Private jets have long been associated as accessories of the lifestyles of the rich and famous. That’s why it’s no surprise that Walt Disney has his own “Disney private jet” decked out in all things Disney. The Grumman Gulfstream, dubbed “The Mouse,” featured a highly custom interior designed with the input of Disney himself.
The plane that was once left to rot has now been somewhat restored (though not to the degree it once was when in use by Walt Disney) and will be displayed at the D23 Expo in SoCal before being moved to a permanent home in the Palm Springs Air Museum.
Here’s a look back at The Mouse and why it remains such an icon in private air travel today.
The Mouse Private Jet: A Quick History
Walt Disney first brought The Mouse into service in 1963 after it underwent a three-month interior transformation. The Disney private jet wasn’t the only one used by Walt, but it would go on to serve him for 28 years across 20,000 hours of flight.
During its heyday, the aircraft transported an estimated 83,000 passengers before its final flight in 1992. After being grounded, the plane remained empty at Disney Studios in a private backstage location before efforts to restore it began more than two decades later.
The aircraft boasted seating for up to 15 passengers and three crew members, alongside a galley-style kitchen, two sofas, a desk, and two lavatories.
Throughout the aircraft, elements of Disney’s iconic characters shined, including Mickey Mouse matchbooks, stationery, clock, and cockpit dials. Walt even included the famous mouse’s initials in the aircraft’s registration numbers – N234MM. See-through partitions enclosed leaves from Walt’s garden. Walt had a custom-made instrument panel installed near his seat so he could monitor flight conditions. He also had a personal phone line for direct communication with the pilot in the cockpit.
With Walt and his wife giving creative input throughout the design, the aircraft gave a homey vibe that made it easy to mix business with pleasure.
The Mouse Private Jet Today
Having sat empty for the majority of two decades, the plane received a fresh coat of paint and other restoration details prior to the 2022 expo. It also received updated wing edges and windows, thanks to Disney’s team of Imagineers.
The majority of the magic inside the aircraft had long been stripped, with a few exceptions. Many of the pieces that made the plane so iconic have been sold or scrapped. The remaining elements include a few pieces of Mouse-branded stationery, Walt’s favorite cabin seat, letters, gauges, and a few other small items.
The Disney private jet is no longer capable of flying, and no plans are being made to restore it to air-worthy capabilities. Instead, it will now be displayed so that more generations can enjoy this little slice of Disney magic.
What’s Next: Disney Ventures into the Private Jet Market
While The Mouse may be out of service, Disney continues to share its magic via private air travel. The company recently announced private jet excursion tours, with the first department scheduled in July 2023.
The excursion is limited to just 75 passengers and includes stops in six countries during a 24-day span. Each piece of the trip includes VIP amenities and experiences, including a private tour of the Lucasfilm campus and Skywalker Ranch. It also includes 12 Disney theme parks along with world-famous sites like the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, and Pyramids of Giza.
At Access Jet Group, we help our clients book their dream vacations to Disney or anywhere else in the world. Travel on your terms and in the utmost comfort and style. Schedule a no-obligation consultation today!