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Thursday Treasures

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 before.

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