San Francisco, CA

Learn the History Behind Disney at the Walt Disney Family Museum

Kimberly Ritter

Have you ever wondered about the history behind Walt Disney and the legacy that he has left behind? Get an inside look at Disney history at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California.
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Did you know that you can get an inside look at all things Disney and the man that created it all?

Walt Disney is a single man who changed animation to an art and transformed the film industry. His imagination created and led to many of the films, characters and creations that generations have loved. A single museum located in San Francisco shares the amazing story of this unique man who had a vision that changed entertainment forever. Here is a little bit about it:

Opened in 2008, the Walt Disney Family Museum is located in the scenic Presidio of San Francisco. It is adjacent to the recently refurbished Main Post, in a former U.S. Army barracks renovated by renowned architect David Rockwell.

This unique 40,000 square foot museum dedicated to all things Disney tells the story of the man behind the myth through Walt Disney’s own voice and interactive galleries. It features historic materials and artifacts, early drawings and animation, movies, music, state-of-the-art technologies, listening stations, more than 200 video screens. There is even a 14 foot model of Disneyland and much more.

Visitors can also enjoy the Museum store, and the 114 seat Fantasia-‐‐inspired theater, which shows Disney classics six days a week.

In addition to its galleries, the Museum presents screenings of a different Disney classic film every month, as well as related live programs and concerts, that feature Disney Legends, actors, animators,musicians, character voices, historians and Disney family members.

Walt Disney was the creator of Mickey Mouse, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disneyland and much more. His artistry, imagination and vision influenced popular culture through animated and live-‐‐action films, television programs, theme parks and new technologies. This San Francisco based museum was co-founded by Walt’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, and grandson, Walter E.D. Miller, the Museum is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a non‐profit foundation.
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From the very first sketches of Mortimer Mouse (Mickey's origin) to decades of original movie original movie posters, illustrations, figurines and more and you'll find everything from Walt's childhood's interest in animation and drawing to his final days at Disney.
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Even the walls have his words of wisdom and snippets of his life as you travel through his life over the years.
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This Steamboat Willie walk represents 15 seconds of film footage which is 348 frames of animation.
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Color made a huge impact on animated films, and at the museum you can see how the inks changed the illustrations at the time.
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One thing that I didn't know was that the Walt Disney Studios were "occupied" during World War II to produce propaganda and training materials for the United States military.
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The end of the museum even has a sad tribute to Walt's death that includes news reports from the day he passed and magazine covers and illustrations from around the world.
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Taking a look at Tomorrowland

Towards the end of his life, Walt Disney developed groundbreaking attractions for global events, including the 1964-‐‐65 New York World’s Fair. These developments paved the way for many of the popular attractions at Disney theme parks today including Epcot, the monorail and Tomorrowland.
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The Walt Disney Museum is a fantastic place to learn more about all things Disney and the man who created them all. It’s a must see museum in the San Francisco area for movie lovers, and a great educational experience for Disney fans.

Tickets for the Walt Disney Museum are currently on a timed basis and can be purchased in advance online here. Guests visiting the museum with CityPass are not able to reserve tickets online, but can bring their pass to the main entrance.

Free Admission to Military Members and Their Families
The Walt Disney Family Museum does provide free admission to the museum and this exhibition year-round for active, retired, and veteran military personnel and their spouses and dependents with valid ID.

The Walt Disney Family Museum is located at 104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio

San Francisco, CA 94129. For more information on the museum you can call 415.345.6800 or visit

The museum’s current operating hours are Thursday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm, with last gallery entry at 4pm. The museum is closed Monday through Wednesday.

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