Just ahead of it’s release we were lucky to go on a “Mary Poppins Returns” adventure in London thanks to Disney (and Megabus for the travel). We had a lovely time taking part in Mary Poppins inspired activities and watching the incredible film (spoiler alert: we loved it!). Read on to find out more:
Travelling to London
Living in South West Wales it’s a fair way for us to get to London, which is over 250 miles away. I don’t like to drive to central London due to the congestion charges, parking and busy traffic. Travelling to London by train takes us over 5 hours and costs at least £90 each for a saver return (but we often pay more). If we travel by train then we have to also book a hotel for an overnight stay due to the train times.
Thankfully when I started travelling to London for work events seven years ago, I discovered Megabus. It’s the most convenient way for us to get to London and affordable even when we travel as family of six. We can travel from Pembroke Dock to London for as little as £7.31 per person each way. They don’t offer a child rate but this still works out the best price for us.
The journey takes approximately six hours and twenty five minutes but as the coach leaves Pembroke Dock at 1.30 am we can sleep through our journey and wake up in London! This makes it feel like no time at all. We get on the bus, put our screens and distractions away, snuggle in a blanket, close our eyes and go to sleep. On the way home, the bus leaves London at 5pm and as it was already dark we could sleep on the way home too. During the summer, lighter months I enjoy reading or watching the world (well the M4) go by! The coach arrives back in Pembroke Dock at just after midnight and then we go home to bed to catch up on our sleep.
We take the coach to London a few times a year and have never had any problems. In other areas there are more routes to choose from. I’d love to travel overseas using Megabus. As we were only on a day visit we travelled light but all passengers are allowed up to a “large suitcase” to store in the hold and a small bag to keep by your seat. We always pack a bottle of water for travelling and also a light breakfast to have when we wake up- mini orange juices and cereal bars or croissants and fruit. You’ll be pleased to hear that there are facilities, such as Wifi, plugs and a toilet onboard. If you’re travelling to London also remember to keep 30p change if you want to use the facilities at Victoria Coach Station.
We arrived in London safely. The kids wanted to travel by Tube so we headed to Victoria Tube Station and made our way to Leicester Square.
Mary Poppins Returns Fun
Then it was time for the screening. As we walked into Cineworld the stairs were animated making it look like a magical garden. The cinema was decorated beautifully with Mary Poppins cut outs and cherry blossom trees. It was so exciting!
Izzy sat down and made a Mary Poppins Returns snow globe, while Rebecca had her nails done!
Next the girls all had Mary Poppins glitter tattoos.
There was also face painting available.
After the activities, it was time to sit down and watch the film.
Mary Poppins Returns
I’ve always loved Mary Poppins, both the film the books and Mary Poppins Live. It’s such a timeless classic, I feel as if it was a freshly released film when I was young but it was actually my mum’s generation who got to see “Mary Poppins” as a new cinema release in 1964. She still remembers the day and what a special treat it was. I’m so glad that Mary Poppins Return is a continuation rather than a remake of our beloved original.
As Mary Poppins Returns opened to Lin Manuel (creator of Hamilton) singing “(Underneath) the Lovely London Sky” to sumptuous views of a vintage London (look out for the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral) , it was a pure joy from start to finish. I’m a bit late to review the film which has already topped the UK and Irish Box Office so I’ll instead leave you with five thoughts on the film:
In Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place,” “The Girl on the Train”) stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “Moana”) plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.
Mary Poppins Returns is directed by Rob Marshall (“Into the Woods,” “Chicago”). The screenplay is by David Magee (“Life of Pi”) and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca (“Into the Woods”) based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a. and Marc Platt, p.g.a. (“La La Land”) with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer. The music score is by Marc Shaiman (“Hairspray”) and the film features all new original songs with music by Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman (“Smash”) and Shaiman. The film also stars Ben Whishaw (“Spectre”) as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer (“Hugo”) as Jane Banks; Julie Walters (“Harry Potter” films) as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and introducing Joel Dawson as the Banks’ children, with Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes, Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.
