Day #43 - Disney & Doubtfire

"We haven't done many museums on this trip," I said as we ventured out this morning, only to realise that our first destination was a museum! We were heading to the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco - a park and former U.S. Army post on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula (more on this later). 

To be honest, as much as I love Disney - the man, his work and his legacy, I wasn't expecting much from this museum. Some home movies, some pairs of old shoes, a signed photo - that kind of thing because I assumed that the Walt Disney Company and specifically their archives would have most artefacts related to the man himself. I was wrong. 

This was a wonderful and lovingly put together exhibition of Walt's life; his roots, his early work, his struggles, his successes. All told in a simple linear way, supported by a wealth of heirlooms, antiquities, memorabilia and genuine important movie artefacts. The first that caught my eye and was genuinely excited by was the Honorary Academy Award (an Oscar) Walt Disney was presented with by Shirley Temple in 1939.

Sorry for the reflections, I tried to minimise them!

The museum chronicled Walt's family life as well as his professional career. There were lots of insights to his mindset and determination as well as his resolve and belief in what he wanted to achieve. It is clear from all the projects he undertook, he wasn't someone who would shy away from something just because it was difficult or he didn't manage it first time. 

Another exciting artifact was potentially the first drawing of Mickey Mouse (they can't quite substantiate the claim, but it's very likely). 

Is this the moment Mickey was brought to life?

I won't bore you with what else I found exciting (there was a lot) but highlights included a multiplane camera, artists' models of the Seven Dwarfs, all the drawing that made up just 15 seconds of Steamboat Willy, one of the benches Walt sat on watching the Merry-Go-Round in Griffith Park, LA where Walt first began thinking about amusement parks and a spectacular model of Disneyland California. 

It was lovely to have visited the museum after having experienced Walt Disney World so recently. We were able to relate our experiences to his vision; our joy to his wonder.

After the museum we wandered back through the Presidio which was a little bit like a cross between a theme park and a retirement village! Apparently this area had been a fort since 1776 due to its strategic location as it looks across the bay. Now it's been repurposed as a National Park, with some housing, light industry and a lovely garden and view point area where you cannot help but capture more picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

I forgot to say yesterday I was curious as to why the Golden Gate bridge is so named. My research told me that it's a very simple name - it's a bridge that spans the Golden Gate (the Golden Gate being the strait that connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. At the time of its opening in 1937, it was both the longest and the tallest suspension bridge in the world, titles it held until 1964 and 1998 respectively. Its main span is 4,200 feet (1,280 m) and its total height is 746 feet (227 m).

The Golden Gate Bridge from the Presidio

We continued our walk along the Presidio area to the Palace of Fine Arts. This is another well known and well photographed landmark, featured in many TV and film shows. I vaguely remember visiting it last time I was here, but for some reason, my memory placed it in the middle of a large park! It's in a park, but a small one, surrounded by roads and buildings. 

It was originally built for the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition to exhibit works of art. Over the years, it has had to be restored, rebuild and reinforced and so what we see today isn't that old. 

Our third destination for today was another movie location. We both have fond memories of watching Mrs Doubtfire and usually finish watching it whenever we stumble across it on the TV. Therefore, the "Mrs. Doubtfire House" was a destination on the list. It was a pleasant if hot 40 min walk from the Palace of Fine Arts to the house, but this being San Francisco, a steep hill was involved! However, we stuck to the shady side of the streets and made our way up to see this famous residence.

If you want to see the house in action, click here. 

Our Uber back to the apartment was also cool since the app sent us a Tesla to ride home in. Not only was this beautifully air conditioned, the driver had soothing cool jazz playing and did you know their sat-nav displays real time traffic and pedestrian movements? How cool but also how freaky!!

For our evening meal, we headed out with Jose and Javier who took us to a small authentic Mexican restaurant in the Mission District where we enjoyed some great dishes and good conversation.


  1. I haven't watched Mrs Doubtfire for years!

  2. We watched it before we came out here for research purposes. Well worth a rewatch. Of course, it's a musical now as well. Want to see that too!


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