If you're a frequent jet-setter with a soft spot for all things Disney, you may have heard the rumors this summer that Disney was planning to bring its magic to the skies with a Disney-themed airline. These planes were supposedly going to be a dream come true for all lovers of Disney, with themed decorations, costumed characters, and even Disney-themed snacks.
Unfortunately, folks who were looking forward to flying with princesses and Marvel characters are bound to be disappointed — Disney has denied all claims that it is launching an airline. But what exactly happened here? And is there any chance at all of flying on a Disney themed plane?
This story began in June, when Disney enthusiast website JustDisney.co published a piece entitled "Disney Launching Their Own Disney Airlines!" In this article, the company explained that Disney was going to begin acquiring smaller aviation companies beginning in 2021. Disney was allegedly going to begin offering flights out of Orlando, where one of its major theme parks is located. Passengers were supposed to be able to check one bag for free if they had stayed at a Disney resort within the last 48 hours, which indicated that the focus of the airline was to help people travel to and from various Disney parks.
According to JustDisney, the planes were going to be decorated on the outside with Disney princesses and Marvel characters. Disney songs were going to be played on the speakers as passengers boarded, and costumed characters would pop in to say hi before the cabin doors closed — Buzz Lightyear was even supposed to play the role of the captain on every flight.
Snacks on board the flights were reported to be similar to what you find at Disney resorts, including churros, Mickey Premium Ice Cream bars, and strawberry fruit bars. The inflight entertainment would also allegedly include access to Disney+, the company's new streaming service set to debut in November of this year.
Disney Debunks the Claims
The rumors spread rapidly, with many people expressing enthusiasm and excitement at this new way to experience Disney. However, at the end of July, The Telegraph reported that it had contacted a Disney spokesperson, who said there was "no truth at all" in the rumors.
Disney has yet to make an official statement, but it is highly unlikely that they have hidden plans to launch a new airline anytime soon.
Other Cartoon Planes
If the news that there will be no new Disney airline has left you bitterly disappointed, don't despair. A Disney airline actually does exist — sort of. China Eastern Airlines and EVA Airlines are just a few of the companies that frequently partner with Disney resorts and other animation studios to create fun, cartoon-themed planes. While only one of these planes has made its way to the United States so far, the others are out there — and if you've got the urge to travel and experience a nostalgia trip at the same time, you might just be able to take a ride on one yourself.
Adventure Time Plane
Cartoon planes don't just have to feature full-length films — TV shows are fair game, too. In 2015, Airline Thai Smile unveiled a plane designed just for fans of the popular Cartoon Network show Adventure Time. This plane was painted with characters from the show, and the seats, overhead bins, and air sickness bags were all decorated with characters and other images from the cartoon.
Hello Kitty Plane
This is the only plane on this list that you can catch in the United States, as it flies to Taipei from both Chicago and Los Angeles. Designed by the Taiwanese firm EVA Airlines, the Hello Kitty planes (there are seven) offer a fantastic experience for fans of any of the Sanrio characters. The outside of the planes are decorated distinctively with Hello Kitty and her other Sanrio friends, and the insides are decorated top to bottom with Hello Kitty — the flight attendants even serve pink champagne!
EVA Airlines has also arranged things so that the magic begins before you even set foot on the plane. At the airport, you will check in at the brightly colored cherry blossom ticket counter, navigating through the stars and bows that are such an iconic part of the Hello Kitty brand. Your boarding pass will be embossed with an image of Hello Kitty herself.
Toy Story Plane
If no other animation studio will do, don't worry — there are a few Disney planes as well. In 2018, the Shanghai Disney Resort launched the first ever Disney-Pixar Toy Story Land themed plane. This plane features an enormous exterior painting of Buzz Lightyear flying, but the decorations only get more intense once you board the plane. All of the headrests, tray tables, and menus feature characters from Toy Story. The overhead bins are painted blue with stylized clouds, and even the ceiling of this plane is decorated to the max — it is designed to look like a sky, with an enormous image of Lotso, one of the characters from Toy Story 3, looking down on the passengers.
When you board this plane you receive a commemorative boarding pass to keep. The plane flies between Beijing and Shanghai.
Duffy and Friends Plane
Another Disney-themed plane has recently been released in partnership with Shanghai Disney Resort. This craft features Duffy, a bear that was sewn by Minnie Mouse and given to Mickey as a gift to keep him company when he traveled.
Similar to the other themed planes, the Duffy plane features numerous decorations of Duffy and Friends. It also includes an in-flight video to teach passengers more about this lovable character, who was created in Tokyo.
The Duffy and Friends plane is part of a number of events aimed at celebrating the upcoming "Duffy Month," which is scheduled for the month of September at the Shanghai Disney Resort. Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is also decked out with Duffy-themed counters and shuttles. The plane itself is going to be used exclusively for domestic flights.