The email came a few weeks ago…. I was invited to back to Los Angeles for another Disney press junket. This one would be for the Mary Poppins Returns movie. But this would not be like most of my other press junkets, for this one I would get another trip down the red carpet. All Disney press junkets are special, but there’s just something about being able to have a red carpet experience that adds an extra level of awesome.
My first Disney red carpet experience was just over a year ago with the release of Disney Pixar Coco. (You can read about it here.) It was an amazing experience. I was awestruck with everything I saw and experienced. The marigolds showered across the carpet, the mariachi dancers dancing all around us, getting to pose with the guitar from the movie, all left an impression on me that I won’t soon forget. Yet, there were a few elements that made the night not as perfect as it could have been. I had a problem with the zipper on my dress. I was still in a knee brace from an injury. It all made me more nervous than I wanted to be. And I didn’t get all the pictures I wanted. I was a newbie to the red carpet and perhaps it showed. I didn’t know everything I should have, but I did know that I wanted to do it again.
My opportunity for a red carpet redo came with this invitation to the red carpet premiere of Mary Poppins Returns. When I read that invitation from Disney publicist, Marshall Weinbaum I was overjoyed. I could not wait!
I immediately knew that the key to my enjoying this Mary Poppins Returns red carpet experience was up to me. I put in the preparations that would help me avoid the anxiety I had last time. The exercise I have been doing freed me up from that knee brace. I bought a beautiful lacy red dress without a zipper. I booked an appointment with Glam Squad to have them do my hair and makeup. All that was left was to head out to LA.
The first night of our Disney Mary Poppins Returns press junket included a screening of Mary Poppins Returns followed by a question and answer session with the cast led by James Corden. The red carpet premiere would come the following night. After a day of interviewing the cast and talent from Mary Poppins Returns (those interview details will be available soon.) We all headed back to our hotel rooms. We had just over an hour to get ready for our red carpet experiences.
I quickly washed by hair in the hotel sink, got my dress on, and awaited the arrival of the Glam Squad. I knew it would be expensive, but I also knew the difference a professional stylist and makeup artist could make. I treated myself and I am so glad I did. Left to myself I likely would have multitasked while getting ready and might have ended up feeling frazzled. I couldn’t do that with Glam Squad. I had to stay seated and be pampered. A stylist worked on my hair and a makeup artist applied make up. It was fantastic. They were done in less than an hour and I felt beautiful and ready to go. I did take a few hotel room selfies before heading down to meet the others.
We arrived to the Dolby Theatre in preparation for the red carpet. The weather was rainy and gloomy but it couldn’t damper our excitement. Thankfully, our path to the red carpet and the red carpet was protected by tents.
Once we moved past security and check in, we were able to truly see how the Mary Poppins Returns red carpet had been laid out. It was like a scene from the movie. Along the red carpet it looked like Cherry Tree Lane, where the Banks family lives. There was a balloon lady, lamplighters, cherry blossom trees, benches, and all kinds of movie posters beckoning us to stop and pose for pictures. As a non-celebrity the red carpet walk is a delicate balance of walking fast enough to keep security happy and as slow as you can so that you can possibly catch a glimpse of the celebrities.
I stopped for several pictures, you can see more of them here. On my walk from the beginning of the red carpet to the top of the steps of the Dolby Theatre I had several moments of ‘Who is that?’, ‘He looks famous.’
I don’t always recognize celebrities at first glance. I totally missed seeing Sean Giambrone who plays Adam on The Goldbergs. Matt Damon got a few steps by me before I realized I should take a photo.
I did a little better getting a picture of comedian, Caroline Rhea. Iain Armitage from Young Sheldon was one star I recognized right away. I was hoping with his youth that he’d be willing to pose for a picture. He graciously agreed.
When you enter The Dolby Theatre for premieres pictures are not allowed. Each of us has to have our phones locked in a case. I can’t tell you the agony of seeing stars all around you but you can’t take their pictures because your phone is locked up. Right behind me was Tarik Frimpong who plays Angus. A row behind him was Joel Dawson who plays Georgie Banks. At one point Dick Van Dyke walked in to a standing ovation and then by us close enough that one of my fellow bloggers was able to shake his hands. Other stars came and passed in front of us before we were all settled in to watch Mary Poppins Returns.
Together, we watched Mary Poppins Returns. After each musical number a roar of applause rose among the audience. Each time getting louder than the previous one. In the end, we all rose to our feet in appreciation of Mary Poppins Returns. The movie has all the things we love about Mary Poppins with a new storyline and 27 new songs that we’ll all be singing along to.
After the Mary Poppins Returns movie world premiere, we headed upstairs to the premiere party. What a fabulous way to cap off a night. The ballroom reminded me of the ending scene of the street fair in Mary Poppins Returns. There were jugglers, balloon artists, carnival games, arts and crafts, movies, a band, and displays. We walked the room with wonder and excitement. Our eyes bounced between taking in the attractions to looking for celebrities.
I saw several Mary Poppins Returns costumes, designed by Sandy Powell, on display. Each one represented a different scene. All were magnificent upclose.
I passed and spoke with a few stars like Rob Marshall, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and John Stamos. I wasn’t courageous enough to ask for their pictures. Maybe next time. Some of my blogger friends were braver than I. You can see their pictures on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #MaryPoppinsReturnsEvent. I did catch a brief picture with Emily Mortimer who plays Jane Banks. She recognized me from our interviews. So while security tried to move her along, she took a moment to pause for a picture. I definitely appreciated that.
The rest of the night, I took it all in. I snapped pictures, took some brief videos, and just enjoyed the red carpet experience with the friends I got to share it with. It was ‘practically perfect in every way.’
Keep following along. More stories from my Mary Poppins Returns experience are coming.
For the latest details on Mary Poppins Returns
- Visit the Mary Poppins Returns website movies.disney.com/mary-poppins-returns
- Like Mary Poppins Returns on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marypoppinsreturns
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