Disney announces plans to restore the interior of Walt Disney's Plane to its 1960s design

Dec 06, 2022 in "D23 - Official Fan Organization"

Posted: Tuesday December 6, 2022 7:07am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Celebrating Walt Disney's birthday yesterday, The Palm Springs Air Museum opened a new exhibit to accompany Walt Disney's Grumman Gulfstream I airplane. 

Rarely exhibited items from the interior of the aircraft, known as "The Mouse," are now on display for visitors to the Palm Springs Air Museum. Items include a customized instrument panel originally located near Walt's favorite onboard seat that allowed him to monitor flight conditions; a telephone handset that gave Walt a direct line of communication to the pilot in the cockpit; a flight bag featuring an image of Mickey Mouse sitting on the tail of the iconic plane; and more. These items are on long-term loan from the Walt Disney Archives to the museum.

The Palm Springs Air Museum, in conjunction with Phoenix Air, will restore and recreate the interior of the Gulfstream I to resemble what it looked like when Walt flew it in the 1960s. Museum Vice Chairman Fred Bell said, "We are so thrilled to partner with the Walt Disney Archives on this amazing restoration project. The Palm Springs Air Museum has restored over 60 aircraft in its 26-year history. Phoenix Air Group out of Cartersville, Georgia, has offered to donate any parts we need. Phoenix Air Group is a worldwide provider of aviation services, and at one point, owned and operated 20% of the world fleet of Gulfstream I's flying at the time. 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."

Walt acquired the iconic Gulfstream in 1963. The interior of the plane, initially designed with creative input from Walt and his wife, Lillian, seated up to 15 passengers and included a galley kitchen, two restrooms, two couches, a desk, and nods to the mouse who started it all, including matchbooks and stationery adorned with a silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Mickey's initials were eventually included in the tail number of the plane, too, as N234MM, in 1967

The restoration process is expected to take two years to complete.

The Palm Springs Air Museum is a living history museum that contains more than 75 vintage airframes, including those from the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. The museum is also home to airframes from across the spectrum of military aviation: World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the F-117 Stealth Fighter. The planes are housed inside 91,000 square feet of open hangars and on the tarmac at a 10-acre facility. To learn more, visit PalmSpringsAirMuseum.org

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HauntedPirateDec 12, 2022

My comment wasn’t directed at you, by any means. 😉 I’d imagine whatever they put in there would be “real” but not functional.

JoeCamelDec 12, 2022


joshwillDec 12, 2022

i said "replace", not get the original ones re·place /rəˈplās/ verb 1. take the place of. "Ian's smile was replaced by a frown"

joshwillDec 12, 2022

i was relying to someone who said then engines were sold off, that all. no purpose othere than making the plane whole again

HauntedPirateDec 08, 2022

The airframe. A few artifacts that were kept over the years. Other than that, likely not much survived unless the archives (or some other entity who would keep the stuff) stripped it all out after it flew to Orlando for the last time.

MisterPenguinDec 08, 2022

Will anything of the original plane be left? This is a plane of Theseus.

SmoothDec 08, 2022

Well ... We know that they can at least make the propellers spin

JoeCamelDec 08, 2022

I would hope there would be engines in the nacelles working or not

ohioguyDec 08, 2022

They are restoring the exterior and interior; they typically don't restore engines for non-flying aircraft used for historical preservation.

Figments FriendDec 08, 2022

I am very pleased to learn of the plans to restore the interior. It is absolutely wonderful that what seemed to be abandoned, forgotten, and left to slowly decay out of sight has been salvaged and saved. Just so happy this historic airplane is getting the love it has needed for so many years, and deserves. -

GoofyernmostDec 08, 2022

Seriously, is it possible for you to do anything but insult people you don't agree with. Unless you have absolute proof that they are still there in their original state you really don't know anymore about it then you claim I do. It is completely unimportant either way, but no let's try to make yourself the person with all the answers. To me it makes no sense that they would have kept them in because they worked when they flew it from California. They are heavy and would just add to the issue of craning it into place and easily removing the wings when they wanted to move it. It was an old plane before they ever put it in DHS and they had other newer planes in the inventory by that time. I don't see that they ever had any intention of going into the wild blue yonder again. They may or may not be still there, but I can't see Disney passing up on 10's of thousands of dollars when they had no need for them anymore. I know the tail number is still in Disney's name, but that is more than likely just to keep others from getting that number. Small price to pay to keep it in the family. You know it is possible for someone to have an opinion that differs from yours. It doesn't mean that the other opinion is frivolous or wrong. Without proof, either opinion could be nothing more than wishful thinking. So can we end this foolishness and attempt at superiority and just agree to disagree?

HauntedPirateDec 07, 2022

"Why do you care? I don't care, so you shouldn't either. It's pointless in my mind and thus no one else should care about it and there's no reason to even discuss it." I could easily see why a museum would want to have an entire aircraft restored, from nose to tail. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. There is zero evidence that the engines were, in fact, sold and removed and replaced by... something... to make it look like there were engines there during the time it was in the Backlot. I mean, it flew to Florida in 1992 and was then lifted by crane into it's Backlot spot. I could see draining the engines of any fluids, but why bother selling two engines that wouldn't even be a drop in the ocean for a company the size of Disney, even back then? Makes about as much sense as the poster in question most times.

EeyoreFan#24Dec 07, 2022

I just mean there are people who take aviation very seriously and may want to make efforts to be as close to complete as possible.

JoeCamelDec 07, 2022

"If they aren't Walt's engines just fuggaboutit.."