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    Walt Disney Museum: a dive into the life and art of a visionary genius

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Who does not know Walt Disney? Who hasn't loved his masterpieces? Who doesn't have at least one memory linked to his cartoons and his soundtracks? If you find yourself in California you should therefore visit the first Disney theme park in history, Disneyland in Anaheim ... but not only!

    If you want to know a little more about the story of this man, his failures, his successes and really understand the creative and visionary genius he was, then you cannot miss the Walt disney museum in San Francisco, an interactive museum in which drawings, prototypes, machinery, films are intertwined with words, memories and imagination.


    • The history of the museum
    • What to see in the museum
    • Where is it and how to get there
      • Reach the museum by car
      • Reach the museum by bus
    • Useful information: timetables and prices
    • Where to sleep in the area

    The history of the museum

    The museum was born from an idea of Diane daughter of Walter Elias Disney, and her husband Ron Miller, who moved to San Francisco in the XNUMXs. Diane wanted to pay homage to her father, but as a book didn't seem enough to her, she created it with her family Walt Disney Foundation in 1995. In 2001 he rented a warehouse in the former San Francisco Presidio military area to create a small gallery. He soon realized that a much larger space was needed, so he transformed some buildings on Montgomery Street - also inside the Presidio, which in the meantime became part of the parks and protected city areas - into a real museum with lots of splendid views. on the Golden Gate Bridge. The museum opened to the public on October 1, 2013.

    What to see in the museum

    The museum offers 10 gallery with permanent exhibitions and numerous areas with temporary exhibitions. The lower floor of the main building, the Theater Gallery and Lower Lobby Gallery they host, for example, rotating special exhibitions that are generally included in the admission ticket. In the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall on the other hand, the most lasting exhibitions are hosted and there is usually an additional cost to the standard entrance ticket to visit them.

    The 10 galleries of the museum tell the life of Walt Disney in chronological order. Let's see them in detail:

    • Gallery 1: Early Beginnings 1901-1923 illustrates the first decades of the artist's life, his high school drawings, the launch of his first animation studio at just 20 and bankruptcy after only 18 months. Finally, the gallery also talks about the launch of the “Laugh-O-Grams” short film series.
    • Gallery 2: The Move to Hollywood 1923-1928 show the project Alice in Wonderland, the transfer of Walter and his brother to Hollywood, the wedding and the birth of the little mouse that will make his fortune: Mickey Mouse.
    • Gallery 3: Exploring New Horizons 1928-1940 tells the artist's farsighted experiments and his first revolutionary animated projects.
    • Gallery 4: The Transition into Features 1936-1938 is a must-see museum passage for lovers of snow-white.
    • Gallery 5: New Success and Greater Ambitions 1939-1940 hosts projects for Bambi, Fantasy fabric and the wonderful Pinocchio.
    • Gallery 6: Patriotic Contributions 1941-1945 illustrates the work for the elephant Dumbo and details on Saludos Amigos, as well as recounting the difficult war years after Pearl Harbor.
    • Gallery 7: Postwar Rebuilding 1946-1950 testifies to the artistic rebirth after the war and the launch of 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.
    • Gallery 8: Walt & The Natural World 1948-1960 shows Walt Disney's connection with nature in the documentary series True Life Adventures. Here is also the famous Griffith Park bench where Disney, observing his little girls playing, imagined a playground for adults and children: this is exactly how the idea of Disneyland.
    • Gallery 9: Disneyland & Beyond 1950-1965 tell how Disneyland it becomes reality in an "experimental prototype of the society of tomorrow".
    • Gallery 10: Remembering Walt Disney 1966 finally, it celebrates the importance of this creative genius and his legacy to future generations.

    Where is it and how to get there

    The Walt Disney Museum is located at 104 di Montgomery Street a San Francisco. The building is within the Presidium, a large park which, thanks to its historical and naturalistic value, is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area protected area (once it was a military area). Be careful when looking for the street as there are two Montgomery Streets in San Francisco, one in the Presidio of San Francisco and one in the Financial District. On the GPS it is useful to enter the CAP 94129 in order not to make a mistake.

    Reach the museum by car

    As we have specified in our article on how to get around San Francisco, the car is not the best way to get around the city, however, if you have done this anyway, you should know that the museum is located at 104 Montgomery St and that around the museum there are several paid parking.

    On the museum website they recommend Main Post Parking Lot, Montgomery Street, Taylor Road Parking Lot. The cost indicated for the three car parks is approximately $ 2 - $ 2.50 per hour up to a maximum of $ 10 - 11. On Montgomery Street you can leave your car for up to 3 hours. Parking is free after 18:00.

    Finally, I refer you to our guide on how rent a car in San Francisco.

    Reach the museum by bus

    Here are the public transport to use:

    • the Presidio Shuttle that connects Downtown with the Presidio. The reference stop is Presidio Transit Center from which the museum is a few minutes' walk away; the service is free from 9:30 to 16:00 and after 19:30; at other times a MUNI Passport is required (we talked about it here)
    • the Golden Gate Transit with buses 4, 10, 24, 54, 70, 72, 76, 101, 101x getting off at the stop on the corner of Richardson Avenue and Francisco Street; from here you have to walk for about 15 minutes

    Useful information: timetables and prices

    The Walt Disney Museum is open from 10:00 to 17:00 Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Last admission is at 16pm. In addition to Tuesdays, the museum is closed on January 00st, Thanksgiving Day and December 1th. The Admission it costs $ 25 for adults, $ 20 for students and over 65s, $ 15 for children between 6 and 17 and free for children under 5. Some exhibitions or particular exhibitions and the screening of some films or cartoons may have an additional cost not included in the entrance ticket.

    Buy the skip-the-line ticket

    The museum is included in the list of attractions to choose from San Francisco C3 Pass di CityPASS and in GO Card San Francisco. To find out more, read our article dedicated to San Francisco pass.

    Where to sleep in the area

    As mentioned, the museum is located inside the Presidium, the closest neighborhoods are those of Pacific Heights, Cow hollow e Marina District. However, if you want to have a more complete overview of all the recommended neighborhoods in the city, I suggest you read our in-depth analysis by clicking on the link below.

    Where to sleep in San Francisco

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