The Walt Disney Family Museum

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The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in The Presidio of San Francisco, California. Why San Francisco? This was the first question that came to my mind as we were reserving our tickets to visit. I know quite a bit about Walt Disney and Disneyland so I was pretty confused because I hadn’t known he had a serious history in San Francisco (he did visit a few times in his lifetime).

Turns out, his daughter, Diane Disney Miller founded the museum in SF because she lived there with her husband Ron Miller.  Diane began thinking about how to best memorialize her father and for over a decade struggled with how to do it. Many people suggested she write a book,  but Diane eventually decided that an interactive museum would best honor her father and thus, The Walt Disney Family Museum was born.

With The Walt Disney Family Foundation already in place, they took the helm of the museum project. The museum first started out as a small family run office filled with Walt’s awards and old memorabilia. You could only visit on a by appointment basis. Soon, as the collection grew, the family realized they needed a bigger space. In October of 2009 the museum in its current home, opened it’s doors to the public for the very first time and  2013 the museum became its own non-profit institution.

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The museum is so fun to stroll around and read all about Walt Disney’s life. It was also amazing to see all the awards, Oscars, production art, etc that he created and was given. Any fellow Disney buff should certainly stop by and visit the museum! I had a blast!

Here’s 10 things I learned about Walt Disney while at the museum!

  1. With only $40 in his pocket, Walt left Missouri for Hollywood, CA.
  2. Before Mickey Mouse, Walt’s first cartoon success was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. However, Walt lost the rights to Oswald, which then led him to later create Mickey Mouse.
  3. Walt and his big brother Roy were great friends and shared a very close relationship, even working together. Roy would handle the business side of things while Walt focused on the creative, and they founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon studio together in 1923.
  4. Walt’s first animation studio, Laugh-O-gram Films, Inc was a failure and he shortly lost the company due to a bad business deal.
  5. Walt’s first feature film was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and after years and a skyrocketed budget, opened with great success on December 21 1937.
  6. Mary Poppins, premiering in 1964, was one of the last important projects of Walt’s life. He passed away on December 15, 1966 due to a heart attack he had following cancer surgery.
  7. Walt once played Peter Pan in a school play as a boy, years before turning it into a film of his own.
  8. Walt was the original voice of Mickey Mouse from 1928-1947.
  9. Walt felt responsible for his mother’s death. With his success, he bought his parents a new house, but in 1938 there was a problem with the furnace in the house and his mother, Flora Call Disney, died of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Many think this is why in most Disney films, characters are almost always left motherless.
  10. His housekeeper was a very wealthy woman. Her name was Thelma Howard and she was the Disney’s live in housekeeper and cook for 3 decades. As a Christmas gift, the Disney’s gave her stock in the company. She never did anything with her shares but at the time of her death in 1994, she left nearly $4.5 million dollars to poor and disabled children, and left nearly the same amount to her disabled son.

Hope you enjoyed reading some Walt Disney facts!




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