The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco

I will be the first to say that I had a VERY happy childhood.  There were lots of smiles, laughs, hugs, kisses, time with family and Disney.  Yes, Disney.  Movies, sing-a-longs, Disney theater productions, Disney toys, multiple trips to both Disney World and Disneyland, Disney on Ice, Disney themed birthdays, Minnie Mouse costumes, Disney books, a Disney cruise…Lots and LOTS of Disney.  You could say that many of my favorite childhood (and adulthood) memories involve the wonderful world of Disney.  So, you can imagine my excitement (2 years ago) when I discovered that there was a part of the Disney world I had yet to uncover: the Walt Disney Family Museum.

My childhood friend, Joanna, and I in our Minnie Mouse Outfits…that we wore often

My childhood friend, Joanna, and I in our Minnie Mouse Outfits…that we wore often.  I’m the one with the bowl cut…hmmm

Thanks to Walt Disney’s eldest, and recently deceased, daughter, Diane, this museum is open right here in San Francisco.  I had the opportunity to finally go and see this museum the other day and I had the best time!

Now, I understand that a lot of people would not find this place that interesting, but I think because the world of Disney was so linked with many memories of my childhood, I found it fascinating.

I spent close to three hours at the establishment, reading, interacting, watching, playing and learning.  The museum takes you through Walt Disney’s life, starting with his grandparents and their trip to America.  You learn about his childhood, where he lived, moved to, worked, his time as an ambulance assistant, moving to Hollywood, starting his first animation business, how he met his wife Lily, etc and all the way up to his death.

It wasn’t just the personal memorabilia and stories that were shown in the museum that I found of interest, but also the detail that was given showing every step of his career and that of the Walt Disney enterprise.  They talk about his trials and errors, how he revolutionized animation over the years, when the workers went on strike, the good times, the bad times, the continued education that was given to the animators and how he came to the idea of developing both Disneyland and Disney World.   There are many artifacts to see too, including the very first know drawings of Mickey Mouse, personal and business letters from Walt, awards that Disney has received in clouding the academy awards, many photographs and a miniature model of Disneyland.

If you have the chance and find any interest in Disney, animation or just want to feel like a kid again (while learning a thing or two!) I highly suggest visiting this one of a kind museum.  It had me smiling and feeling happy, only as Disney can, the entire time; I even woke up the next morning and watched, Mary Poppins and it was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as always! :)

P.S  Happy Birthday, Walt Disney, today would have been your day! (December 5th)

The Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Various early Mickey Mouse items

Various early Mickey Mouse items

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The museum also has great views of the Golden Gate Bridge!

The museum also has great views of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Images of Walt, his skis and the 1960 Olympic Torch that was designed by Disney artist, John Hench

Images of Walt, his skis and the 1960 Olympic Torch that was designed by Disney artist, John Hench

Photo strip of Walt and his wife Lily and Walt's hat that he had casted in bronze, shaped into a heart and then gifted it to Lily for her birthday, filled with violets.  A romantic at heart.

Photo strip of Walt and his wife Lily and Walt’s hat that he had casted in bronze, shaped into a heart and then gifted it to Lily for her birthday, filled with violets. A romantic at heart.

Some of the first know drawings of Mickey Mouse

Some of the first know drawings of Mickey Mouse

The dedicated book of Mary Poppins given to Walt by its Author

The dedicated book of Mary Poppins given to Walt by its Author

Minitur model of Disneyland

Minitur model of Disneyland

Minitur model of Disneyland

Minitur model of Disneyland

Minitur model of Disneyland

Minitur model of Disneyland

Original Model of the castle at Fantasyland

Original Model of the castle at Fantasyland

Sketches of Cinerella

Sketches of Cinerella

A recreated setup of an animators desk in the early stages of Disney Studios

A recreated setup of an animators desk in the early stages of Disney Studios

Every animated character had 3D models made up for the animators so that every sketch was consistent

Every animated character had 3D models made up for the animators so that every sketch was consistent

A Character Model Sketch profile.

A Character Model Sketch profile.

Poster from Snow White: The first feature animated film

Poster from Snow White: The first feature animated film

All the paints for the animations were made and mixed by hand at the studio.  These are some of the actual paints from years ago.

All the paints for the animations were made and mixed by hand at the studio. These are some of the actual paints from years ago.


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