If you want some Disney in your life, there are plenty of places to go. After all, the Walt Disney Company has theme parks in Florida, California, Japan, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Disney Store can be found in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Europe, China and Japan. The Walt Disney Family Museum is in San Francisco and Disney on Ice might be skating to your town soon. But you have to go to Australia to see this one-of-a-kind nod to a beloved Disney character.
“Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers was born in the town of Maryborough, a city located in Queensland, which is a state in northeastern Australia. Although Travers emigrated to England in 1924, the residents of Maryborough never forgot their hometown girl who made history with her series of books that eventually became the Disney feature movie that starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. So to honor her and her character that was practically perfect in every way, the Mary Poppins Festival began in 1999 to celebrate the author’s 100th birthday and has been an annual event ever since. As per their website, the Festival, “…presents a 10 day program of storytelling for all ages through all art forms.” There is visual and performance art, Mary Poppins cosplay & costumes, kite making and flying, and many other forms of creativity to keep any Mary Poppins fan happy for the full 10 days in late June to early July.
In conjunction with the Mary Poppins Festival, Maryborough’s city council pulled out all the stops and installed Mary Poppins themed pedestrian lights in front of Travers’ birthplace, with plans to add others throughout the town. As per the Fraser Coast Regional Council:
Mary Poppins will replace the traditional stickman image on pedestrian crossing lights at five intersections in Maryborough.The move will reinforce the link between the city and Mary Poppins Author PL Travers, the Mary Poppins statue and the annual Mary Poppins festival.The intersections to be targeted are Kent and Richmond streets; Kent and Bazaar streets; Kent and Adelaide streets; Ellena and Adelaide streets and Ellena and Lennox streets, which are part of the Maryborough Story Trail.Two of the lanterns will be replaced this year and the rest will be replaced gradually as part of future intersection upgrades.
“Melbourne might have its female silhouettes on their pedestrian lights, but this is the first time someone has used the lights to pay homage to Mary Poppins and PL Travers,” Maryborough councillor Paul Truscott said via the Regional Council website.
The new lights are being installed just in time for 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns, which will star Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke, Emily Mortimer and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others. The 53 years between this and the original Mary Poppins movie in 1964 is one of the longest gaps between sequels in movie history.
The Mary Poppins lights are really adorable – when it’s red/”Don’t Walk,” her umbrella is down by her side and when it’s green/”Walk”, it’s up and open, like she’s ready to fly! Click here to check it out!
So now I want to go to Australia and check this all out – the Mary Poppins Festival, the new crosswalk signs, everything! Who’s with me? 🙂
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