Saving Mr. Banks is a drama film released by Walt Disney Pictures in 2013. The biopic tells the story of P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins. The story is split between her childhood and the process of adapting her novel into the iconic movie.
Most of the filming took place in the Los Angeles area. The scenes set in Australia were originally scheduled to be filmed there, but plans changed and they were also filmed at locations around LA as well.
The movie opens with a scene of P.L. Travers as a young child, spending time with her father in a garden. This was filmed at the Rose Garden at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.
The Goff Family is seen having to move from their nice house to a smaller house in the country. The post Victorian house they leave is the Hale House at the Heritage Square Museum. The museum is a collection of several historic homes and buildings from the late 1800s. I stopped by before the museum had opened, but was able to get some pictures through the front gates.
Scenes of the town of Maryborough were filmed at Universal Studios. They used a portion of Courthouse Square, which is mostly known as the location of the Clock Tower from Back To The Future. While the Clock Tower didn’t appear in Saving Mr. Banks, the cinema that was showing Jaws 19 in Back To The Future 2 did appear.
We get a brief glimpse of a train station as the Goff family begins their travels to their new home. This was also filmed at the Los Angeles Arboretum, the location of the old Santa Anita Depot. This train station was built in 1890, and then moved to the Arboretum in 1970.
Beverly Hills Hotel
When the Disney Company convinces P.L. Travers to let them adapt Mary Poppins into a movie, they bring her to Los Angeles to be part of the process. They put her up in a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. We see a clip of the hotel sign as an establishing shot, but the hotel interiors were actually filmed at Pasadena’s Langham Huntington Hotel.
The Goff family moves to the Australian countryside near Allora, Queensland. The scenes for this setting were filmed at Big Sky Ranch, in Simi Valley. The Ranch isn’t open to the public. Hopefully one day I will visit and have some pictures to share.
Walt Disney Studios
The film gives us a good look at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, as we see the development of Mary Poppins. While the studio interiors and Walt Disney’s office were created on a soundstage, we do see some of the exteriors of the actually studios.
Shaun from AllAboutLosAngeles was kind enough to share some photos from the studios during filming, as well as the recreated set of Walt Disney’s office.
In a flashback, we see Traver’s father working at Belhatchett Bank in Australia. The production made use of Universal Studio’s Western set.
In a poignant moment in the film, we see Walt Disney personally giving Travers a tour of Disneyland. The first Disney park was personally designed by Walt and opened in 1955. In order to create these scenes, Disneyland had portions closed to the public, and the set designers redressed Main Street USA to look like it did in the 60s. They also used the front gates, Sleeping Beauty Castle and King Arthur’s Carousel, as these still appear as they did decades ago.
We see Travers arriving at LAX Airport. There scenes were filmed at the much smaller Ontario Airport. The futuristic looking Theme Building at LAX was digitally added in the background.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater
Saving Mr. Banks concludes with the red carpet premiere of Mary Poppins. The event took place at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and the theater was used to recreate the same premiere. We see Walt and Lillian Disney arriving, followed by P.L. Travers. They are interviewed next to Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, before going in to see the screening of the movie.
The Chinese Theater is perhaps the most recognizable building along Hollywood Blvd. Following the success of Grauman’s Egyptian Theater, the Chinese Theater opened in 1927. It soon surpassed the Egyptian as a favourite of movie-makers, and has been home to countless red carpet premieres over the years. It has also hosted 3 Academy Awards ceremonies. The theater still operates today, as a state-of-the-art IMAX cinema. If you visit Hollywood, I definitely recommend trying to see a movie here. Make sure you also check out the famous hand and footprints out front, including the star of Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews.