I visited the Walt Disney Family Museum while on the #MonstersUEvent press trip. All travel expenses were covered but no compensation was received. All thoughts, opinions, and pictures are my own.
When I say ‘Disney,’ I bet you think of three places: Southern California, Florida….and movie theaters. San Francisco may not be at the top of your list when Disney is mentioned. But did you know that San Francisco is home to the Walt Disney Family Museum?
The Walt Disney Family Museum is a 40,000 square foot Museum that showcases Walt Disney’s successes, disappointments, innovation, achievements and endless optimism. Founded by Walt’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, the Museum, which opened in the Presidio of San Francisco on October 1, 2009, is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a non-profit foundation.
I think these words by Walt’s daughter and co-founder of the Museum, Diane Disney Miller, explain the value of the Walt Disney Family Museum best:
“My father has one of the most well-known names around the world, but as the Disney ‘brand’ has grown, the man has become lost. We are committed to telling the story of Walt Disney’s life, in his own words, and in the words of others who knew him well and worked with him. My father was very open, and in the many conversations and interviews that you will hear in the galleries, you learn the story of his life. It is a wonderful story, and Dad himself loved to tell it. Thanks to the amazing work of many dedicated people, we are fortunate to be able to tell it here using the tools he worked with—art, music, film and technology—to present an honest yet affectionate portrait of this amazing artist and man.”
Above: It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful location for the Walt Disney Family Museum. From one the gallery windows in the back of the building, you can catch this breathtaking view of the Golden Gate Bridge. One of my favorite “spottings” in the museum was a picture of Walt pitching Disneyland…wouldn’t you agree that his presentation was one of the best business pitches in the history of the world?
It’s tough to think of many people, alive or dead, who could fill an entire museum about their personal life and professional accomplishments, but Walt Disney certainly can. I was blown away by all that Walt created during his lifetime, and how his creations, photographs, and memorabilia gave me a glimpse into his life that I had never seen before. I felt like I left he museum knowing Walt Disney better…and unlike many people, the more I learned about him, the more impressed and amazed I was.
From his early days, growing up on a Missouri farm, to his first years in Hollywood, the museum is full of rare pictures into the mind of a creative genius…
The Walt Disney Family Museum features:
- Original drawings that Disney made in his youth
- Drawings and cartoons from Laugh-O-gram Films, Disney’s first company
- The earliest known drawings of Mickey Mouse
- Storyboards, a Disney innovation that maps out timeless film classics
- The technically innovative Multiplane Camera that brought vibrancy and depth to his revolutionary feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- An interactive station that allows visitors to synchronize film and music
- Disney’s 26 individual Academy Awards as well as the unique Snow White Academy Award®, which includes a full-size Oscar® and seven miniature castings
- Gallery 9, an eye-popping 2-story gallery that features the narrow-gauge Lilly Belle train Disney built for his Hollywood home, a 14-foot diameter model of the Disneyland of Walt’s imagination and dozens of video screens that showcase his television programs from the 1950s and beyond
- In addition to the galleries, the Museum contains a 114-seat screening facility, a learning center, a store, and a café.
Throughout the 10 galleries, we were able to see original artwork, including sketches and concept art from the Disney Studios movies produced during Walt’s life. Above, you can see the wall full of original paints that the animators used in cartoons and movies.
One of my favorite features within the museum was the enormous model of Disneyland – Walt’s vision for the park. While Disneyland was never exactly how he envisioned the park in this model, I thought it was interesting that every ride and feature that Walt planned made it in to the park at some point…just not all at the same time.
I adored Walt’s miniature Oscar charm bracelet. Each charm represented an Oscar that he was awarded – that was one full charm bracelet!
Walt Disney was an incredible man, and his legacy lives on in each of us. I highly recommend stopping by the Walt Disney Family Museum next time you’re in San Francisco!
Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum:
Hours: The museum is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays through Mondays. Closed on Tuesdays, and January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25.
Admission: Admission can be purchased at the door, or at www.waltdisney.org. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and $12.00 for children 6 to 17. Admission is free for members and children under 6.
Visit the museum online at www.waltdisney.org.
Disclosure: I visited the Walt Disney Family Museum while on the #MonstersUEvent press trip. All travel expenses were covered but no compensation was received. All thoughts, opinions, and pictures are my own.
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