More details have been revealed about the restoration of Walt Disney’s company plane, the vehicle he used to fly over future Walt Disney World property. It will be on display during the upcoming D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.
The plane also was part of the Backlot Studio Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios until that attraction was closed in 2014.
The plane, a Grumman Gulfstream I that was also called “The Mouse,” will be part of an exhibit that highlights its history during the expo, set for Sept. 9-11. It has been repainted with update wing edges and windows, according to a news release from D23, the official fan club of Walt Disney Co.
[ Disney World at 50: Walt tours his Central Florida land ]
Items from inside the plane also will be on display, including a customized instrument panel, a telephone handset that Walt Disney used to communicate with the pilot up in the cockpit, a flight bag with an image of Mickey Mouse sitting on the tail of the plane and more, D23 says.
The plane also was used to transport Walt between company headquarters in Burbank, California, and New York in preparation for the 1964 World’s Fair, the original home of attractions such as Carousel of Progress and “it’s a small world,” which were eventually re-created for Magic Kingdom. It was also seen in Disney films, including “The Computer Wore Tennis Shows” and “Now You See Him, Now You Don’t.”
The plane could seat up to 15 passengers; among its famed fliers were Julie Andrews, Annette Funicello, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. It flew about 83,000 passengers in its 28 years in the air for the company, Disney says.
It will be The Mouse’s first time back in California since it landed on World Drive in Central Florida in 1992. After leaving the Backlot Tour, the plane spent time “off stage” away from public eye on Disney property near Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
D23 Expo, which is sold out, begins the celebration of 100 years of Walt Disney Co.
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