Disney Used Perseverance And Empathy To Create The Movie Mary Poppins

Walt Disney Saving Mr Banks Mary Poppins Small

Disney’s new release “Saving Mr. Banks” gives us a glimpse into Walt’s magic.  The film shows us how Walt Disney used social skills and unwavering perseverance to convince P.L. Travers the author of Mary Poppins to sign over the film rights to her books.

Saving Mr. Banks tells the story of what it took to get the movie Mary Poppins onto the silver screen.  It also shows how the Mary Poppins book series was loosely based on the early years of P.L. Travers life and where the character Mary Poppins really came from. 

We get to see Mr. Disney’s persistence when he and Mrs. Travers first meet in his office.  Mr. Disney was relentless in his efforts to get the movie rights to Mary Poppings, the dialog that follows shows a man with above average persistence and focus on goals.  Walt Disney said “All these years, almost twenty of them.”  “You kept me dangling all this time, but now I got you.”  P.L. Travers replies “Got you indeed.  Mr. Disney if you have dangled, it is at the end of a rope you fashioned for yourself.  I was perfectly clear when you approached me twenty years ago that she wasn’t for sale.  I was clear again when you approached me the following year and every year for the subsequent eighteen years.”  How many people would keep that pursuit alive for 20 years?

The movie also shows how Walt always tried to remain approachable to his staff.  Just before Walt meets Mrs. Travers, Don DaGradi a Disney employee gives Mrs. Travers this advice.  “He can’t stand being called Mr. Disney, were all on a first name basis here.”  Though there we’re other reasons he did not like being called Mr. Disney, being on a first name basis did create a more casual environment which often leads to people speaking more freely, an important key for companies that want to innovate.    

Throughout the movie we see Mr. Disney struggling to understand why Mrs. Travers is so hard to get through to.  In one of the final scenes Mrs. Travers travels back to England without agreeing to give the rights to Mary Poppins to Mr. Disney.  Too her surprise, Walt caught the next flight to England.  This act and what he said to her sealed the deal. 

In the following conversation sequence WD is used for anything that Walt Disney said and PLT is used for anything said by P.L. Travers. 

PLT “You came to change my mind haven’t you, beat me into submission”

WD “No, no, I’ve come because you misjudged me.” 

PLT “How do I misjudge you?” 

WD “You think I built an empire and I want your Mary Poppins as just another brick in my kingdom.”

 PLT “Don’t you?” 

WD “Now if that was all it was, would I have suckered up to a stubborn dame like you for twenty years? I would have saved myself an ulcer.  No, you expected me to disappoint you so you made sure I did.  Well I think life disappoints you Mrs. Travers, I think it’s done that a lot and I think Mary Poppins is the only one in your life who hasn’t.” 

Walt goes on talking about his father and how it was growing up with him.     He then tells Mrs. Travers “Let it all go and have a life that isn’t dictated by the past”  “It’s not the children she comes to save, it their father, it’s your father, Travers Goff.  You must of loved and admired him a lot to take his name.  It’s him it is all about isn’t it.”  “Give her to me Mrs. Travers, trust me with your precious Mary Poppins.  I won’t disappoint you.  I swear every time a person walks into a movie house”  “they will see George Banks (Travers Goff) being saved. They will love him and his kids.” “They will rejoice, they will sing.”  “In movie houses around the world, the eyes and hearts of my kids and other kids and mothers and fathers for generations to come, George Banks will be redeemed and all he stands for saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination, because it’s what we story tellers do.  We restore order with imagination; we instill hope again, again and again.  Trust me Mrs. Travers, let me prove it to you, I give you my word.”  In that moment Walt built true rapport, trust and showed her that he had her best interest at heart.  We can never underestimate the power of creating those feelings within people we deal with. 

The movie does a great job sharing strong messages about how our childhood years can shape our lives.  We get to see defining events in both Walt Disney and P.L. Travers childhood.  Walt had to deal with a father who forced him to work before and after school delivering newspapers and the punishments he would receive if he did not stay on schedule.   P.L. Travers experienced the effects of an alcoholic father who continually lost jobs and eventually died at a young age.  You also see her father as a dreamer and whimsical which shaped her style as a writer. 

Saving Mr. Banks gives great examples of the power of persistence, unwavering pursuit of goals and the need to truly understand and be empathic to others needs.

P.L Travers real name was Helen Lyndon Goff.


Click here to get a free MP3 “How to Grow Your Business using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Youtube”


David Domos developed WhyBuyFromYou.com to provide content to help small businesses develop their branding, marketing and sales systems. In the past he held key leadership positions for a fortune 500 company. That company led the market in both sales and brand awareness and David was a significant contributor to its growth. David has been on the Amazon.com best seller list in their Direct Marketing, Communications and Entrepreneurship categories. He is a student of sales, marketing, branding & small business growth, continually focusing on the reasons people buy. Follow him on Twitter @WhyBuyFromYou or visit www.whybuyfromyou.com.

Posted in Empathy, Goals, Movies About Business, Perseverance, Persistence
Practical Branding Do It Yourself Tools and Techniques For Building A Powerful Brand Image By David Domos
David Domos Best Selling Author



Bad Behavior has blocked 215 access attempts in the last 7 days.