The emotional weight of the scene featuring the song "Feed the Birds" is based on the fact that it was Walt Disney's personal favorite song. According to the real Sherman Brothers, Walt would call them into his office to play the song when he felt depressed. It got to the point that he would call them in and simply say, "Play it," and they'd know what he wanted. According to Richard M. Sherman, Walt felt that the song was a perfect summation of why he created Walt Disney Pictures in the first place.
Second movie Tom Hanks has done with the word 'Saving' in the title, after Saving Private Ryan (1998).
For the Disneyland sequences, Disney blocked off certain parts of the theme park, including the Sleeping Beauty castle; Main Street, U.S.A.; Fantasyland and the Astro Orbiter attraction from November 6 to 7, 2012. The park's cast members were also hired as extras.
Mrs. Travers says to an exasperated Walt Disney that "Disappointments are to the soul what a thunderstorm is to the air." This line is from German dramatist Friedrich Schiller.
Leigh Anne Tuohy: The real life subject behind director John Lee Hancock's previous film, The Blind Side (2009) cameos as one of the guests inside Disneyland.
At one point while in his office Walt mentions needing to speak with GE. At the time he was developing General Electric's 1964 World's Fair attraction, which would later become known as the "Carousel of Progress". After the World's Fair, the Carousel attraction was moved to Disneyland, where it operated until 1973; in 1975 it reopened in the Disneyworld Tomorrowland area, where (with periodic updates in technology) it still operates today.
The film's opening logo for Disney studios is the style used in the early 1960s. The film marked the first time that a Disney film used its original and superior logo, with the "Walt" and "Pictures" or "Presents" in the logo, since Winnie the Pooh (2011).
Emma Thompson wrote and appeared in the Nanny McPhee films, which were also about a magical nanny.
A map of Florida is visible in Walt's office where the location of what would become Walt Disney World (opened in 1971) is marked.
Tom Hanks was 55 when filming began, making him only 5 years younger than when Walt Disney began work on Mary Poppins (1964).
One major scene in the movie that was not true, "the biggest fictionalized piece", screenwriter Kelly Marcel remarked was Walt Disney visiting P.L. Travers at her London home. In reality, they only talked by phone, but Marcel insisted that everything Disney told Travers about his father "is completely true".
The first dramatic, non-action/adventure film made by Walt Disney Pictures (and not its subsidiaries Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures) to be rated PG-13, as well as the fifth Disney film to be rated PG-13 following Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) (not counting its sequels as they are of its own franchise), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), John Carter (2012), and The Lone Ranger (2013).
Emma Thompson's first live action film project for Walt Disney Pictures, as opposed to Treasure Planet (2002) for Walt Disney Feature Animation (now Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Brave (2012) for Pixar Animation Studios.
Robert M. Sherman's limp was indeed due to getting shot in the leg. It was a war injury to his knee that took place during his service in Europe during World War II, after his unit helped to liberate the Nazis' infamous Dachau concentration camp.
P.L. Travers never forgave Walt Disney for what she saw as vulgar and disrespectful adaptation of her "Mary Poppins" novels. In 1994, thirty years after the release of the film, stage producer Cameron Mackintosh (Cats, Les Misérables, Oliver!, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon) approached Travers about a musical theatre version of her work. The author initially refused, citing the film as a reason why she would never again allow an adaptation of her "Mary Poppins" series. After several meetings, the author relented, though when Mackintosh suggested using the songs from the Disney film in the production, Travers again balked. After much more pleading, Mackintosh convinced Travers to allow a stage production with the songs from the film on the strict proviso that no Americans participate in the development, and further that no one involved with the film version--including original film composers the Sherman Brothers, both of whom were still alive and working at the time--could participate. Mackintosh proceeded with development of the stage adaptation for several years without any involvement from Disney, per Travers' wishes, though after the author's death in 1996, the Walt Disney Company was allowed some degree of creative involvement and went on to co-produce the musical with Mackintosh.
The audiotapes of the working sessions between Travers and the Disney creative team amounted to 39 hours, all of which screenwriter Kelly Marcel and later Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson had access to. Emma Thompson has said she listened to all of them in preparation for her role, and that the experience was "like being poked in the ear with hot forks!".
No one in Hollywood seemed interested in telling Travers' story on the big screen until producer Alison Owen at Ruby Films in England suggested honing in on the Disney subplot. When the project came across the desk of screenwriter Kelly Marcel, she was instructed to focus solely on Travers' connection to the production of Mary Poppins (1964). She included many lines from the Disney film, as well as its songs and a scene set at Disneyland with Walt Disney and Travers riding the carousel together. It was only later that Marcel realized the risk involved in doing that. "I was so naïve when I started writing it," she says, admittedly oblivious that Disney owned the intellectual rights to the material. "Once I finished it, I was like, 'Oh s**t. There is only one studio who can make this film, and they'll probably give us a cease-and-desist order.'" 'Alan Horn', Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, didn't believe any other studio could have made Saving Mr. Banks (2013). "Why would Paramount make a movie about Walt Disney?" he asked. "I think that would be a difficult pitch." It was also a difficult pitch to Disney, which had never made a movie that featured its founder. If it veered too far in one direction, the film could have seemed like a self-promotional infomercial; too far in another, and it could be an embarrassing blow to the brand.
According to an article on the website The Flickcast - All Things Geek, during their Saturday panel, "Working with Walt," renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr began to tear up while speaking about the film. As the web article reads on, "He, and the fellow Disney legends that joined him on stage, were touched by how director John Lee Hancock and screenplay writer Kelly Marcel brought Walt to life again. Little quirks, like Disney clearing his throat to let you know that he was about to enter a room, have added a level of authenticity often lost in films like this."
Mary Poppins (1964) songwriter and composer Richard M. Sherman served as a consultant for the film. In a manner of coincidence, this is similar to P.L. Travers serving as a consultant for Mary Poppins (1964), with each of them working with filmmakers to preserve authenticity to the respective source material.
This was the first theatrical movie with Walt Disney as a lead or supporting character since 1941 in The Reluctant Dragon (1941). Walt Disney plays himself screening the title cartoon with star Robert Benchley.
In the movie Tom Hanks is playing Walt Disney who is his distant cousin.
According to the 40th Anniversary DVD release of Mary Poppins (1964) in 2004, Walt Disney first attempted to purchase the film rights to Mary Poppins from P.L. Travers as early as 1938, but was rebuffed because Travers was disgusted by Hollywood's handling of book-to-film adaptations, and did not believe a film version of her books would do justice to her creation. Another reason for her initial rejection would have been that at that time the Disney studios had not yet produced a live action film. For more than twenty years, Disney made periodic entreaties to Travers to allow him to make a Poppins film. He finally succeeded in 1961, but Travers demanded and got script-approval rights. Planning the film, writing the script and composing the songs took about two years. Travers objected to a number of elements that actually made it into the film. Rather than the Sherman Brothers' original songs, she wanted the soundtrack to feature known standards of the Edwardian period in which the story is set. Travers also objected to the idea of using animation to depict the chalkboard world. Disney overruled her, citing contract stipulations that he had final say on the finished print. Travers refused to allow any other Mary Poppins books to be filmed, even though Walt tried very hard to get her to reconsider.
Tom Hanks said that Disney CEO Robert A. Iger called and personally asked him to portray Walt Disney, especially since the company had not originally developed the script it had acquired, and now wanted to make certain it had someone it could trust to play its iconic large-than-life founder to move ahead with the risky project.
This is the first time Thomas Newman has composed music for a live action film made by The Walt Disney Company, as opposed to subsidiary Disney-Pixar, for which he composed Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL·E (2008).