We enjoyed visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum and having lunch at their Cafe in San Francisco Ca


Everyone knows the iconic Walt Disney. With his 65 years on earth Walt Disney changed the face of animation. He reinvented motion picture techniques, including synchronized sound, full color three-strip Technicolor, feature length cartoons as well as technical developments which enhanced cameras for all filmmakers. Many know him as the inventor of The Mouse that became the logo for his Disney Studios and a constant sidekick when Walt hosted the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night television. The list of full-length feature animation movies is a who’s who of childhood characters that raised a generation. His accomplishments beginning as a young ad artist at the age of 18 and continuing to his death from lung cancer at 65 years old are so vast, that it takes a museum to begin to tell his story.

The Walt Disney Family Museum located at 104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio San Francisco, CA 94129 does exactly that, it tells in detail the life of a man who has made millions of people laugh, smile and act like kids again. The Walt Disney Family Museum is not formally associated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney Entertainment, it is the inspirational brain child of Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller. The museum is formally owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation. The museum is a special dedication to Walter Elias Disney, the man, his story, his work, his innovations, his dreams and his visions.

Shirley Temple and Walt Disney 1939

Walt Disney drove an ambulance in France similar to this one

Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz 1963

Pathe Camera and Bell and Howell Camera

Walt at the Pathe camera ca 1923

Diane Disney Miller was the only biological child of Walt Disney. She lived a life apart from the magic that her famous father created, she was mother to 7, as well as founder with her husband Ron Miller of the Silverado Vineyards in Napa Valley, California. She was a pianist with a passion for the classics, a philanthropist who supported the arts throughout her life. Like her father, she was a visionary who dedicated the last two decades of her life to honoring the memory of her father by commemorating his life and accomplishments. Ms. Miller conceived, planned and directed the design and construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as well as the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, CA.

Roy and Walt outside the studio on Kingswell ca 1924

RKO publicity poster 1937

Mickey Mouse Magazine

Walt and Shirley Temple at Academy Awards dinner February 23 1939

Manhattan Theater April 1944

Animator’s Desk (reproduction)

Diego Rivera (Mexico 1886-1957) Gift from Diego Rivera to Diane Disney Miller 1940

Multiplane Camera

Walt Disney Productions stock certificate March 8 1940

Disney Studio Artist Character Model c.1941

The Walt Disney Family Museum is in The Presidio of San Francisco, a park and former U.S. Army military fort. It is part of The Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This historic site at the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula dates to 1776 when the Spanish established it as El Presidio Real de San Francisco translated as The Royal Fortress of Saint Francis.

Diane Disney Miller had three existing historic buildings within The Presidio expanded and retrofitted to house the Walt Disney Family Museum. The Main building of over 40,000 square feet introduces the visitor to the Museum using a map by Bay Area Illustrator, Dave Stevenson. Like many Disney films that open with a “once upon a time”, this map shows the background of Walt’s Family as the visitor embarks on a journey through the life of the man who created the Disney Journey. Storyboards were one of the pivotal gifts of Walt to the world of animation. This map at the entrance is begins the story of the Disney Family in France, it is the first panel of the Story board of The Walt Disney Family Museum.

Public Service Poster 1943

Public Service Poster 1943

Der Fuehrer’s Face poster 1942

Walt Disney miniature collection

The display and interactive media throughout the museum is well suited for both an visitor who prefers an overview as well as a visitor who wants to examine every detail. Visitors tour the treasured collection of the Disney Family at their own pace.

If by chance there is someone who doesn’t know who Walt Disney is, this museum will tell you the story of this man. If you are a Disney aficionado, this museum will show you the living mementos from the pen of Walt Disney, his words that inspired millions along with a behind the scenes look at his ideas, creations and of course the thousands of projects that came from this one mind. The museum is also a treasure chest filled with exclusive family photos of Walt at home away from work.

Stop at the Café for some of Walt’s famous Chili

And a BBQ pork sandwich

Technicolor camera DF-7

Bronze Hat

Walt’s “Valet” Box

The Walt Disney Family Museum is an autobiographical museum, as well as a history museum, it is also an art museum, a museum of ideas, a museum of inventions precisely told in multimedia fashion just as Walt would have wanted it. The Museum offers special exhibitions that complement the 10 permanent Galleries, each depicting a distinct period in the life of Mr. Disney.

The Galleries Include:

  • Gallery 1 - Early Beginnings – 1901-1923

  • Gallery 2 - The Move to Hollywood- 1923-1928

  • Gallery 3 - Exploring New Horizons – 1928-1940

  • Gallery 4 - The Transition into Features – 1936-1938

  • Gallery 5 - New Success and Great Ambitions 1939-1940

  • Gallery 6- Patriotic Contributions – 1941-1945

  • Gallery 7 - Postwar Rebuilding – 1946-1950

  • Gallery 8 - Walt and The Natural World -1948-1960

  • Gallery 9 - Disneyland and Beyond – 1950-1965

  • Gallery 10 – Remembering Walt Disney – 1966

Don Wright The Miami News

William B. Robinson Indianapolis News

Karl Hubenthal Los Angeles Herald Examiner

Thank you Walt Disney!

The Walt Disney Family Museum welcomes visitors daily except Tuesdays from 10:00 AM -6:00 PM. Last admission at 4:45 PM.

Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page

Some photos courtesy The Walt Disney Company

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