Walt Disney’s Private Plane Finds a New Home

in Disney

walt disney plane d23

Credit: D23

A new hidden “Mickey” has been found at the Palm Springs Air Museum, but not in the traditional way you would expect, like at the theme parks.

By “Mickey,” we’re actually referring to “The Mouse,” the nickname for Walt Disney’s personal plane “Grumman Gulfstream I,” which can now be seen at the Palm Springs Air Museum in California. The museum hosted a private, exclusive viewing party last Saturday for this plane, but as of Sunday, it is open to the public as part of the museum’s collection.

walt disney plane d23
Credit: D23

This plane has had a long and intricate history. Here is just a brief insight into the origin of the plane until now.

  • 1960– Disney started looking for a plane after he was discouraged by commercial airlines. “The Mouse” was then designed, with Disney and his wife providing valuable input. This plane would seat more than 15 passengers but would also include a kitchen, two couches, two restrooms, a desk, and several details inspired by a Mouse- Mickey Mouse, that is.
  • 1963– Disney bought the plane and used it to find locations where he could build what is now known as Walt Disney World Resort.
  • 1969– The plane appeared in Disney’s The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes film.
  • 1971– Two years later, “The Mouse” also appeared in the Disney Film Now You See Him, Now You Don’t.
  • 1985– “The Mouse” was moved to Orlando and became part of the display at the Studio Backlot Tour at modern-day Disney Hollywood Studios.
  • 1992– The plane was decommissioned. However, before that, it had flown 20,000 hours and transported 83,000 passengers. These passengers included big names such as US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, as well as Disney stars Julie Andrews and Annette Funicello.
  • 2014– The Orlando tour closed, and the plane began to deteriorate after being placed in a nearby field.
  • 2022– In September, it was announced at D23 by Walt Disney Imagineering and the Walt Disney Archives that Disney’s plane was being restored.
walt disney plane d23
Credit: D23

Related: Walt Disney’s Abandoned Plane Will Come Back to Life This Year

On December 5, which just so happens to be Walt Disney’s birthday, the museum will have a new exhibit, featuring the plane’s history. According to organizers,

“The exhibit will feature Disney’s favorite seat, where he monitored flight conditions, and a telephone handset he used to communicate with the pilot.”

This new exhibit will also explain why “The Mouse” is important to Palm Springs, as well as its significance to the Walt Disney Company’s history.

Did you know about Walt Disney’s plane? What other fact about “The Mouse” surprised you the most? Share your thoughts below!

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