The Walt Disney Family Museum, here in San Francisco, is currently featuring a limited-time exhibit on the creation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This is one of my favorite childhood films, and it warms my heart to see Emma love it as much as I do. So this has been something on our must-see list.
Last weekend, we spent an afternoon at the museum just to see Snow White, The Creation of a Classic. As you walk through the exhibit, you relive the story and get a good understanding how it was created. The exhibit itself is fascinating. I loved seeing the artistry and how complex it was for its time — 1937! It gives you a much better picture of the enormous undertaking this film required. It took Walt’s master storytelling plus an entire team to create his vision. When finished, the film tallied 32 animators, 1,032 assistants, 107 inbetweeners, 10 layout artists, 25 background artists, 65 special effects animators, and 158 inkers and painters! Now you know why the credits roll for so long.
Many doubted Walt Disney would be able to pull off a full-length animated film, as Snow White was the first. Critics predicted massive failure and wide disinterest among movie-going crowds — they didn’t think people would sit through a cartoon more than one hour long. But 75 years ago, Walt’s vision came alive. Fortunately, for all generations that followed, the critics were proven wrong. Snow White became a legendary film for both young and old.
The Snow White exhibit was a little over Emma’s head; though she loved seeing the photos, framed sketches, animation cells, and movie clips. It had enough to keep her entertained while we enjoyed it. However, if you have children under 6, have the expectation that they might not be as interested in all the details as you are. So be prepared to fly through the small two-floor exhibit a little quicker than you might like.
A bonus of the Disney Family Museum is the small movie theater tucked away on the bottom floor. Through the duration of the exhibit (until April 14), one of the showtimes almost every day is dedicated to a screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. When Emma heard that we were going to see the movie again, her excitement really kicked in. Even though we’ve seen the movie a hundred times, with Emma, it’s like seeing it for the first time all over again. And I see the film differently now that I know a bit more of the grueling process and the intense care Walt took in creating this classic.
The Snow White exhibit runs through April 14, 2013. Tickets are available online or at the museum front desk. If you only want to see the special exhibit, entry admission is $10 per person, and it’s free for kids under 6 if they’re with an adult. Tickets for movies at the museum are $7 for adults, and $5 for kids 17 and under. I recommend doing exactly what we did, and in the same order. First, tour through the exhibit and build the excitement. Then take in the 84-minute screening of the classic. Follow it with a diner dinner at Mel’s Drive-In on Lombard Street, and you’ve got yourself a memorable family day.
Check the calendar to confirm hours and show times before you go. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.