Disney Restores Walt’s Plane Left to Rot in Florida Field – Look Inside

Walt Disney’s Grumman Gulfstream I aircraft will debut in its new home at the Palm Springs Air Museum on Saturday, October 15.

Walt’s Plane

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The company’s flagship, refurbished by Walt Disney Imagineering and The Walt Disney Archives, was affectionately known throughout its storied history as Walt’s Plane and The Mouse.

Walt's Plane

Walt’s Plane

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Disney CEO Bob Chapek has unveiled the restored Mickey Mouse One to its “full original glory” as the centerpiece of the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.

Walt Disney's Airplane

Walt Disney’s Grumman Gulfstream I aircraft will debut in its new home at the Palm Springs Air Museum on October 15.

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“This little beauty has been basking in the Florida sun for about 40 years,” Chapek said at Expo D23.

Bob Chapeck

Bob Chapek at D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim, CA.

LA/Disney Picture Group via Getty Images


From his cabin window, Disney surveyed the brush-filled swamps of central Florida in the 1960s that would become Walt Disney World – then known under the codename Project X.

Walt Disney's Airplane

Walt Disney’s Airplane

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“Walt made several trips to Florida to view the property and to go back and forth with his Imagineers,” said Becky Cline, director of the Walt Disney Archives. “It wasn’t just Florida they were looking for with Project X. They wanted to do a Disneyland on the east coast. They looked at a number of different places on the east coast.

Walt Disney's Airplane

Walt Disney’s Airplane

Walt Disney Archives


A custom instrument panel with an altimeter, true airspeed indicator and Mickey Mouse clock allowed the aviation enthusiast to monitor flight conditions from his favorite cabin seat.

Walt Disney's Airplane

Walt Disney’s Airplane

Walt Disney Archives


A nearby telephone handset gave him a direct line of communication with the pilot in the cockpit.

Walt's Plane

Walt’s Plane

Brady MacDonald/Insider


Walt never became a pilot, but that didn’t stop him from getting into the cockpit. “A lot of times he would get in and sit in the co-pilot’s seat and watch the plane fly,” Cline said in a phone interview. “He was fascinated by all modes of travel.”

waltz disney

Walt Disney prepares to board a helicopter bound for his Disneyland theme park, under construction in Anaheim, California, circa 1955.

Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images


The flight crew always kept a Mickey Mouse matchbook next to the plane’s Duk-It ashtray for the boss – a longtime smoker.

Walt Disney's Airplane

Walt Disney’s Airplane

Walt Disney Archive


Passengers traveling on The Mouse received a flight bag featuring a silhouette of Mickey lounging on the tail of the Gulfstream.

Walt Disney's Airplane

Walt Disney’s Airplane

Walt Disney Archive


Disney pilots would often change the air traffic controller call “Two, Three, Four, Metro Metro” to “Two, Three, Four, Mickey Mouse” when approaching an airport.

Walt Disney's Airplane

Walt Disney’s Airplane

Walt Disney Archive


Disney dinner

“There was a fully equipped galley in the master cabin, which was special at the time,” Cline said. “He was able to provide in-flight meals for the 18 people on board. There was a sink, a hot oven, food storage, trays and heating elements so they could heat up Walt’s chili and that sort of thing.

Walt Disney's Airplane

Walt Disney’s Airplane

Walt Disney Archives


“They had a drop-down table so they could have meetings and drawings and layout graphics,” Cline said. “Frankly, that’s the main reason Walt wanted the plane. He wanted a private plane so he could keep working, which he couldn’t do when he was flying commercially.”

waltz disney

Air hostess Izola Readle picks up tickets from cartoonist Walt Disney, featuring his Mickey Mouse creation, in Newark, New Jersey as they board a plane en route to the Chicago World’s Fair.

Credit: Bettmann/Getty