Mary Poppins - Julie Andrews

63 Unknown & Bizarre Mary Poppins Facts

Known as the greatest Disney movie of all time, Mary Poppins and its star-studded cast was an obvious choice that inspired our Mary Poppins movie themed Liverpool hotel room.

Here we have unearthed an astonishing 63 little-known facts about the filming, production and cast of the hit film. See how many you didn’t already know.

P.L Travers

#1 Mary Poppins was a book first published in 1934 written by P.L Travers. Walt Disney struggled to gain film rights to the novel from Travers, it took 20 years for him to convince her.

#2 Travers had full script approval, but not final script approval which resulted in her disappointment in the fabulous finished product.


Credit: Portrait of P. L. Travers, 1924, family and personal photographs collected by P.L. Travers, ca 1891-1980, State Library of New South Wales

#3 P.L Travers spent 10 days at a time in story meetings that she insisted were recorded so that her ideas and suggestions were documented.

#4 Mary Poppins was based on Travers’ Aunt Helen but also, subconsciously moulded around a fairy tale creature from Hindu Mythology called The Mother Goddess.

#5 Travers hated the movie and loathed the dancing penguins . . . how could she?


She was less than impressed with the home the Banks’ lived in and the change in time period. She despised the music and thought Mary Poppins was far too pretty.

In short, Travers strongly disliked Disney’s portrayal of Mary Poppins.

#6 There were a total of 30 songs written by the Sherman brothers, 20 of which were cut by Travers. We wish we could have heard them all if the others are anything to go by.

#7 If Travers had her way Mary Poppins wouldn’t have been a musical at all. The Traver-sty!

#8 It is recorded that Travers wept at the movie premier, said to be distraught about what Disney had done to her novels. She vowed never to work with Disney again.

#9 P.L Travers was not cordially invited to the premiere of the movie in the US, Disney feeling it would be easier to include her in the London premiere. She, of course, informed Disney she would be in the states on the day of the premier and demanded a ticket.


#10 Both Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews had doubts over their roles in Mary Poppins. Van Dyke felt undeserving of the honour, even though he still today says it was his best role. Julie Andrews felt immense pressure to do the much-beloved character of Mary Poppins justice. A worry she proved was unnecessary.

Mary Poppins

#11 Angela Lansbury was among Disney’s first choice for the role of Mary Poppins.

#12 When approached to play Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews was also being considered for Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. She was hesitant to accept Disney’s offer until she was passed over for the other role by Audrey Hepburn.

#13 Julie Andrews was cast as Maria in The Sound of Music based solely on her performance as Mary Poppins.

#14 Julie Andrews was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. In her acceptance speech, Andrews made a point of thanking Jack Warner who had chosen not to cast her in My Fair Lady, leaving her free to be Poppins.

Mary Poppins - Julie Andrews

Credit: commons.wikimedia/User:ValeG94Wik

#15 P.L Travers first contacted Julie Andrews the day after giving birth to her daughter. Travers told Andrews that she was too pretty to play Poppins but had the right nose.

#16 Julie Andrews’ favourite song “Stay Awake” was almost cut from the film by Travers until she pleaded in a letter written to Travers asking for it to remain.


#17 Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent was coached by an Irish man and Van Dyke blames his shocking accent in the movie on this.

#18 Van Dykes accent was voted one of the worst accents in movies, coming in second only to Sean Connery’s “Irish accent” in The Untouchables.

#19 Dick Van Dyke was not a trained dancer despite his flawless moves in both the dancing penguin scene and step in time routines.

#20 Those in charge of animating the dancing penguins were enraged when Van Dyke persistently stepped on the penguins during rehearsals.

Mr Dawes Sr.

#21 It was Van Dyke’s idea to play two roles in the movie, both Bert and Mr Dawes’ Sr, the old bank manager. Disney refused at first but then Van Dyke auditioned after being given an elderly man makeover by the makeup department at Disney.

#22 Van Dyke is referred to as Navckid Keyd in the credits for his part as Mr Dawes, a clever acronym of his name.

Other Cast Members

#23 Katie Nanna, the nanny who leaves the family at the start of the movie, also played the Bride of Frankenstein. Quite fitting really, she always gave us the chills.

#24 The actress who played Mrs Banks wanted to play Mary Poppins but instead agreed to play Mrs Banks with the condition that she had her own song. And what a wonderful song it was.

#25 Ed Wynn, who played Uncle Albert, was given freedom to adlib his part. In the script, Uncle Albert was also supposed to have a Viennese accent which Ed wynn omitted.


#26 The young actor that played Michael, Matthew Garber, was terrified of heights, he was therefore given a 10 cents bonus for every take he was suspended in the “Love to Laugh” number.

#27 Matthew Garber died at a tragically young age of just 21.

#28 The talking parrot on Mary’s umbrella is voiced by David Tomlinson aka. Mr Banks, he also voiced a jockey and a few of the animated animals in the farm yard.

Mr Banks

Credit: Wiki commons Trailer screenshot 1964


#30 Walt Disney’s daughters brought the idea of making Mary Poppins the film.

