During my trip to San Francisco last week, I had the opportunity to go on a tour of The Walt Disney Family Museum. The ladies at the museum suggest 1.5 hours to walk through the all the galleries, and while I do agree with them, you could easily spend much more time. There is a lot of history to read about and take in.
The Walt Disney Family Museum
Throughout the year The Walt Disney Family Museum opens an area for traveling exhibits. From now until September 3, 2018, the Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane exhibit is on display.
Traveler Tip: The museum offers a bag/coat check area near the traveling exhibit downstairs – free of charge. There is also a restroom located in this area. This is extremely useful for travelers that may be carrying a heavy bag. I stored my laptop so I could enjoy the museum.
Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane
When I found out that the Glen Keane exhibit was open during our visit, I was so excited. My family is big fans! My oldest daughter loves Beauty and the Beast and my middle daughter loves Ariel and Rapunzel.
Can you imagine being the artist that is given the chance to draw and animate one of Disney’s most popular princesses? Touring this traveling exhibit at The Walt Disney Family Museum was so fascinating. It was our first stop on the tour and I was blown away. There were so many details and interesting facts to read.
My favorite part of the entire museum was seeing all the original sketches of our favorite characters. The creative process is laid out in the notebook. You get to see how the original Beast was drawn and came about.
Tangled is another Disney favorite in our home. You can see how her face changed slightly from the first drawing to the second. She goes from a young, innocent, helpless looking girl to a fierce and strong woman.
Be Inspired by Walt Disney’s History
The Walt Disney Family Museum was started by Walt’s daughter, she was often asked to write a book about her father’s life and legacy so instead she decided to open the museum. Which in my opinion, is MUCH better.
The first room of the museum leads you through the younger years of Walt. You get to see his family tree and read fun facts about his parents. This gives you a glimpse into how the man came to be. You can also see how his creativity started and developed over the years.
Throughout the exhibits, there are audio areas you can listen to bits from old interviews. You can hear Walt and his brother, Roy, discussing plans, their own marriages, and even complain about one another. I highly recommend you take the time to listen. There are so many signs to read in each room that it is a lot to remember. Personally, I retain more audible information when walking through a museum. This is also great for kids!
I loved sitting on this bench. You can read my initial reaction to this bench on my Instagram.
This bench is one of the benches Walt sat on while dreaming and visualizing his future plans for Disneyland. Walt was described as a patient man by his daughter, remembering back to her childhood. He would sit on this bench on Saturday evenings at Griffith Park and watch his daughters ride the carousel over and over.
It was from there he was inspired to make his dreams a reality, to open his own amusement park for families.
Thank you for sharing this seat with me, Walt!
One room of the museum is filled with a small model of the original Disneyland. It was pretty awesome to see and I know my kids would love it. I was able to spot several areas and rides that we have enjoyed as a family and other parts of the model that may have never made it past the planning phase. You could spend quite a bit of time searching the display for familiarity.
It was beyond inspiring to see how Walt Disney went from a boy to a man opening his own company, going bankrupt with his first animated business, not giving up, pushing through and becoming a success. Being able to see his dreams become reality and know that our family has some of our fondest memories thanks to him, is priceless.
As you walk through the galleries you are essentially walking through time. As Walt became more successful and as time went on, technology enhanced. There are several vintage cameras in showcases that were pretty cool to see.
Traveler Tip: Take your time and soak it all in. If there is a crowd, wait until other guests move along to get a good look at each display. There is something to take away from each room you enter.
Who is your favorite Disney animation?
With each character that was developed, they started as sketches and become models. This gave the animators a way to determine size ratio compared to the other parts of the film. Many of those original models are on display in the museum. Pinocchio is another favorite of our family’s.
By 1953 all of Walt’s animations were being filmed in Technicolor. This display was awesome to see. Some of the original jars! It makes me want to draw and paint – if only I was as talented.
The last room of the exhibit leads you through the last years of Walt’s life. It can be emotional, especially when you come upon the artwork of all the crying Mickey Mouse drawings. Each media outlet published their own nod to Walt and the drawings are beautiful.
On his last day, he was planning the layout of Walt Disney World from his hospital bed. So sad he passed at only the age of 65. It is very impressive all he accomplished in his life and how he has now brought so many families together through quality entertainment and fun vacations.
The Walt Disney Family Museum Cafe + Gift Shop
Take time to wander through the gift shop and sit at the cafe. The lunch was yummy and they have options for sit down eating or quick pastries.
Gabby’s 16th birthday was the day after I returned from my trip so I had to purchase her a souvenir. Especially since I saw this Ariel tee. She loved it! The Walt Disney Family Museum gift shop had clothing, books, post cards, toys, and more.
The Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio
San Francisco, CA 94129
Open 10am–6pm daily, except Tuesdays, January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25.
Last entry is 4:45pm
Entry is free for military members and their families!
Full Disclosure: I was given complimentary admission to the museum as part of my trip with Pixar Studios in exchange for sharing my honest opinions.
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