If you are a fan of Disney history, you can’t miss the chance to visit The Walt Disney Family Museum. The museum takes you through the history of Walt’s life, from his childhood to his Hollywood success. The museum operates as a non-profit and is independent from The Walt Disney Company.
San Francisco’s Presidio
The museum was created by Walt’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller. It is located in the beautiful Presidio area of San Francisco, very close to the Lucasfilms Headquarters. This site was chosen as Diane lived in San Francisco and wanted to oversee the development.
The building housing the museum is an old military barrack, which was extensively renovated. The grounds of the Presidio are beautiful, and offer great views of the Golden Gate Bridge
As you enter the lobby, you’ll see a display featuring some of the many awards that Walt Disney had won over the years. These include Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars.
The highlight of the Awards display is a special Oscar award presented to Walt Disney to celebrate the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It features a full size Oscar Statue, with 7 miniature statues on the same base. It was presented to Walt Disney by Shirley Temple in 1939.
The museum starts with Walt’s childhood in Missouri. It then follows his moves to Los Angeles, and starts his animation company. The museum continues to follow the development of The Walt Disney Company and the eventual creation of Disneyland.
Some of the exhibits feature furniture from Walt’s home, some early animation and film technology. There are also a variety of items about the Walt Disney Studios and some items from Disneyland.
It’s no secret that Walt Disney loved trains. He even had his own miniature train from his Hollywood estate. He called it the Carolwood Express, and it’s on display at the museum.
The Disneyland Model
Considered the highlight of the museum, your visit concludes with a look at the model of Disneyland. This incredibly detailed model shows the layout of the Disneyland park.
The Walt Disney Family Museum is very well done, with lots of interesting displays and exhibits. Unfortunately when I visited, I only had an hour, so I had to skim through most of the museum. If you go, I’d suggest planning at least 2-3 hours to really enjoy everything. You’ll also want to spend some time exploring the beautiful Presidio area.