#31 “Spoon full of Sugar” was inspired by the polio vaccination being given at schools in a cube of sugar.

#32 There is a deeper meaning to the magical musical Mary Poppins. The mending of a broken family which is symbolised by the kite at the end of the film.

The Disney Way

#33 Walt remained absent from many of the meetings Travers was present in, their relationship grew frostier throughout production.

#34 Julie Andrews’ husband designed the costumes for Mary Poppins, a position that was given to entice Julie Andrews into the role.

#35 Apparently, Van Dyke paid to play the character Dawes after agreeing to a stipulation from Disney that Van Dyke donate $4000 to a charity Disney was involved in.

Walt Disney

Credit: Wiki commons – Boys Scouts of America

#36 After premiere Travers insisted that the dancing penguin’s scene was removed and suggested a number of other small edits. Disney refused them all.

#37 Walt’s favourite song from the movie was “feed the birds” he would often ask the tune to be played by the Sherman brothers until he passed away in 1966.

#38 Both the children actually believed Julie Andrews was magic thanks to some clever camera trickery including the bottomless bag scene in which the looks of wonder on the children’s faces were genuine.


#39 The money made from Mary Poppins paid for the Florida swampland Disney World sits on today.

Set, Costume, Music and Script

#40 Most of the nannies in the queue outside the Bank’s home were stuntmen in drag.

#41 Richard and Robert Sherman began writing songs for the movie even before Walt had the rights to the film.

#42 Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious took two weeks to create and was said to be inspired by a game that the Sherman brothers played at summer camp when they were younger.

#43 This fact was disputed in 1949, by songwriters who claimed they created the word Supercalafajaistickespeealadojus. They sued Disney for $12 million and lost due to the nonsense word having been around for decades, despite the Sherman brothers insisting they’d made it up.

#44 Mary Poppins immaculate hair was actually a wig.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

#45 All of the filming was done indoors, in one of four Disney studio soundstages.

#46 The cherry trees on Cherry Tree lane were real but their blossoms were created by artists who hand mounted thousands of twigs and paper blossoms.

#47 Filing the step-in time dance sequence took a huge six weeks. A price you pay for epic dance numbers.


#48 Leaping into the future the very first audio-animatronic was used in “Spoonful of Sugar”. The singing robin that perches upon Mary Poppins finger, was attached to a ring and then cables ran up Mary’s sleeve to the controls

Mary Poppins and the robin

Credit: still from YouTube video FEED THE BIRDS Julie Andrews From Mary Poppins

#49 The robin’s part was actually whistled by Julie Andrews. A woman of so many musical talents.

#50 Mary Poppins cost a whopping $6 million to produce, with Travers earning a measly $100,000. An advert not to mess with Mr Disney if ever there was one.

Post and Pre Production

#51 Mary Poppins first appeared on an early TV show in 1949 event thought the movie wasn’t to premiere until 1964.

#52 The novel, Mary Poppins, was deemed racist at one point by San Francisco’s libraries, causing them to pull the book from the shelves because of racial slurs and stereotypes used when Mary travels around the globe.


#53 The movie Mary Poppins was the highest grossing film of 1965 and continued to play all year in direct competition with The Sound of Music.

#54 Mary Poppins was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won 5.


#55 The movie soundtrack was at number 1 for 14 weeks, beating popular acts of the time including The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley.


#56 The stage production of Mary Poppins was given to Cameron Macintosh in 1990 by Travers, on the proviso that only British writers were used and the plays follow the books, not the movie.

#57 The snow globe from the “feed the birds” scene was missing for years. The founder of the Walt Disney archives finally found the trinket in a janitor’s office at Disney Studios who said he’d seen it in the bin but thought it too pretty to throw away.


#58 Mary Poppins was the first Disney movie to be released on DVD.

#59 There was nearly a Mary Poppins sequel until it was scrapped by new management and encountered casting issues. In 2018, Mary Poppins Released to an eagerly waiting public.

Check out our quick review of the movie here.

#60 Mary Poppins is the only live-action Disney movie to be listed in the National Film Registry.

#61 The movie was Walt Disney’s highest grossing movie ever. Thank God he didn’t just call it suite and retire on a sandy beach somewhere with his jet-ski.


#62 Travers once posed for a Mary Poppins statue that was due to reside in Central Park New York. The design was deemed as offensively bad art by the public and the plan was scrapped.

Mary Poppins Room at Arthouse Hotel

Our marvellous movie themed Liverpool hotel room is practically perfect in every way. Capturing the whimsical magic of Walt Disney’s greatest cinematic creation, with its artistic ceiling mural, fun and quirky decor and luxury facilities.

Mary Poppins movie themed Liverpool hotel room

What’s more, each Arthouse Hotel movie themed Liverpool hotel room is within easy reach of Liverpool’s most popular nightlife venues?

It couldn’t be easier for you and your party to find somewhere to “kick your knees up” and “step in time” in any of Liverpool’s favourite night clubs or bars.

Call to book on 0151 2360166 or email for more information. See if there’s another movie themed Liverpool hotel room at Arthouse Hotel that’s perfectly suited to you.