San Francisco Trip Report Update (8/5/15) | Where Did I Leave My Heart?

Chapter 11
To All Who Come to This Happy Place…

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The next few displays in the museum focused on Walt’s love of miniatures, so it was clear that we were starting to get close to the Disneyland room.

As we passed through a corridor with lots of windows, we got another great peek at the Golden Gate Bridge.

At the end of the hallway was another of the benches from Griffith Park. Like the one at Disneyland, this one claims to be where Walt was sitting when he dreamed up his idea for the first theme park. Hard to say which one is accurate—or if either of them are—but it’s still a really cool artifact.

It’s also kind of neat that you are allowed to sit on this bench.

Here’s the plaque describing the idea for Disneyland.

As we turned the corner into the Disneyland gallery, everything felt alive in a new and exciting way. The rest of the museum is incredible, but this room was certainly the one we were most looking forward to seeing.

It’s definitely one of the more spacious parts of the museum, and every wall is lined with Disneyland information and artifacts. It’s also the most futuristic part of the museum to highlight Walt’s interest in the latest technologies and discoveries.

The walkway is a ramp that takes you from the upper level of the room down to the lower level. The entire Carolwood Pacific railroad has been transplanted to the top of the ramp, so it’s the first thing you see after the big reveal.

I’d obviously read and heard plenty of stories about this backyard railroad and seen occasional pictures, but it was tough to visualize until I was standing right in front of it.

It’s crazy to imagine Walt, his family, and the neighborhood kids riding around atop this thing and going through tunnels and over hills.

It’s also fascinating to consider how little (or not-so-little) projects like this were all stepping stones toward the creation of the park that we know and love today.

It was fun seeing this plaque about the original Herb Ryman sketch of Disneyland and reminiscing about the D23 Expo, when we got to see the original in person.

This is the text that goes along with the drawing, which helped Roy pitch the idea to potential investors.

Here’s a ticket from the ill-fated press preview on July 17, 1955.

One of the most awe-inspiring things about this gallery is the enormous Disneyland model that it features.

If you notice, this isn’t a model of the park on opening day or at any given point in time. Instead, it’s the Disneyland of Walt’s imagination—featuring some extinct attractions alongside others that are still in existence today. It’s truly huge, so we had to look at it from various different angles.

Here’s how the model is described.

As we came down the ramp, there were several more plaques and displays highlighting early Disneyland history to look at.

CircleVision camera.

This is the proof that was used to make the Disneyland dedication plaque—and it’s marked with Walt’s “Ok” in the margin.

Concept models for the Riverboat and Doom Buggy.

The picture is blurry, but Walt’s TV announcement about the park is also playing on a loop.

There’s a lot to take in as you walk through this room, and we wished it wasn’t getting so close to the museum’s closing time so that we could really have given the gallery its due. Next time, this will be one of the places where we try to spend a lot of time.

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About Wandering Mouseketeers

We are Taylor and Tracy — husband and wife from Boulder, CO — and we love all things Disney, as well as general travel. This website was originally created to showcase our Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line trip reports, but we've also got an entire series of blog posts about what it was like to live for a year and a half in Orange County, CA. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading about our various adventures. All of our Disney trip reports have lots of pictures and details that you can use to plan your next vacation!