What does a true Disney fan do when visiting San Francisco? There’s only one answer. The true Disney fan visits The Walt Disney Family Museum. This museum, which is nestled in the beautiful Presidio area of San Francisco, was one of the most moving Disney experiences I’ve ever had. And that’s really saying something for a person who’s grown up with Disney Parks in every facet of my life!
I really wasn’t sure what to expect when we planned our visit for The Walt Disney Family Museum! With 5 kids and a whole city to explore in just three days, our time in San Francisco was precious. We had Alcatraz to visit, cable cars to ride, and streets to explore. So in a city full of adventures, is The Walt Disney Family Museum worth it? Absolutely! Keep reading to find out why this museum must be on your Disney bucket list.
There’s so much to see!
We really weren’t sure how long to plan to spend at The Walt Disney Family Museum. However, after four hours at the museum, we hadn’t even nearly seen it all! There were so many exhibits, so many artifacts, so many absolute treasures to take in. When we first started in the museum, we read every single word! We took in every paragraph, and studied every picture. And then we realized how much more there was to see. There were rooms and rooms to go when we had been there for three hours. So when you plan your visit, be sure to plan lots of time! It’s worth every minute.
Be sure to visit the special exhibit.
During our visit, and through January 6, 2020, you can see the special exhibit “Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World.” This is a special exhibit that’s fits it’s name so well! There were original drawings, incredible pieces of art, and an amazing overview of Mickey’s influence on the world.
The impact of Mickey Mouse is hard to quantify. But walking through this exhibit, you really felt the wide reaching influence of this Mouse that Walt created. We really loved seeing the ways that Mickey has been depicted in the Disney Parks throughout the years. We learned so much about the history of Mickey and had a great time doing so. At the very end of the exhibit, you even get to write a special message about what Mickey means to you. Reading what each of my children wrote, and what visitors from around the world wrote, brought more than one tear to my eye!
This museum is good for all ages.
We visit a lot of museums with our five children. As a homeschooling Mom, I try to seamlessly integrate learning into every part of our lives. When we are hiking, we are talking about plants. When we visit somewhere new, we try to learn about the history of the place. As a Disney family, it’s only right that we learn about Walt himself! After visiting the museum, someone in the gift shop who knew we were Walt Disney World annual passholders, asked if we learned anything new in the museum. We definitely did! We learned so much, from the youngest to the oldest! Where else in the world can you control an authentic animatronic parrot?
Many of the exhibits are interactive. Some have videos, some have audio to listen to through headphones, and some have quick little games. There’s even a drawing station at the special Mickey Mouse exhibit! I actually had to encourage the kids to keep moving along because they were so engrossed in every aspect of each exhibit. And even though we spent four hours here, that’s not necessary if your children don’t have that same attention span. You could easily do a quicker overview and spend whatever amount of time fits your family.
Bring the tissues.
Depending on how attached you feel to all things Disney, you may want to bring some tissues to The Walt Disney Family Museum. There was so much nostalgia, and so many walks down memory lane, there were many times when I felt overwhelmed with emotion. Watching Mickey cartoons that I haven’t seen since childhood with my own children was so special.
And when you get to the end of the museum and there is information and remembrances of Walt’s passing, the tears were flowing. There were the most beautiful pieces of art from publications around the world at the time of his passing. And then in the final room of the museum, when you are surrounded by video screens of what Walt Disney created, it’s overwhelming to think of what all started with a Mouse.
Overall, The Walt Disney Family Museum was one of the highlights of not just our time in San Francisco, but of our whole summer vacation! As a person who’s grown up with Disney in my blood since birth, this was such a meaningful visit and experience. To see Walt’s Oscars, original pieces of artwork, to sit where Walt sat in Disneyland, it was all just amazing. This is an absolute must do for any Disney fan. Even if you aren’t a Disney fan, it’s worth learning about this incredible part of American history. It’s just incredible to think, “It all started with a Mouse.”