Do you love all things Disney? Do you enjoy visiting museums to learn more about the things that you love? Are you curious about the details of the creative life? Would you like to check out a new family-friendly activity in San Francisco? You don’t have to answer yes to all of these questions to enjoy the Walt Disney Family Museum; you just need to be intrigued by at least one of them. That’s because this new San Francisco museum is a great treat for a number of different types of travelers who might want to check it out.
The Basics about the Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum opened in the Presidio neighborhood in late 2009. It is designed to share with you the detailed, interesting life history of Walt Disney, a man we all know was a creative entrepreneur but about whose life most of us actually know very little. The museum is housed in the different historic buildings which are themselves of interesting to many people in San Francisco. Great for folks of all ages, this museum not only has permanent galleries but also hosts many special events to keep you interested no matter how many times you might visit here.
The Museum’s Ten Permanent Galleries
The Walt Disney Family Museum is set up with ten permanent galleries that will take you through the life and creative work of Walt Disney himself. Those ten galleries, presented in chronological order are:
- His First Days. If you’ve ever wondered how this man got his start then you should go all the way back to the early days of his childhood. The first museum gallery will tell you about that.
- Moving to Hollywood. It took some hard work for Walt Disney to get his start. He moved to Hollywood and tried to make it. This gallery shows you those first days in Hollywood and takes you through the time when Mickey Mouse was “born”.
- The Mickey Mouse Days. Mickey Mouse was developed and explored throughout the 1930’s. It’s interesting to see how that happened in this gallery.
- Feature Length Films. Walt Disney eventually started making feature-length films starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This is the gallery that true Disney fans are really going to love.
- The Million Dollar Turning Point. Snow White was so successful that Walt Disney was finally making millions of dollars. That meant that he could unleash his creativity without limitation. See what he did first with that in this gallery.
- Rough Times. You might think that Walt Disney was living on easy street after that but you’d be wrong. World War II combined with a long artists’ strike made for rough times at Walt Disney Studios in the 1940;s. Learning about how this was overcome is definitely inspiring.
- Getting Back on Track. This gallery describes the nitty-gritty details of how the studios got back on track after those rough times.
- Nature Documentaries. Did you know that Walt Disney did a series of really fascinating nature documentaries? This gallery is great for anyone who is green-minded.
- On TV. Television came into people’s homes in the 1950’s and 1960’s and Walt Disney found ways to come along with it.
- The End. The final gallery is about the end of Walt Disney’s life. He may be gone but his legacy clearly lives on and every room of this museum celebrates that fact.
10 Things to do at the Walt Disney Family Museum
Of course when you visit this all ages museum your main purpose in doing so will be to check out those gallery displays. However there are a lot of other things that you can do while you’re here as well. Ten other activities to enjoy at the Walt Disney Family Museum are:
- See a movie. A Walt Disney museum wouldn’t be complete if you couldn’t view movies there, right? The museum has a state-of-the-art digital theatre where movies are screened regularly.
- Hear a lecture. In addition to film screenings, the museum offers lectures that can provide you with additional insight into Walt Disney and his work.
- Listen to music. An interesting dimension of this museum is that they host live music events here as well. What a treat!
- Buy something from the museum store. The store here is a great place where you can get Walt Disney items that you don’t normally see in regular stores. It’s a treat just to browse here as well.
- Get a great meal. The cafe at the Walt Disney Family Museum isn’t just any regular cafe. It’s a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. Yum.
- Relax in the courtyard. This museum has a beautiful courtyard area where it’s enjoyable to relax between viewing the galleries.
- Go on a Disney Discovery Day. The museum offers some great interactive and art opportunities throughout the month.
- Learn about Walt + Technology. The technology behind Walt Disney’s creations, and the way that technology has changed over time, is a really interesting topic that you can learn more about.
- Take a class. Pretty soon the new museum is going to start offering classes for both kids and adults. They’ll also be offering a kids’ summer camp. Be one of the first to sign up!
- Check the calendar. There’s an online calendar that you can use to find out what else is going on at the museum.
The Museum Buildings and Location
The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in the Presidio, a beautiful part of San Francisco that a lot of people fail to fully explore. The museum is housed in three historic buildings – the offices, the storage area and the public gallery itself – in the midst of this beautiful area. One portion of the public gallery is in historic barracks that date back to the nineteenth century. However, there’s a beautiful addition to this area as well in the form of a U-shaped steel and glass building. Once you’re done at the museum, you should definitely time to explore the Presidio or even take the short walk over to the Golden Gate Bridge.
What you Need to Know
Other things you might need to know if you want to visit this great museum are:
- Cost. Admission tickets are timed-entry tickets. They cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, $12.50 for kids 6-17 and free for kids under 6. You can become a member and get free entry with your membership. Tickets can be purchased on-site or online up to 60 days in advance of your visit.
- Address. The museum is located at The Presidio of San Francisco, 104 Montgomery Street. Note that if you just try to find 104 Montgomery Street on a map you’re going to end up in a different part of town. Make sure that you’re in the Presidio. Google Map here.
- Getting There and Parking. You can drive directly to the museum and park in the museum’s parking lot. Alternatively public transportation will get you there. Use 511 transit to plan your route.
- Hours. The museum is open from 10-6 daily except for Tuesdays when it’s closed. The museum is also closed on select major holidays.
Have fun! Official website link – Walt Disney Family Museum