Walt Disney Family Museum – San Francisco

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(Updated September 2019) 

Did you know that San Francisco has the Walt Disney Family Museum? I had no idea! It is an amazing collection of Disney history that will have Disney fans squealing. The Walt Disney Family Museum has galleries filled with the history of Walt Disney along with walls full of awards and a diorama of Disneyland.

The Walt Disney Family Museum is the brain child of Walt Disney’s daughter Diane. Her proudest legacy is no doubt her large and adoring family. Diane also worked tirelessly to conceive of and complete both the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and The Walt Disney Family Museum.

Walt Disney Family Museum – San Francisco

One story from the museum stuck with me. Walt Disney talked about building a new amusement park and said “When I started on Disneyland, my wife used to say, ‘But why do you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty.’ I told her that was just the point; mine wouldn’t be.” Walt Disney focused on keeping his parks clean and rising above the typical amusements parks.

Disney World and Disneyland are some of the cleanest places you will ever find, and somehow it seems like it is done without the maintenance being seen. It is an impressive feat that I think people don’t notice, but I do and appreciate the perfection and cleanliness of it all. This is just one of million nuggets like this that you can gather from coming to the Walt Disney Family Museum.



Presidio of San Francisco

The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in key historic buildings within the Presidio of San Francisco, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of the National Park Service, and a listing on both the California Historical Landmarks and National Historic Landmarks.

The centerpiece is a former army barracks at 104 Montgomery Street, originally built in 1897. The Disney Company museum uses the building’s original domestic-scale rooms to frame the story of Walt Disney’s life and incorporates a wide range of materials and technologies, from historic documents and artifacts, to listening stations and other interactive displays, to more than 200 video monitors. In addition to the galleries, the museum contains a 123-seat screening facility, a learning center, a store and a cafe.

Also on the museum’s campus at 122 Riley Ave. is the 2,000 square foot Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall. It was dedicated in 2014 to the memory of Disney’s daughter and now used to house the rotation of special exhibitions.

Walt Disney Galleries 

The Walt Disney Museum is filled with permanent galleries about Walt Disney, his film career, and his parks. The Galleries celebrate animation and starts with the Early Beginnings of the Disney family, the move to Hollywood, transition into features, Disneyland & beyond, and of course remembering Walt Disney. There is so much to see and read about the family and the mind behind our beloved Disney films and Parks. 

Disneyland & Beyond

The Walt Disney Family Museum has minature diaramas of Disneyland. It is amazing to see Walt’s vision for the park and how it all started with the beloved and recognizable character – Mickey Mouse. You can see the miniature rides at the Walt Disney Family Museum. 

Adventures in Transportation

From a vintage railroad to the futuristic Monorail, Walt shared his fascination with transportation by building various transport-themed attractions at Disneyland. For children, he created the Autopia so they could get behind the wheel just like grownups—and set aside two of the attraction’s motorized cars as gifts for his first grandson and granddaughter. 

A City of Tomorrow

With a strong desire to enrich the experience of everyday life, Walt set his sights on the future. He conceptualized an actual working city where American industry can test its newest inventions to improve the way people lived. He called it the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT.


Walt Disney Family Museum Exhibitions 

Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World

The current exhibition is Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World. It is goes from May 16, 2019–Jan 6, 2020 at the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall.
Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World is a celebration of animation’s most beloved and recognizable character. This original exhibition chronicles Mickey’s influence on art and entertainment over the past nine decades and tells the story of his origin, rise to fame, and enduring world-wide appeal, in relation to Walt Disney’s inspiring, parallel story. 

Guest curated by legendary animator Andreas Deja, in collaboration with Michael Labrie. It features more than 400 objects, including rare and never-before-seen original sketches, character model sheets, and concept artwork, together with nostalgic merchandise, vintage photographs, and a variety of Mickey’s earliest and most recent animated short films. The exhibition is a testament to Mickey’s transcendent influence, from cartoons and comic books to real-life appearances at Disney Parks worldwide.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to view artistic interpretations of the world’s most famous mouse. For the pop artists of the late-1950s and 60s, Mickey personified the culture of the time: not only was his image reproduced on merchandise, but his simple, bright design echoed advertisements of the mid-century and embodied the spirit of American entertainment.

The inclusion in the exhibition of iconic works by prominent artists such as Andy Warhol, Gottfried Helnwein, and Wayne Thiebaud, alongside contemporary works by Tennessee Loveless, Lorelay Bove, Eric Robison, and San Francisco-based muralist Sirron Norris, demonstrate the resonance that Mickey Mouse has with new audiences and generations. 

Presented in conjunction with the museum’s 10th Anniversary, the exhibition will be displayed in the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall from May 16, 2019 through January 6, 2020. 


Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle

While I was visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum, we saw the Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle.  This retrospective showcases the life and work of Eyvind Earle – best known as the lead stylist for Walt Disney’s classic feature Sleeping Beauty (1959). He also worked on the concept art for Lady and the Tramp (1955) and Peter Pan (1953).

Earle once said, “I consider my six or seven years at Disney the greatest art school in the whole world, because I worked hard and fast with the very, very best men in the industry.” 

You can learn more about the legacy of Walt Disney and find out what exhibits are currently being showcased. Revel in the Disney magic by visiting the  Walt Disney Family Museum. 


The museum also provides class and talks for its members and guests. This is an upcoming talk on Mary Poppins Step Back in Time:
Returning to Mary Poppins with Jim Capobianco. Learn more about the education options here. 

More to Do in San Francisco

View from the Walt Disney Museum

You can see the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz from the Walt Disney Museum grounds. It is a great choice for a family trip to San Francisco. 


Follow Along with The Walt Disney Family Museum 

Learn more about The Walt Disney Family Museum by following them on social media:  

Facebook    Twitter     Youtube     Instagram

Disclosure: I was invited by Disney to attend this all expense paid press trip but all opinions are 100% my own. Also, this post contains affiliate link, please support our Disney loving team by making purchased through them. Thanks so much! XOXO

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