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The Walt Disney Family Museum is perhaps the best kids’ museum you’ve never heard of. With an unbeatable location in San Francisco’s revitalized Presidio, the museum chronicles the life of the animation visionary as well as the achievements that made his company a household name through videos, interactive screens, artwork, and family artifacts. Recently, the museum has been stepping up its game with special exhibits that expand on specific accomplishments and influences in Walt’s life.
Minutes after leaving our Union Square hotel my family managed to stumble across the only Disney Store in San Francisco. Did we really need to fly to one of the greatest cities in the world to visit a chain store? Of course not.
But what if I told you Disney ran a museum crackling with Disney magic, including rare film clips and artifacts you won’t find in any retail store? You really would have to fly to San Francisco for that and head to the Presidio’s under-hyped Walt Disney Family Museum, a three-building, 77,000 square foot space that opened in Fall 2009.
One goal of the museum is to focus on Walt Disney himself. According to his eldest daughter, museum co-founder Diane Disney Miller, “My father has one of the most well-known names around the world, but as the Disney ‘brand’ has grown, the man has become lost,” so parents in particular as well as older kids might find the museum’s audio interviews and conversations with Disney co-workers enlightening.
Upping the ante for the younger set are exhibits on the making of the game-changing Snow White animated film as well as the development of the Disney theme parks. Kids of all attention spans will also delight in the more than 200 monitors rolling clips from movies and shorts, including some Walt Disney home movies never before seen by the public.
Should you want to build a family vacation around a pilgrimage to the museum and such neighboring points of interest as Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge, three Union Square-area boutique hotels in the Joie de Vivre group, the Galleria Park, Hotel Rex, and Hotel Adagio, will be using four museum admission tickets as the centerpiece of their summer family getaway package.
Among the other package inclusions are three tickets to whatever movie is playing at the museum, a bottle of vino from a Bay Area winery, and a philanthropic touch: for every night of your stay at one of the hotels, five dollars will be donated to the Art for Life Foundation, which coordinates art programs for kids in hospitals recovering from surgery or illness.
The deal, which starts at $219 per night, is good for travel through September 5, 2011; a seven-day advance purchase is required and some blackout dates may apply. As of this writing, the hotel’s websites had not posted details of the deal, so inquire by phone at the respective hotels about the “Joy of Family” package.
For general trip-planning information, see our San Francisco Travel Guide, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and more.
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