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Exploring Walt's Legacy: The Walt Disney Family Museum

Looking for a new Disney destination besides the theme parks and cruise ships? We'll stop your search because I've got your next vacation destination: the Walt Disney Family Museum, founded by one of Disney's daughters, Diana D. Miller. This interactive American museum showcases Walt Disney's life and legacy, and it's on my list of "must-dos" for Disney fans!


The Walt Disney Family Museum

The museum is nestled in the historic Presidio of San Francisco, California, at 104 Montgomery Street. Upon arrival, you'll observe several red brick buildings that were once the main barracks for the former U.S. Army military fort. A couple of red signs adorn the building, reading "The Walt Disney Family Museum." The building looks just like the others, preserving the charm of the Presidio.

The Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum

Visitors are greeted by a friendly stand-up picture of Walt Disney when they enter the museum's lobby. Paintings from the Disney family home adorn the walls, providing a cozy feeling. Guests can even view Walt and Lillian Disney's living room chairs, which provide a peek at their furniture style. However, I think the most exciting collection in the room is Disney's Academy Awards display. I had never seen an Academy Award in real life until that day, and there was something special about seeing over 14 of them that struck me as both a surreal and fantastic sight.


The Permanent Gallery at the Walt Disney Museum

The museum features different exhibits and a permanent gallery spread across different levels. I toured the permanent gallery. As guests explore the gallery, they are led by the voices of Walt Disney and the people who worked with him. The first room focuses on Walt's childhood and his early beginnings with art. Immediately in view in the first gallery is a Model T ambulance truck. Walt worked as a chauffeur for the American Red Cross during World War I. The display is a great reminder of Walt's beginnings.


At the entrance of each room, which starts a new chapter in Walt's life, there is a large printed poster with a description of the new period, such as "New Horizons in the 1930s" and "Postwar Production". Each poster is informative and prepares guests for the collection of art and memorabilia they will see.

Griffith Park Bench
Griffith Park Bench

Being in the museum made me feel like a kid in a candy shop because there were so many treasures, such as the multiplane camera. Viewing the large camera definitely puts the technique and technology in perspective when watching movies. One of my favorite parts of the museum was being able to see actual storyboards for cartoons and films, as well as the first sketches of Mickey Mouse. Located at the end of a hallway before one of the last rooms of the gallery sits one of the many park benches from Griffith Park, where Walt Disney spent many hours patiently watching his young daughters ride a carousel. On these benches, Disney imagined the concept of a clean amusement park for families and people of all ages to enjoy.

Sketches from Alice in Wonderland
Sketches from Alice in Wonderland
The Original Mickey Mouse Sketch
The Original Mickey Mouse Sketch

One of the final rooms, which focuses on activities during the 1950-1960s, features a miniature model of Disneyland. Upon observing the model, guests can see additions and features of Disneyland that do not exist in the park today. This just shows that Walt Disney had an ever-changing vision of Disneyland. Walt commented that in the model, "You see things I want to keep adding, keep plussing....Disneyland is a thing that I can keep molding and shaping."

Disneyland Model
Disneyland Model
Disneyland Model
Disneyland Model

The Walt Disney Family Museum is a special place that your entire family will enjoy. As a fan, I left feeling inspired, educated, and happy that Disney has been a part of my life.


Have you visited? I want to hear your thoughts about the museum or questions you may have. Thanks for reading, and have a magical day!

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