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You might have an idea that I am a big fan of all things Disney. One of my most favorite places on Earth is Walt Disney World, but there is a place in San Francisco, CA that is at the top of my list. I have been lucky enough to visit The Walt Disney Family Museum twice in the last year and it is something that every Disney fan needs to experience. My husband is just as big a Disney fan as I am and I really hope one day he will be able to visit. There is so much to see – and so much to learn about Walt’s life inside those walls!
The Only Official Disney Museum
Diane Disney was asked for many years to write a book about her father, Walt. Eventually, she decided against it, and instead, she started The Walt Disney Family Museum. She recently passed away, however, the family still works very closely with the museum. They are actually going to be celebrating 10 years of being open next year!
They’re a Non-Profit
Something that I love about this museum is that it is a non-profit. So, while they work closely with Walt Disney Studios, they are not owned by them. Everything at The Walt Disney Family Museum is made possible through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. This is cool to me because it means that all the money made from admissions goes back in to running the museum – not to Walt Disney Studios itself.
Learn About Walt Disney’s Life
The Walt Disney Family Museum is dedicated to the life’s work of Walt Disney. Inside you will learn about the history of Walt’s family, but also so much more. One of my favorite facts that I read at the museum is that Disney only had $40 in his pocket when he headed to Hollywood. At one point he even lost the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but, determined not to give up, he started sketching an idea that would later become Mickey Mouse. It just proves to never give up.
Tons of Unique Items
I could spend days and days looking through every single piece of history that has been placed in The Walt Disney Family Museum. I just know I would discover new things, no matter how often I had been. This last trip, I saw a bracelet that Walt gave to his wife – and it was GORGEOUS! It has been deemed the “Oscar Bracelet” because it features miniature versions of the Academy Awards Walt received for his considerable achievements in filmmaking. The 18k gold bracelet is comprised of twenty Oscar charms, representing the first twenty awards Walt received, including two of his honorary Oscars. Walt discovered he was able to purchase mini-Oscars for his various wins, and decided to give them to Lillian to acknowledge the role she had played in his professional success.
There are so many things in this museum that you can only see here. Things like models of Disneyland and its’ rides, original drawings from Walt, and even some of the first Disney toys. Since Diane Disney helped create the museum, these items are authentic and unique – and must sees for any Disney fan. The gift shop is also filled with items unique to The Walt Disney Family Museum – from mugs, to magnets, even to pins – there are lots of collectibles for a Disney fan!
To Get The Feels
If you are a true Disney fan, this place is going to give you the chills. I am in awe of pretty much the entire museum – every single thing in it. There is so much history behind it all. By the time you make your way through all of the exhibits, discovering things about Walt’s trails and tribulations, you feel so much more connected to him. If Disney is something you are already passionate about, trust me, you will somehow become more passionate about his work. He failed but kept going – something we can all learn from. And that last room, where we say goodbye to Walt – well, it’s hard.
About The Walt Disney Family Museum
Find animation, innovation, and inspiration in the remarkable life story of Walt Disney, the man who raised animation to an art, tirelessly pursued innovation, and created a distinctly American legacy that transformed the entertainment world. Located in the scenic Presidio of San Francisco, the museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that features contemporary, interactive galleries with state-of-the-art exhibits narrated in Walt’s own voice alongside early drawings, cartoons, films, music, a spectacular model of Disneyland, and more.
The current special exhibit is Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane, showcasing the work of this influential Disney animator and artist. Keane’s dynamic artistic talent brings to life some of the most unforgettable characters of our time. From the imposing Beast and fearless Tarzan, to the daring heroines Ariel, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel. The exhibition, curated by Glen Keane in partnership with Michael Labrie, the museum’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions will be on view through September 3, 2018.
Museum hours are 10am to 6pm. Last entry is 4:45pm. Open daily except Tuesdays, January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25.
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