history.