September 1, 2011
Trip to the Walt Disney Family Museum by Becky Staudt
Ever since I first heard that there was going to be
a Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, I knew I would have to
go. I watched and read about the Museum's construction and then
opening on October 1, 2009. I read reports about people's visits to
the museum most with few or no pictures since you are not allowed to
take pictures inside. This just added to the mystique and my desire
to visit the museum.
When I saw that my upcoming Disney Cruise from Los
Angeles to Vancouver, British Columbia would be stopping in San
Francisco I knew that I needed to figure out how to get to the Walt
Disney Family Museum. When DCL announced the excursions for this
cruise I was hoping that they would announce an excursion with a
special experience at the Walt Disney Family Museum, something you
wouldn't get as a normal guest of the museum, but they did not. They
did have an excursion that stopped at the Walt Disney Family Museum
but it was one of many stops and you were only at the Museum for
about 2 hours. We knew we wanted more than 2 hours at the Museum so
we decided to do it on our own.
We arrived in San Francisco bright and early on the
Disney Wonder and sailed under the golden gate bridge. Once we were
docked in the port of San Francisco we headed off the ship. We
walked to Fisherman's Wharf and did some exploring there before we
flagged down a cab and took it to the Walt Disney Family Museum.
The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in the
Presidio which is part of the National Parks System. Our cab driver
did get slightly lost as he had never been to the museum, he went
too far, but we did arrive safely.
Once at the museum we bought our tickets. You can
get a discount with an AAA card if you buy the tickets at the
museum. You can also buy tickets or a membership to the museum on
their website at
They also have a great blog on the Walt Disney family museum so I
suggest you check it out.
After we had our tickets we headed
to bag check, which is on the lowest level. You are only allowed to
take pictures on the main level. So we checked our cameras, bags,
jackets so we could enjoy the museum without any of these things to
distract us. We also used the restroom on this level. I recommend
you check them out as they have a Mary Blair inspired theme. The
stairs and floor also were inspired by Mary Blair.
We headed back upstairs and explored the main floor. We then got in
line to enter the museum. There was a line as there were many people
there from the cruise ship who came to visit the museum. They only
allow so many people in to the first exhibit at one time and then
let more people in as they move out of that room.
The museum is divided into 10 rooms
and takes you through Walt's life starting with him being born in
Chicago and goes all the way to his death in 1966. Each of the rooms
goes through a different part of Walt's life and goes through the
story of his life through audio, video, props, models and other
things to convey the story of Walt's life.
I am not going to go into specifics of each room as most people know
the story of Walt's life and I want you to be able to experience the
museum for yourself. My description would never do it justice
anyway. My favorite room has a multi- level ramp that leads to a
huge model of Disneyland at the bottom. I definitely recommend
bringing tissues as the last room had me in tears as they went
through Walt's passing.
After going through the exhibits we
watched a short presentation on Mary Blair's tool kit that was on
the lowest level. We spent about 5 hours at the museum and could
have spent much more time exploring the exhibits, listening to the
audio and watching the video. In addition to the exhibits, they have
movies that run in the theater that are an additional cost. They
also have presentations where they have had legends and other famous
Disney cast members in attendance. Check out the museum website for
more details on when these presentations and movies happen.
We picked up our items at bag check.
We then visited the store that had unique merchandise to the museum.
We spent some time checking out the main floor exhibits and took
some pictures of these items. They also have a Cafe where you can
get food or snacks.
I definitely recommend that you
check out the Walt Disney Family Museum if you are in the San
Francisco area. They did a fantastic job telling Walt's story and
the museum has great displays, audio and video I had never seen