Disneyland is Closed — What of Walt’s Museum?

Update 11/28/2020: The city of San Francisco has announced new COVID-19 restrictions in light of a spike in cases in the Bay Area.

The (empty) first room of the Walt Disney Family Museum features an ambulance, like the one Walt would have driven during World War I. (Photo: Christopher J. Beale)
October 6, 2019: Aboard the Mark Twain on my last trip to Disneyland.
The Presidio has a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. (Photo: Christopher J. Beale)
A baggie containing a stylus “to push the buttons” and a sealed pair of headphones. (Photo: Christopher J. Beale)

As alarming as it was — I kind of liked the feeling of being alone in the museum.

Vacant was the next room, as well as the elevator to the museum’s second level. The first place I encountered guests was in the room representing Walt’s arrival in Hollywood in the 1920s. I only crossed paths with a handful of parties, varying in size from two to as many as six people, the entire time I was in the museum. Everyone was masked and socially distanced appropriately.

The museums many hands-on exhibits, mainly targeted at children, were all deactivated and marked “closed.” (Photo: Christopher J. Beale)
This bench, which once sat in Los Angeles’ Griffith park, is believed to be the place where Walt first imagined the idea for Disneyland.

His fingerprints are literally all over the room.

The Walt Disney Family Museum is taking all of the prescribed precautions and working to keep as much of their collection open to the public as possible. The collection is really magnificent. If you are a Disney fan like I am…a visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum will replenish a little of that joy you are missing. The final space will make you weep. Luckily for you — it’s followed by a gift shop.


Christopher J. Beale is an independent journalist and radio host/producer based in San Francisco. You can reach him on Twitter at @RealChrisJBeale, and listen to his podcast Unpacked.

Journalist and multimedia producer based in San Francisco. Bylines: KQED, Outword Magazine, KALW, The Bold Italic christopherjbeale.com

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