I have always loved the world of Disney. I remember fondly when my mother went above and beyond decorating my new bedroom (we had just moved across the country and I was recovering from childhood asthma and a few months living in a hotel while we searched for a house) with Minnie Mouse bedding and wall stickers. It brought me such delight to be greeted by Minnie Mouse – something I still cherish in my late 20’s. I still have my Lion King personal diary where I scrawled my super-secret thoughts of the early 90s and I spent entirely too much time trying to beat the game on my Sega Genesis.
My first visit to Disney World was at the age of 6, a seemingly common time for Midwestern families to make the pilgrimage to Orlando, Florida for the theme park vacation. I remember being blown away by both Disney World and Universal Studios (so literally that I peed my pants on the King Kong ride; I’m not entirely upset by its disappearance.) I remember walking around Toontown and seeing Minnie Mouse’s house and mailbox – I was in heaven.
Disney World has always been magical for me and when I moved to Florida in 2006, it became a constant in my life. In the last seven years, I have seen parades, nommed Dole Whip, danced the night way, and enjoyed many drinks around the world at Disney. When my husband and I want something to do, we go to Disney World. Even after his working behind the scenes and our participation in the Star Wars parades, Disney still holds a sort of magic for me. It’s where I try to spend every Christmas season; it’s where we got engaged; and it’s where we have rung in five of the last eight New Year’s Eves.
So when the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks reached me, I knew I had to go see it. First of all, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are two of my absolute favorite actors. Secondly, it was about Mary Poppins, one of Disney’s best works that rarely gets the attention it deserves today.
[No spoilers!] The movie itself is beautiful. Tom Hanks does an outstanding job at portraying Walt Disney; I had a hard time believing he was anyone else. Emma Thompson, per usual, plays an amazingly complex character who is both the epitome of sass and English grumpy. Spoiler: I love her. She takes milk before her tea and says “no” more than I could count. It’s hard to talk about the film without spoiling every tidbit, but there is a major “plot twist” if you will and an incredibly strong supporting cast. I found myself tapping toes and singing along to my favorite Mary Poppins tunes.
But throughout the film, the magic of Disney is evident. The fluid evolution from start to finish is something I have seen before – around the parks, through the eyes of children, and in my own heart whenever I meet a Disney character. No matter what, Disney will always be that special place, full of wonder and truly, the Most Magical Place on Earth. I highly recommend seeing the film and keeping a spare tissue nearby for those tears you totally won’t admit to shedding.