If you’re a fan of the Walt Disney Company’s history, or even the life’s story of the man himself, here are five Disney museums you’ll want to add to your bucket list.
Museum days are a wonderful break from the hustle and bustle of a Disney Parks vacation, an opportunity to spend a day immersed in quiet contemplation and education, and for Disney fans, a rare opportunity to see artifacts connected to Walt Disney himself!
Walt Disney Family Museum, Northern California
First opened by Diane Disney Miller in 2007 to house her family’s personal collection of Disney paraphernalia, the Walt Disney Family Museum specializes in telling not just Walt’s story but that of the Disney heirs and animation history.
The Philadelphia Institute, Pennsylvania
This famous scientific research facility also serves as the home of the Ben Franklin memorial. Plus, as part of Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder Celebration, it will host the Walt Disney Archives’ Disney100: The Exhibition, a 15,000-square-foot exhibit that “invites Guests to step into their favorite stories using innovative and immersive technology throughout 10 galleries.”
Walt Disney Hometown Museum, Missouri
If you’d like to take a trip back in time, there’s no better place to visit than the Walt Disney Hometown Museum right in the heart of Main Street, U.S.A… aka Marceline! In honor of Walt’s love of trains, the museum, which began with Ruth Disney Beecher’s personal collection of family items, resides in a former Santa Fe depot. You can also visit nearby locations important to a young Walt Disney’s childhood history.
Palm Springs Air Museum, Southern California
Even if you aren’t invested in retro aviation, Disney history fans will want to visit Walt’s custom Gulfstream plane while it’s on long-term loan from the Walt Disney Archives. Moreover, Palm Springs remains a special place to Walt, who visited often and where Disney will open it’s future residential community, Cotino.
Walt’s Birthplace, Illinois
If you’d like to go back to the beginning, you will soon be able to do so at the Walt Disney Birthplace. The restoration project team is currently working to return the Chicago family home to its original form, designed by Elias and Flora Disney. What’s more, it will house an early childhood education center, and donors can even get their names on a plaque or paver stone on the property.
BONUS: Walt’s Carolwood Barn
Remember how we said Walt Disney loves trains? Well, he loved them so much so that he even had his own barn for them, a Griffith Park structure that volunteers lovingly restored, filled with Walt’s railroad memorabilia, and now operate “on behalf of the Walt Disney Family Foundation.” While you’re nearby, you can even visit the iconic Griffith Park carousel which “inspired” Disneyland and dine at Walt’s table in the Tam ‘O Shanter.
Which historic Disney museum will you visit first?