With the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company on its way, lots of new things are coming.
We’ve seen details about when the anniversary celebrations will reach Disneyland and we’ve gotten a peek at new 100th Anniversary merchandise that’ll be online soon. But that doesn’t mean some older pieces of Disney history aren’t getting some love too. During the D23 Expo, we got to admire the restored outside of Walt Disney’s plane — the Mouse. And soon another part of The Mouse will be changing.
As part of the D23 Expo experience in California in 2022, Walt Disney’s plane returned to the West Coast for the FIRST time since 1992. Talk about a long absence! During the Expo, we got to take a look at the plane. Walt Disney’s Grumman Gulfstream I plane — also known as “The Mouse” — got restored for this exhibit.
Here’s a look at it from the past…
…and now into the present!
For a long time, the plane had been covered up in Florida. But now the outside has been restored to its former glory. That might lead you to wonder…the outside has been restored, but what does the INSIDE look like? Well, soon that inside will be looking great thanks to a new restoration project that has been announced.
On Walt Disney’s birthday in 2022 (December 5th), it was announced that the Palm Springs Air Museum, along with Phoenix Air, will “restore and recreate the interior” of the Mouse to “resemble what it looked like when Walt flew it in the 1960s,” according to D23.
Fred Bell, the Museum Vice Chairman, said, “We know that we have a special responsibility to Walt Disney, to the Archives, and to the millions of Disney fans around the world to do this work as accurately as possible so that the airplane can be enjoyed for decades to come.”
The project is expected to take about 2 years to complete.
After the D23 Expo in 2022, the Mouse traveled to Palm Springs. It’s on display in the Palm Springs Air Museum, along with “rarely exhibited items from the interior of the aircraft.”
If you stop by the museum, you might just be able to look at the customized instrument panel from the plane (it was near Walt’s favorite seat!), a phone that gave Walt direct access to the pilot, a flight bag featuring Mickey, and more.
Did you know that the plane could seat up to 15 passengers and had a galley kitchen, 2 restrooms, 2 couches, a desk, and (of course) nods to Mickey Mouse? And Mickey’s initials (MM) were even included in the tail number of the plane — N234MM!
The plane was in service for 28 years for the Walt Disney Company. Walt used this plane to make trips to Florida to lay the groundwork for what would become Disney World.
He also used the plane to fly to New York as preparations were underway for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair (which would become the taking-off point for “it’s a small world” and more). And the plane took Walt over El Moro fortress in Puerto Rico as he looked for inspiration for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
Even Julie Andrews and some U.S. presidents have been on the plane!
We can’t wait to see how this project progresses in the upcoming years and see the plane restored to its former glory on the inside, matching its shiny, restored exterior.
Be sure to stay tuned for more news about this project. For more about unique things in Disney history, check out our post about the man you should really thank for Mickey Mouse (spoiler: it isn’t Walt), or take a look at what Disney World looked like back in 1971.
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What is your favorite fact about Walt Disney? Tell us in the comments!