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20 Things to Do at Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco

Updated on November 1, 2012
A markerWalt Disney Museum -
104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
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One of the newest museums in San Francisco is the Walt Disney Family Museum, which opened in 2009. It is located in the Presidio neighborhood and is designed to share the entire life and work of Mr. Walt Disney. It is a family-friendly museum that is fun for all ages. You definitely won’t be bored here. Take a look at twenty different things to do when visiting this museum:

1.     Browse or buy Disney items. The Walt Disney Museum store has loads of Disney items for you to enjoy. These are not the same items that you would find online or at traditional Disney stores. There are some really unique Disney items here. It’s fun just to look and it’s also a great place to do some gift shopping.

2.     Eat. One of the coolest things about museums in San Francisco is that they offer you an opportunity to eat some really yummy food during your visit. This is no run-of-the-mill museum café. In fact, the restaurant at the Walt Disney museum is a Wolfgang Puck restaurant!

3.     Explore some of the greenest things Walt Disney ever did. Did you know that Walt Disney made a series of interesting in-depth documentaries on nature? The “Nature Documentaries” permanent exhibit at the museum can tell you a lot more about this eco-friendly project.

4.     Get some information about the very first feature length films that Walt Disney ever made. Visit the permanent gallery exhibit called “Feature Length Films” to find out more about famous films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

5.     Get some inspiration to stay creative during tough times. Check out the “Rough Times” permanent exhibit at the museum to learn about some of the tougher times that Walt Disney Studios had to go through. The 1940’s are explored in this exhibit so you can see how the studio overcame the combination of World War II and a very long artists’ strike. From here you can go to the “Getting Back on Track” exhibit to see what happened after those rough times.

6.     Hear some wonderful live music. One thing that a lot of people do not know about the Walt Disney Museum is that there are regular live music events hosted on site. This is a great way to spend a few hours.

7.     Inform yourself about the end of Walt Disney’s life. Most people don’t know a lot about what happened with this famous creator during the final stages of his life. The last of the galleries ten permanent exhibits (called The End) is all about this period of time.

8.     Learn about Walt Disney’s childhood. The first of the permanent galleries in the Walt Disney Museum (called His First Days) will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Disney’s childhood.

9.     Listen to a lecture about Walt Disney’s work. There are lectures planned and presented at the Walt Disney Museum periodically. Many visitors find that this is a very interesting way to learn more about the same stuff that they’re exploring in the regular exhibits of the museum.

10. Meditate in the courtyard. There is a gorgeous outdoor courtyard area outside of the main exhibit area of the Walt Disney Museum. Take some time to step outside, relax and meditate on the joy and wonder that Disney celebrated and inspired with his work.

11. Participate in an interactive art opportunity. Check the museum’s website or ask at the information desk to learn more about Disney Discover Days, which happen at different times throughout the month.

12. Satiate your curiosity about what changed for the famous creator when he started earning a lot of money. Make sure that you stop into the permanent gallery exhibit called The Million Dollar Turning Point to learn about how the man first started truly creating once he had elaborate amounts of money to spend.

13. See how Mickey Mouse was born and developed. This famous character was crucial to the development of Disney’s work. You can explore the “Moving to Hollywood” and “Mickey Mouse Days” permanent exhibits at the museum to see the days leading up to the birth of Mickey and then the years during his major growth.

14. Take a class. There are various classes offered for all ages at this museum. Check the museum’s website or ask at the information desk to learn more.

15. Uncover how television changed Walt Disney’s life. When the TV started becoming a household appliance, Walt Disney’s work and life inevitably changed. The story of how he adapted and thrived with this new technology is told in the “On TV” permanent exhibit at the gallery.

16. Understand the intersection of art and technology. The work of Walt Disney was certainly art. However, he was really a cutting edge individual when it came to using technology to present his art to the world. Even today, Disney pushes the boundaries of technology in art. This is something you can learn more about at the Walt Disney Museum.

17. Volunteer. The Walt Disney Family Museum accepts help from volunteers. Immerse yourself in the world of Disney by volunteering.

18. Walk over to the Golden Gate Bridge. This museum is located within very short and safe walking distance of the Golden Gate Bridge, one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions.

19. Wander around and admire the historic buildings. The Walt Disney Museum is housed in several historic buildings in the Presidio. Besides the joy of the museum itself, you can take in the interesting architecture and history of the museum’s home.

20. Watch an old favorite movie. There is a large state-of-the-art digital theatre at the Walt Disney Museum. Your favorite old Disney movies are screened here regularly for your viewing pleasure.


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  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for a very well written hub including a lot of information.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

    Holy crap, I didn't even know we HAD a Walt Disney Museum. Neat!