This is an attraction concept I’ve been working on, on and off for many, many years but have recently gotten more serious about. Essentially it’s a ride through the animated sequence of Mary Poppins. Seems like the perfect project to work on to build my skills because I know its NEVER going to be built lol. And also I’m a pretty big fan of Tony Baxter and I swear by coincidence that happened to be one of the first ideas he ever worked on. As I continue to work on it, I’ll periodically update this page. *Note*: a lot of the work on this page is in the form of doodles that I’ve done while working at my day job, so sorry about that lol. I also apologize that everything at this point is just pics I’ve taken for social media – one day I’ll actually have to to scan in all the artwork.
If you’re interested I’ve written a script for the entire attraction. You can read that here.
When I started designing the ride I didn’t really have any particular location in mind, though as I’ve continued working on it I’ve felt that the best spot would probably be the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot. It would fit perfectly in the space behind the pavilion and on the site of the Millennium Village building.
The queue starts outdoors in the U.K. pavilion at Epcot. At the back of the current pavilion more London buildings can be found and an alley forms between them. Walking through them and past Uncle Albert’s apartment we pass under a bridge of buildings and onto Cherry Tree Lane. The idea is that this is a full recreation of the Cherry Tree Lane set as seen in the original movie. I’ve always loved that set and pictures of it – always wanted to walk right on it and this satisfies that urge.
You’ll walk onto the full set and be in the world. Live entertainment will be present in the form of a one man band in the park. As you walk by the Bank’s house you’ll hear the voices of the domestics quarreling about this and that. Every quarter hour Admiral Boom will launch his cannon to mark the time and cannonballs and smoke go flying overhead as various bits of humorous destruction happen nearby. You’ll finally make your way through the park where you’ll board.
Your method of conveyance on this one-of-a-kind journey is a unique Umbrellamobile. I imagine it’s a contraption that Mary Poppins herself dreamed up and let’s you ride on the wind. The vehicle is designed to sit in a 2-3-4 configuration. This is designed to more effectively accommodate parties of different sizes as well as provide better viewing experiences than sitting directly behind another person. The rows are also terraced for the same reason. To accommodate the unique shape of the vehicle, the vehicles are turned slightly inward as they pull through the station. (Not a problem as the vehicles while suspended still have full ability to rotate and tilt in several degrees of motion which comes in handy later on in the ride).
Attached to the front of the ride vehicle the parrot of Mary Poppins’ umbrella sits proudly. This figurehead is actually animatronic and acts as your host, narrator, and commentator throughout your journey.
The vehicle also has a canopy that is more than what it appears. Asides from aesthetics, it functions as a method to block the view of the track ahead. It also functions as a rear-projection surface for the fox later in the ride, and as a surface for a penguin animatronic (hidden in the upper structure portion of the vehicle) to pop through.
Soon you’re off on your own Jolly Holiday Adventure. Immediately after leaving the station a gust of wind lifts you over the street of Cherry Tree Lane and you’re headed towards the banks house. Just then though the wind changes and you’re blown backwards into the sky. There, you see a gallery of all of Bert’s lovely chalk drawings and your vehicle spins around to see the drawing of the country fair. As you approach it, some puffs of colored smoke and it dematerializes right in front of your eyes and a 3-dimensional version appears that you fly directly through.
From this point on it’s a fairly straight-forward scene by scene reliving of the animated sequence. For more details please read the script. The goal is to create a new experience that isn’t a pure play-by-play, but still largely familiar.
The climax of the ride will be the fox hunt and horse race sequence where animatronic horses and riders ride along side you, and even cross in front of you, eventually leading you into a set of speed tunnels set up to simulate a race track. Of course you win the race with the help of Mary Poppins who nudges the wind to fly you above the horses in front of you and send you towards the finish line.
The ride ends with everyone singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious before a thunderstorm suddenly appears out of nowhere, causes the all the sets around you to wash away and run before returning you to the park. The idea is the ride is a rather gentle one, with just minor rotation and rollicking motions. The thrill comes from the enormous amount of eye-popping visuals and effects. Flowers that literally turn into animated butterflies flying in the actual air around you (not on the walls, in midair), drawings that just disappear, riders seeing their chalk-drawn reflections in an animated pond, apparently free moving animatronics, sets that can look like they wash away. Characters that literally enter the vehicle. Things like that.
Here’s a look at any and all images I’ve made, including a lot of process pics.