As I have alluded to a fair bit in the last couple of months I recently turned 30 and ran away to California! After spending a couple of days in Disneyland and travelling up the coast we visited a city I’ve been desperate to visit for some time, San Francisco! While I will be telling you all about my San Francisco adventures checking out Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf and The Castro I first wanted to tell you about something that is there you might not be so familiar with, The Walt Disney Family Museum.
Having started our road trip in Disneyland it seemed fitting to end it here, the Walt Disney Family Museum is a museum (obviously) set up by Walt Disney’s daughter Diane Disney Miller to explore and celebrate the man behind some of our favourite childhood memories, Walter Elias Disney.
Walt Disney started out life as the son of a poor farm owner, travelling across the country several times as his father was forced to find new work. Young Walt started finding his love for artistry and cartoons along the way and after a stint as an Army medic in World War II he came back to the USA determined to make his mark, a that he sure did. However, it was not smooth sailing. He hit many roadblocks amongst the way including losing his first successful character, Oswald, to a different company and declaring bankruptcy after his first film business failed. It was all this hardship and desperation that inspired him to create Mickey Mouse on a heartbreaking train journey having just lost it all (he famously first named this cartoon mouse Mortimer before his wife wisely told him maybe Mickey would be a better name). From here his career and talents grew. Never being one to stick with one idea he was always pushing the boundaries and taking risks and in doing so created so any new film techniques and firsts in the industry it is hard to keep track with all he achieved.
Then there was his most ambitious plan yet, and one that everyone told him would fail, the creation of the “happiest place on earth”, Disneyland. Growing up a Disney Parks fanatic I almost can’t imagine how I’d be if he hadn’t taken this step, which once more almost left him in bankruptcy. He was taking risks right up to his unexpected early death as he had already created the plans for Disney World and had already started to buy the land of a park he would never get to see.
The Walt Disney Family Museum takes you all the way through this eventful life with personal artefacts from throughout his life, interactive galleries and countless interviews with his family and colleges. The museum covers every aspect of his life and has some really unique, rare finds as well as temporary exhibitions on a variety of subjects. You can (and we did!) spend hours in here and it’s hard not to leave feeling a little emotional. Standout features are Walt’s personal railway from his back garden that would inspire him to put one in Disneyland, the famous Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Oscar (with it’s 7 miniatures), the original Disneyland diorama and the very bench he sat on watching his children play on a carousel where he famously came up with the idea for Disneyland (which is the bench you can see my sat on above). As he put it “there ought to be someplace where the children and grownups can have fun together”.
The Walt Disney Family Museum is a beautifully put together, personal and touching insight into the life of the man behind the mouse. Find more information about the museum at https://www.waltdisney.org/ ticket prices ranges from between $15-$25.
Tickets were given to me in exchange for a review, all words and opinions are honest and my own