Only three major-feature movies have been allowed to use California’s Disneyland Resort as a filming location, and it’s interesting to note that Tom Hanks has starred in two of them. ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ is obviously one of those three movies, and the other two are Hanks’ 1996 hit ‘That Thing You Do’ and ’40 Pounds of Trouble’, a comedy starring Tony Curtis that was released on New Year’s Eve 1962.
‘Saving Mr. Banks’ – in which Hanks portrays Walt Disney trying to convince Mary Poppins creator, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), to allow him to bring her story to the silver screen – filmed for two days at Disneyland, and disruption was minimized by shooting before the park’s gates opened to guests. The production did close Fantasyland for an afternoon (to capture the scene on the King Arthur Carousel where Disney/Hanks tells Travers/Thompson that “there is a child in all of us”), and some of that day’s guests were able to watch the “stars on the set” activity from afar.
Except for one day spent filming in London, ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ was filmed entirely in California. Even scenes depicting P.L. Travers’ childhood home were lensed in California, with Simi Valley’s Big Sky Ranch filling in remarkably well for the Australian Outback where she grew up.
Several other popular Los Angeles area attractions – which you can read more about at the California Tourist Guide – were used in the ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ production, including the Heritage Square Museum complex and the former Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood (which will be called TCL Chinese Theatre for at least the next ten years as China’s TCL Corporation purchased its naming rights in early 2013).
‘Saving Mr. Banks’ is currently in wide release at North American theaters and will open in the U.K. on January 17, 2014.