Walt’s Plane Celebrated at Its New Palm Springs Home

Today is the 99th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company. While the organization is preparing for next year’s big celebration, a more intimate gathering occurred last night in Palm Springs that honored an iconic part of Disney history. Following its restoration for the D23 Expo, Walt’s plane arrived at its new long-term home at the Palm Springs Air Museum. The plane, “The Mouse,” is viewable starting today ahead of the opening of an exhibit that will debut later this year.

To commemorate the occasion, Fred Bell, Palm Springs Air Museum Vice Chairman, shared his enthusiasm for Walt’s connection to Palm Springs including the famous Smoke Tree Ranch home. Lesser known was that Walt publicly supported the bond initiative that allowed for the expansion of the Palm Springs Airport which is also the home of the Air Museum where his plane now resides.

Archivist Ed Ovalle gave a thorough and extremely well researched presentation that touched upon Walt’s love of aviation, the history of Disney’s private planes, and the full history of “The Mouse.” Ed’s knowledge and passion for Walt is inspirational. From the plane’s development, to its trips to New York and Orlando, to its promotional tours, and its landing on World Drive at Walt Disney World, we were treated to many details of the plane’s history that deepened our appreciation of its significance. One can only hope that Disney Editions will have Ed write a book chronicling his research.

Walt Disney’s association with Palm Springs, which he called his “laughing place,” continues to today. While “The Mouse”’s time scouting new locations for Disney endeavors is over, one can’t help but wonder if it will be keeping an eye on the development of Cotino, Disney’s first Storyliving residential neighborhood. While that project is still down the road, Disney fans that find themselves in the area will be able to view the plane that meant a lot to Walt and to Disney fans as well.

Walt’s Plane Fun Facts:

Length: 63 feet, 9 inches

Wingspan: 78 feet, 6 inches

Height: 22 feet, 9 inches

Empty Weight: 21,900 pounds

Maximum Weight: 35,100 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 1,550 gallons

Maximum Distance: 2,540 miles

The Palm Springs Air Museum contains over 75 vintage airframes. The Museum is open daily from 10 am until 5 PM. Kids 12 and under get in free with paid adult admission.