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The Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum: San Francisco, California

The Walt Disney Family Museum is a non profit museum that walks you through the life of Walt Disney through interactive galleries narrated by the one and the only Walt Disney himself.⁣

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In this museum you will discover various different rooms. Each room is a different Gallery, but they are all connected and flow easily from one to the next.  There are a total of 10 galleries; in this blog post I will take you on a tour of what I experienced and found most interesting about each Gallery room.  Depending on your interest and speed you can definitely visit all of the galleries in 1-2 hours.

My Personal Overview of the Galleries

Gallery 1: (on main level starting directly behind the ticket booth)

A room full of the early beginnings of Walt Disney and his family before Mickey Mouse.  Learning all about the early life of Walt Disney was fascinating. Several parts in this room you pick up a phone and hear the stories narrated by Walt himself.  Did you know he was eager to join the War but was too young, so changed his birth year so he could be in the Armed Forces?

Did you know Walt Disney was only 20 years old when he had his first animation studio? It was called Laugh-O-Gram Films. Sadly it was unsuccessful but Walt took it in stride as a learning experience.

Gallery 2: (take elevator up a floor)

You learn that in 1923 Walt landed a contract with a series he created called the Alice Comedies. The Alice Comedies was about a real girl living in a cartoon world. During this time, Walt and his brother Roy Disney created a new company called Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio and they moved out west to Hollywood!

I admit I don't know a whole bunch about Oswald the Rabbit but in this gallery there was some posters and sketches to look at.  You also learn how important storyboards are to creating a scene by scene to tell the story.

"It All Started with a Mouse" yep that is right Mickey Mouse.  You will see a large collection of Mickey Mouse memorabilia as well as sketches, character development and storyboards.  I love Mickey Mouse and found this part of the gallery fascinating.

Gallery 3: 

I found this gallery fascinating as it is all about character development.  You will see videos of how they sketched out some characters and how they determine what colors to use.  There is a huge wall full of bottles of various shades, hues and combined mixes of color.

Gallery 4: 

This room was all about experiencing firsthand how animation works.  You will look into a little screen, turn a handle and see each frame come to life from sketched to a cartoon.

Galleries 5-7: 

The next several Gallery rooms you will discover how sound is added to animation. You will learn about how the animators created Snow White animal characters development by watching live animals.  There is also a display of the tools that were used. Honestly, while it was nice to learn about this it didn't fully capture my attention and I skipped quickly through this area.

Gallery 8:  

Heading towards Gallery 8 is a long hallway with views of the outside Golden Gate bridge.  At the end of this hallway is a bench.  If you know anything about Walt Disney you will know he loved benches because that is where he got the idea to build Disneyland.

Gallery 9: (has a spiral ramp leading down to main level)

My personal favorite is Gallery 9.  This is all about Walt turning his dream of Disneyland into reality.  You will learn about Walt Disney's fascination with trains and see his very own scale train on display as well as videos of him engineering it.

As you continue on down the spiral ramp, you will discover the most breathtaking full sized scale model of Disneyland.  Obviously it isn't going to have Star Wars Galaxy's Edge or new things added over the years but this is the Original Disneyland Model.  I could sit there all day and imagine myself walking down Main Street USA looking towards Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Or even remembering years ago what it was like to ride the People Mover.  

You will continue around this area learning about the different attractions of Disneyland.  There is also a brief introduction on Audio Animatronic with Jose the parrot from the Tiki Room.  You have the opportunity to interact and control Jose.  This is such an eye opening interactive experience, I left with a new appreciation of all the hard work that goes into the animatronic characters I see at Disneyland.

Gallery 10:

Honestly I don't really remember this gallery much but I do know it is about Honoring the life of Walt Disney.

The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in the Presidio
104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129

Hours: 10am - 6pm (last entry is 4:45pm)
Open Day except New Years Day, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day

General Admission Prices:

Adults- $30
Seniors- $25
Student- $20
Youth- $15
Children age 5 & under- FREE

For more information about the Walt Disney Family Museum and the calendar of special events held here please visit: https://www.waltdisney.org