Legendary Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter transformed his backyard into an enchanted ‘Mary Poppins’ wonderland
He got the idea while watching “Mary Poppins Returns” in his den.
>>What happens when a legendary Disney designer sits down to watch “Mary Poppins Returns” on his TV? Well, if you’re Tony Baxter, it shakes up your whole backyard.
Baxter, who built his Anaheim Hills home 28 years ago, had been thinking for a while about how to attract house guests down into his spacious backyard. People always complimented him on the yard’s beauty, but rarely ventured into it, preferring to stay on the porch.
“When I built this house, I thought it would get used a lot more, but I don’t have a pool,” Baxter said. “It wasn’t conducive to partying. There were no big places to gather.”
Baxter’s Tudor-style house looks like it could be set down inside Disneyland’s Fantasyland, and in fact, he hired Disney artisans to create effects in it, such as sculpting fake brick wall decor and old English-style wooden trim. The second story revolves around a wooden gallery and includes details such as a turret and the Epcot dragon Figment on its cupola. Even the front door has gothic brass accents that he picked up while designing Disneyland Paris.
He was never completely satisfied with the backyard, though. He didn’t want to build a pool that would have to be maintained, yet he wanted a space more conducive to entertaining.
He went to the premiere of “Mary Poppins Returns,” though nothing clicked at the time. Then, last November, he sat in his TV room watching “Mary Poppins Returns” on Blu-Ray, and he saw the musical number that would change his yard forever.
“I was watching “Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” this musical number in an abandoned park that comes to life, and I thought, “This is the neatest thing I’ve ever seen.” It created this very appealing and magical space.”
In Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” the magical nanny again helps the Banks family, along with her friend Jack whose job is to light gas street lamps in London. There’s a memorable scene in the movie where they slide down a pole, walk through (an empty) sewer tunnel and into a darkened park, which becomes lit with Victorian gas lamps and torches from singing, dancing street lamplighters.<<
More of the article and some nice photos at the link, available at most Southern California News Group websites.