- 1 The Walt Disney Family Museum Tour
- 2 The Walt Disney Family Museum Founded by Walt Disney’s Daughter
- 3 The Walt Disney Family Museum Home to 248 Awards Earned by Disney
- 4 The Walt Disney Family Museum Now Home to Disney’s Miniature Carolwood Pacific Railroad
- 5 The Walt Disney Family Museum Home to the Earliest Known Drawings of Mickey Mouse!
- 6 The Walt Disney Family Museum Technicolor Paint Jars
- 7 The Walt Disney Family Museum and the Cartier Bracelet Worn by Lillian Disney
- 8 The Walt Disney Family Museum Optical Printer
- 9 The Walt Disney Family Museum’s View of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate
- 10 The Walt Disney Museum Green Bench
- 11 The Walt Disney Family Museum and Fred Joerger
- 12 The Walt Disney Family Museum’s Most Touching Tribute
@TheGoodDino and a @WDFMuseum Tour #Waltagram #GoodDinoEvent #travel
The Walt Disney Family Museum Tour
There is a magical place 382 miles north of Los Angeles, in the Presidio of San Francisco. It’s the Walt Disney Family Museum, a 40,000 square foot building that is an art museum of sorts with all the historical artifacts that bring Walt Disney’s achievements to life. Early drawings line the walls, animation stations of his early work, movies and more.
The Presidio of San Francisco is a unique area, worthy of its own visit with its wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. On its 2,347 square miles, it served first as a military base dating back to September 17, 1776. The Presidio has been involved in most of America’s military engagements in the Pacific.
The Walt Disney Family Museum Founded by Walt Disney’s Daughter
Today we are going inside The Walt Disney Family Museum, at 104 Montgomery Street. The museum was founded by Diane Disney Miller, the daughter of Walt Disney. It opened on October 1, 2009. She called San Francisco home, which is why the museum is in San Francisco and not Los Angeles, where Walt Disney called home.
Inside the main lobby, the photos of Diane Disney Miller and her sister, and Sharon Mae Disney are hung in a corner. They are drawings done by 20th-century American painter and illustrator, famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine, Norman Rockwell.
The Walt Disney Family Museum Home to 248 Awards Earned by Disney
The photos hang in the same lobby where you’ll find a replica of Walt Disney’s Los Angeles apartment, and 248 awards that Disney won during his career. Awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Academy Awards–including the honorary award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which consists of one full-sized Oscar alongside seven miniature ones.
The Walt Disney Family Museum Now Home to Disney’s Miniature Carolwood Pacific Railroad
Inside the museum, you’ll see pieces related to Walt Disney’s live steam, miniature Carolwood Pacific Railroad, including his beloved Lilly Belle locomotive, are on display at the museum as well.
The 1/2-mile long, 1/8 scale miniature railroad was built in Walt Disney’s backyard at his home at 355 N. Carolwood in Los Angeles. It was the inspiration for the Disneyland Theme park, which opened in 1955.
The Walt Disney Family Museum features ten galleries, in chronological order from Walt’s family ancestry to his death. It’s a tribute to the man who brought magic to so many lives.
There are early drawing from Walt Disney’s high school newspaper.
There is attention to detail here at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Notice the Victorian-inspired background, reflective of the period these drawings were created.
The Walt Disney Family Museum Home to the Earliest Known Drawings of Mickey Mouse!
One of my favorite pieces is the earliest known drawings of Mickey Mouse (who was originally named Mortimer Mouse).
The Walt Disney Family Museum Technicolor Paint Jars
The introduction of Technicolor’s new three-strip process in 1932, which brought a complete range of vibrant colors to the screen for the first time was a breakthrough Walt had waited for. By 1935, all these cartoons were being filmed in Technicolor.
This display of Walt Disney’s color jars is beautiful.
“With sound came every kind of gag you could do with sound, and after color you used it every way you could…You see, when you see somebody like the wolf, when he blew, he blew until he turned purple.” –Walt Disney
The Walt Disney Family Museum and the Cartier Bracelet Worn by Lillian Disney
There was a case that held a charm bracelet, dating back to 1937, designed by Cartier, Inc. The charms feature Snow White and each of the Seven Dwarfs. Walt’s wife, Lillian wore this bracelet to the premiere of the film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Carthay Circle Theater in 1937.
The Walt Disney Family Museum Optical Printer
In the early years of the film industry, the combining of images with actors and animated backgrounds was accomplished by exposing film of a foreground image while keeping the film in physical contact with a “hold-back mask” film as both films ran through the camera. The mask in effect screened the background from the camera’s “eye.” After the camera had made the first exposure, the film was rewound and a second exposure made of the background, this time using a hold-back mask to hide the foreground. Often, shrinkage of one of the mask films would produce unwanted “matte lines” around the actors.
In 1943, Ub Iwerks conceived the idea of an optical printer. It was the perfect solution to the problems encountered with the previous method. The masks, running separately in the second projection head, were optically superimposed upon the foreground and background films being combined in the camera. Plus, the covers could be sized and moved in any direction to fit the scene’s elements exactly. The greatest advantage of this machine was that, by composing the entire scene in one pass, the process minimized the grain and matte lines that accumulated in multiple passes: All the elements were assembled at once in a single negative.
This optical printer was used on virtually every Disney film from 1943 until its retirement in 1986.
The Walt Disney Family Museum’s View of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate
As you walk through the museum, seemingly walking in the footsteps of Walt Disney, it opens up into a room, with a glass wall that overlooks the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Walt Disney Museum Green Bench
Just past this view is a green bench.
The bench is from a park where Walt Disney took his family often. These outings inspired his desire to create a place where families could gather and spend more time with each other. This bench may be the very bench Walt Disney sat on as he dreamed the idea of Disneyland.
The Walt Disney Family Museum and Fred Joerger
I loved the original Fantasyland Castle model. It was created by Fred Joerger, a master model maker. He was one of the original theme-park designers, or Imagineers, hired in 1953 by Walt Disney. His hands created the models for the now familiar Disneyland’s Main Street and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. He also supervised construction of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
But perhaps the most impressive, with incredible attention to detail is a 12-foot diameter model of Disneyland. Here is a picture of the model looking down Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
The Walt Disney Family Museum’s Most Touching Tribute
As I walked the rooms and took it all in, it was an amazing tour. Walt Disney died three years before my birth and yet his legacy is one that enriched my childhood and continues to bring joy to my children.
For me, the most powerful exhibit was the end, where I felt like I had experienced the loss of Walt Disney. A radio broadcast plays, announcing that Walt Disney has passed. The year, 1966.
Walking in his footsteps, seeing his imagination come to life and his American success story, filled with the failures and triumphs that powered him to reinvent and press forward is a journey that is inspiring. There are artifacts and quotes from Walt, his colleagues.
I felt, in this last room, great sadness for having lost such brilliance. The tribute here captures the influence Walt Disney had on the world.
More importantly, it captures the love for all things Disney that continue to build his legacy and bring magic to future generations.
I toured The Walt Disney Family Museum as part of The Good Dinosaur Event. However, the museum is open for anyone who wants to walk in the footsteps of Walt Disney and experience his legacy.
While you organize your vacation to include The Walt Disney Museum, you can catch The Good Dinosaur, a Disney-Pixar film, on November 25 in theaters everywhere to see just how far the magic reaches.