Walt’s Plane Touches Down on the West Coast for D23 Expo
We’ve got some exciting news to share with those heading out to Anaheim, California for this year’s D23 Expo. The ultimate Disney fan event will take place from September 9 through 11, 2022 and Walt’s original private airplane has officially touched down in the area to be on display!
D23 and the Walt Disney Archives along with sponsor Amazon have resorted the plane’s exterior so that guests can view this iconic item. Walt’s Plane will be displayed along with a specially curated exhibit in the Arena of the Anaheim Convention Center called Mickey mouse One: Walt’s Plane. The exhibit will highlight the history of the plane dubbed The Mouse and showcase it’s significance in The Walt Disney Company’s history.
The recently updated plane now features new wing edges and windows. Guests will also be able to view items from the aircraft’s interior including a customized instrument panel which was originally located near Walt’s favorite seat so that he could monitor the flight conditions. You’ll also see a telephone handset that gave Walt a direct line of communication to the pilot. A flight bag will also be on display that features Mickey Mouse sitting on the tail of the plane.
This is the first time that Walt’s airplane has been on the West Coast since October 8, 1992. At that time it landed on World Drive in Orlando, Florida where it resided as part of the Studios Backlot Tour at Disney-MGM Studios until 2014.
The interior of the plane was actually designed with creative input by Walt and his wife Lillian. The aircraft seats up to 15 passengers . It features a galley kitchen, two restrooms, two couches and a desk. There are plenty of nods to Mickey including matchbooks, stationary and more. Mickey’s initials are also included in the tail numbers of the plane – N234MM, in 1967.
Walt’s plane was in service for 28 years and flew 20,000 hours and over 83,000 passengers before it was grounded.
During D23, guests will be able to see first hand the role this iconic plane played throughout The Walt Disney Company’s history. Here are some initial fun facts to give you an example:
- In 1963, Walt, members of his family, and company executives took off on a demonstration Gulfstream aircraft to explore potential locations, including Central Florida, for a proposed development often referred to as “Project X.” After Walt received his own Gulfstream in early 1964, he made several trips to Florida that ultimately laid the foundation to bring the magic of Walt Disney World to life.
- Walt’s plane flew a total of 277,282 miles back and forth between Burbank and New York to oversee preparations before and during the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair, an event that brought iconic attractions such as “it’s a small world” to an East Coast audience and, later, to Disneyland.
- The plane also took Disneyland to new heights as Walt found inspiration for the look of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction as he flew over the El Moro fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while conducting research for the now fan favorite.
- “The Mouse” has a star-studded past, having been used for promotional tours for and in classic movies such as The Jungle Book (1967), as well as making appearances in The Walt Disney Studios films The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) and Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (1972), both of which starred Disney Legend Kurt Russell. The aircraft has also transported notable guests including Disney Legends Julie Andrews and Annette Funicello, as well as former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
- Painted blue and white in 1985, Walt’s plane embarked on goodwill tours and character visits to children’s hospitals, adding to the company’s history of giving back to the community.
Though D23 Expo is sold out. Select presentations will be streamed for guests at D23 Expo [LIVE]. MickeyBlog will also be at the event and we promise to keep you updated about all the D23 happenings!
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