Five Things About Mary Poppins Returns
1. Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins! I was worried as Julie Andrews is my Mary Poppins but as soon as Blunt came onto screen (as Georgie squeals, “I was flying the kite and it got caught on a nanny!”) there is no doubt that Emily Blunt is everyone’s favourite magical nanny of today. She plays the eccentric “dry” side of Poppins extremely well and her character is based more on the original PL Travers books than on the first film. I love her reply when she’s asked to “Sing for us, Mary Poppins“, “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly… D-flat major!“
2. The music is spit spot! I enjoyed the music while watching the film, especially “Can You Imagine That?“, “A Cover is Not a Book” and “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” but worried that they weren’t strong enough to stand alone as songs outside of the film as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious“, “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” have certainly managed to do. However my worries were unfounded. Once out from the film we found ourselves spontaneously breaking out into the wonderful soundtrack. We had already downloaded it before watching the film and it’s definitely one of our current family favourites. The girl’s love making up absurd scenarios and following with “Can you imagine that?” It really makes me laugh. Mary Poppins Returns is great for inspiring imaginations.
3. The whole film is a visual delight. I love Edwardian London and there is also an incredible animated musical sequence just like in the original. I love how even their costumes have been designed to look as if they have been drawn by the animators too. It’s practically perfect!
4. Disney have managed to make a fresh original film but with just the right amount of nostalgia and winks to the original Mary Poppins. We heard spoonfuls of the original soundtrack mixed cleverly with the new. As Michael searches in the attic and comes across old toys they feel as familiar to us, the audience as if we are in our own attics from childhood. Dick Van Dyke returns as Mr Dawes Junior (previously he played Mr Dawes in addition to the well loved Bert). Watch carefully when the “elegant lady” stops and asks Jane and Jack for directions as that is another nostalgic cameo. I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes when I realised the significance of the “tuppence” that was invested “wisely in the bank” during the original film and you will too.
5. My favourite thing about Mary Poppins Returns is that most of the magic found in the film is real. In these difficult times we needed this movie. It’s realistic, truthful and dark with singing and dancing and gloriously happy (and silly) moments too. “The Place Where the Lost Things Go” is a song to help us all in times of grief, “”Gone but not forgotten” is the perfect phrase.” Many times in the movie Mary Poppins could use her magic to make things easier (such as flying up to Big Ben) but she lets people do it their way because they can. Michael actually had the answer to the biggest practical problem in the film all along. But the real magic, just like in Mary Poppins (original), is to remind the family to spend time with each other, to enjoy each other and love one another, as displayed first by Mr and Mrs Banks flying a kite with their children and now by Jane and Jack and Michael and the Children in the balloon scene (with the Balloon woman played by Angela Lansbury)- “There’s nowhere to go but up!” It definitely reminded me to make the most of the little moments with my own children. Mary Poppins Returns is a new classic that will be watched many time by a new generation of children (and adults!)- Mary Poppins it was wonderful to see you (again)!
A Tour of London
After watching Mary Poppins Returns you may be tempted to visit the sights of London (and the film) for yourself from Big Ben to St Paul’s Cathedral. We were so lucky to be offered the chance to go on a London Bus Tour after the film. Unfortunately, we couldn’t manage to make it in time so we’re now planning this for our next day trip to London. The Megabus London sightseeing bus allows you to see up to fifty of the capital’s most famous sights from just £1 (plus a booking fee).
The open top double-decker buses run in central London every day of the week, every hour between 10:00 and 17:00 and start and end from three locations:
- The London Eye
- Tower of London
- Park Lane
I’ll share a post as soon as I’ve had my own tour of London!
Win a Copy of Mary Poppins: The Original Story
I’m so excited that to celebrate the release of Mary Poppins Returns, the original story books have been re-released. For a chance to win a copy of Mary Poppins: The Original Story please enter the Rafflecopter below (remember to read the terms and conditions first):
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Thanks to Disney for inviting us to the screening of Mary Poppins Returns and to Megabus for providing our transport to and from the event.
Many thanks to the following Competition Promoters:
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