Are you a huge fan of Disney? If so, a visit to this museum might be right up your alley.
Although Walt Disney’s creations can be accessed via The Disney Store, Disney Cruises, Disney World, Disneyland, Shanghai Disney, Disney Paris, and a few other theme parks and resorts around the world, The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco’s Presidio is much different as it is meant to explore the life, career, and times of Walt himself. It also offers a compelling look at the art of animation and how his work, in particular, has assisted in shaping pop culture.
Located in a former barracks building at the Army-post-turned-national-park, the 40,000-square-foot museum houses interactive galleries, education classrooms, a Fantasia-themed theatre, plus a gift shop and café.
The museum is primarily focused on the visionary behind the cultural institution. There are 10 galleries devoted to the life and work of Walter Elias Disney, including ones devoted to his boyhood and artistic development in Missouri; his nascent Hollywood studio in the 1930s (and his invention of “storyboarding”); and special projects like his patriotic films during World War II and the nature documentaries he produced in the 1950s.
The museum also stages long-run exhibits, like shows about the pre-digital artistic process that created Pinocchio, or Disney’s innovative collaboration with Salvador Dali. It also offers classes for visitors (some just two hours, some intensive full days) on animation technique and technology, like how to “animate” sadness by drawing the eyes, mouth, and even head shape. The theatre conducts screenings, such as Winnie the Pooh shorts, full-length films (including live-action Disney classics like The Absent-Minded Professor), or “deep cut” Disney cartoons from the archives.
While the museum seems, in some ways, geared toward grown-up Disney super-fans, art-loving kids will be easily drawn in too.
If you get hungry while touring the museum, there is a restaurant on hand, aptly called Museum Cafe, with indoor and outdoor seating.
Museum Hours are as follows: 10am–6pm daily, except Tuesdays, January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25. Last entry is 4:45pm. Tickets prices: Adults $30, Seniors (65 and over) $25, Students with ID $5, Youth ( ages 6-17) $20 . Children 5 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased online or at the museum.
Admission is free year-round for active and retired military, their spouses, and dependents with valid ID. The museum also participates in the Blue Star Families program, which grants all active military free admission for themselves plus five additional guests (six people total) between Memorial Day and Labor Day.