Wednesday, January 22, 2003
by Lani Teshima
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines
gave one of its airplanes a Mickey Mouse paint job.
The Boeing 737-400 aircraft (N784AS), renamed the Spirit
of Disneyland, made its inaugural flight from Seattle-Tacoma International
Airport at 1:07 p.m. on Monday, December 16, arriving at John Wayne-Orange
County Airport at 3:43 p.m. Although other overseas airlines have long
enjoyed having painted Mickeys on their exteriors (such as Japan Airlines,
which has sported Steamboat Willie on its Boeing 747 aircraft JA8908),
this is the first time a major U.S. airline has worked with Walt Disney
Parks & Resorts to paint an aircraft with Disney characters.
Detailed plans outlining the
correct application of colors to the aircraft. Photo courtesy of Alaska
In addition to the exterior, the planes
interior sports Disney touches as well. A commemorative plaque
welcomes travelers at the forward door, while the overhead bins have printed
According to Alaska Airlines spokesman Jack Walsh,
this aircraft will not be limiting its service to just Seattle-Tacoma
and Orange County airports. The plane will travel throughout the
West Coast, as well as Alaska, and sometimes even to Mexico, Walsh
said. Unfortunately, the logistics of the airline industry are such that
it is almost impossible to know well in advance where the airplane will
be flying to.
The nose of the aircraft is preppred
with Minnie Mouse. Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines.
In addition, recent changes in airport security mean that unticketed
persons have almost no access to viewing an airplane that is parked at
an airport gate. Things were different two years ago, but its
very difficult for anyone [to view the airplane] unless they have a ticket
now, Walsh said.
A worker removes masking from
Goofy after the intial paint has been applied. Photo courtesy of Alaska
Fortunately, the paint job is expected to stay on for a regular length
of time for airplane paint jobs, which according to Walsh will be about
four or five years. Hopefully you will have the good fortune to seeor
better yet, travel inaircraft N784AS. If you do, please send us
a photo, and let us in on whatever details you can provide.
Donald gets a beak. Photo courtesy
of Alaska Airlines.
The Alaska Airlines Web site currently has a
page devoted to the Spirit of Disneyland, which includes
an informative slide show of photos depicting the process that artists
and technicians went through to create their magic.
The new paint job was announced at the same time that the airline announced
its special Kids Fly Free promotion. Travelers who book the airlines
Southern California Vacations Package through March 12 receive a free
night at participating hotels including Disneys Grand Californian
Hotel, the Disneyland Hotel and Disneys Paradise Pier Hotel. Details
are available at their Kids
Fly Free Web page.
[All photos in this article reprinted by permission from Alaska Airlines.]
Alaska Airlines press release
ALASKA AIRLINES REVEALS SPIRIT OF DISNEYLAND
12/16/2002 10:51 a.m.
SEATTLE The Eskimo that has adorned the tail of
all Alaska Airlines aircraft since the early 1970s is taking a well-deserved
vacationat least on one aircraft that is.
Instead, the faces of Disneys most recognized
theme park charactersMickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofytake
to the skies today on a newly-painted Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 named
the Spirit of Disneyland. The aircraft makes its inaugural
flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 1:07 p.m., arriving
at John Wayne-Orange County Airport at 3:43 p.m. This is the first time
a major U.S. airline has worked with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts to paint
an aircraft with Disney theme park characters.
To appropriately inaugurate the Spirit of Disneyland,
Erik Lindbergh, Seattle resident and grandson of Charles Lindbergh whose
famous plane was the Spirit of St. Louis, is joining representatives
from both companies and Disney characters in Alaska Airlines Seattle
hangar at 10 a.m. Monday for ribbon cutting ceremonies.
Lindbergh, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis, is sending
off three families from the Arthritis Foundation Washington/Alaska Chapter
on the planes first regularly scheduled flight. Three of these children
on the flight have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and are spending the
following day enjoying the magic of the Disneyland Resort.
Its been more than a quarter of a century
since a face other than our trademark Eskimo has graced our aircraft,
said Bill Ayer, Alaska Airlines president and CEO, referring to
the period when the images on Alaskas aircraft not only included
an Eskimo, but also a Sourdough, Russian spires and a Native totem. And
come to think of it, its the first time four faces have appeared
on one of our aircraft at the same time.
The exterior of the Spirit of Disneyland
aircraft is painted bright blue with the characters images and the
words Were going to Disneyland! The interior of the
plane has fun graphics and printed messages from Disney characters inside
the overhead bins, and a commemorative plaque at the forward door. On
the inaugural flight, the crew and guests will receive Mickey Mouse ears
and a bag of Disney treats. This Disney-themed jet will fly throughout
most of Alaska Airlines route system, including flights to and from
Southern California airports.
The Disneyland Resort and Alaska Airlines have
enjoyed a successful partnership for many years and were delighted
to see this continue in such an exciting way, said Cynthia Harriss,
president of the Disneyland Resort. This is an amazing first for
our company. Were honored to work with Alaska Airlines on this flying
ambassador of happiness.
The launch kicks off a major marketing initiative featuring
special vacation offers between Alaska Airlines and the Disneyland Resort.
January begins with Kids Fly Free combined with five days
of theme park fun for the price of three, and the fourth night free at
a Disneyland Resort area hotel.
The nations ninth largest carrier, Alaska Airlines
celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Alaska and its regional partner,
Horizon Air, serve 83 cities in the Lower 48, Alaska, Canada and Mexico.
For reservations, visit www.alaskaair.com or call Alaskas toll-free
reservations line at 1-800-ALASKAAIR (1-800-252-7522). For news and information,
visit the Alaska Airlines Newsroom online at http://newsroom.alaskaair.com.
The Disneyland Resort features two theme parksDisneyland¨
park, The Happiest Place on Earth, and Disneys California
Adventurepark that captures the excitement of California through
Disney storytellinga place where Disney magic meets California fun.
Downtown Disney¨ District is a public esplanade of dining, family entertainment
and shopping. Hotels include the luxurious Disneys Grand Californian
Hotel, Disneys Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel. For
general information, call (714) 781-4565 or visit www.disneyland.com.
# # #
(NOTE: For more information on the Arthritis Foundation
or the families on the inaugural flight, contact Tess McShane at (206)
547-2707, Ext. 112.)
Contact Lani Teshima if you have any travel tips or questions about trip planning.
A Hawaii ex-patriate, Lani is a technical writer for a San Francisco Bay Area software company.
When Lani is not managing the copy editing tasks here, you can usually find her at the gym, slogging away those slow miles on the treadmill as she trains for the WDW Marathon (held in January). She also maintains her internationally recognized Travelite FAQ.
In the occasional spare moment, Lani and her husband, Alexour MousePlanet CEO and MouseAdventure event coordinatorattend baseball games, and drive down to Disneyland in their 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid (which gets 50mpg).