Walt Disney’s personal airplane that was used during the scouting for the ‘Florida Project’ has been rediscovered, thanks to some recent aerial photos. The Grumman G-159 Gulfstream 1, was used during the purchasing of land for the Florida Project, tag teaming it along with one of Walt’s other planes, the Queen.
With Walt often co-piloting over low landscapes, much to the dismay of Lillian and his insurance brokers, the November Two Three Four Mickey Mouse, or simply “The Mouse” as it is commonly referred to, was utilized by Walt Disney himself in the 1960s during trips from Burbank to Orlando while the company was purchasing land for what we, of course now, know as Walt Disney World.
Originally, N732G was the tail number when Walt Disney used the Gulfstream, with N234MM belonging to the Queen Air plane used while originally scouting land for the ‘Florida Project’, the tail number then moving to the King Air, before finally settling on the beloved Gulfstream that everyone knows as Walt’s plane. It was actually F.A.A. controllers who named the plane ‘Mickey Mouse’, using that call instead of the previously used name among controllers for Walt’s plane, ‘metro metro’, and thus, “The Mouse” was born.
The plane is perhaps most well known by guests from it’s time on display along the tram route of the now defunct Studio Backlot Tour attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Recently, the plane was discovered in a restricted backstage area, surrounded by a number of barricades. While the plane was stripped from its original interior last time it was publicly visible, it is interesting to note that the aerial photos do reveal that “The Mouse” has been repainted back to its original incarnation, complete with the big orange stripe.
It is unclear if there are any plans for the plane as of now, but it certainly is neat to get a glimpse of the plane, and to know that it is still together in one piece. “The Mouse” became the highest utilization Gulfstream in worldwide corporate service, due to continuous flights carrying Disney Executives weekly to New York and Florida in 1964-1965, for World’s Fair and Walt Disney World. The orange stripes and Mickey Mouse logo that we all recognize today were actually not painted on until the 80s. Preferring anonymity while scouting and purchasing land in Florida, the plane originally had only generic markings on it, not indicating that it was a ‘Disney’ plane at all! After becoming a shuttle for imagineers from Burbank to Orlando, and after executives had graduated to a corporate jet, ‘The Mouse’ was finally retired in 1992.