N234MM, a retired Gulfstream I owned by the Walt Disney Co. and formerly used as personal transport for Walt Disney himself, will be a featured attraction at this year’s D23 Convention at the Anaheim Convention Center next door to Disneyland in September, the company announced yesterday. The exhibit will be called "Mickey Mouse One: Walt’s Plane presented by Amazon." The twin-turboprop was purchased in 1964 by Disney, who designed its interior with his wife, Lillian. It featured a galley, a pair of couches, a desk, and a jump seat right behind the cockpit for the ever-inquisitive Disney to occupy during flights.
The aircraft was used to fly Disney and his staff back and forth from California to New York to oversee the company’s installations at the 1964 World’s Fair and later for the design and construction of Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Reportedly, Disney would also take the copilot seat and operate the controls for short periods of time during the cross-country flights. Initially referred to as “Two-Three-Four Metro-Metro” by air traffic controllers, the latter part was soon replaced with “Mickey-Mouse,” giving the aircraft the nickname “The Mouse.”
It is rumored that while making a pass over San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the Gulfstream, Disney spied the El Morro Fortress, which served as his inspiration behind the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in his parks.
The aircraft served for 28 years, carrying company employees and even special passengers such as three former presidents, and other celebrities. Its final flight occurred on Oct. 8, 1992, when it was flown to Walt Disney World in Florida, landed on a road inside company property, and was put on display in the backlot area of the Disney MGM (now Disney Hollywood) Studios theme park.
For most of its life, the 15-passenger aircraft carried a somewhat non-descript paint job consisting of a wide orange stripe along the windows and a small orange circle with a Mickey Mouse logo on the tail. A video released by the company shows it wearing that scheme once again. The company did not respond to AIN's inquiry if the GI, which still carries active FAA registration, is being returned to flight status.