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Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 5:57 am

This may sound like the stupid question of the day but I need the info for an airline management project:

Has Disney ever owned it's own airline? I know they have their own cruise line, but has there ever been an airline dedicated to bringing tourists to the MCO area to visit the DisneyWorld theme park/attractions?

An idea that was tossed out for a new-entrant airline in this project was one to be backed by Disney to get tourists there. I know National started up out of LAS a couple of years ago on the premise of getting more available seats to the LAS market to fill up all the new hotels being built there. Aren't they backed by one of the major casinos (Harrah's maybe?) including package deals for people staying at the hotel/casino? I'm pretty sure they are.

Why not use this same idea to one of the most visited theme parks in the world. Offer pacakage deals on hotel/ground transportation along with cheap airfare. "Start the Disney magic with your flight to Orlando". I know there are tons of airlines, particularly low-fare lines, flying into MCO, not to mention other start-ups that tried an failed to capture the big leisure market here, but how can you miss if you are backed by Disney. The flight would be tied in to the whole package. No other airline can offer the Disney expericene, or such direct access to the hotels on Disney grounds. And the flights don't have to be only to the theme park. We can also connect travellers on the Disney cruises to the Bahamas.

Now I could go into more detail, but this is just the gist of the idea. I know there are going to be a line of people just waiting to shoot this thing down, but that's what I need. What could possibly go wrong with this idea that I haven't thought of????? Why has it not been tried before?

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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 6:03 am

Delta is and has been the Mickey Mouse airline for a while now.
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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 6:04 am

I am pretty sure at one time DL was tied up w/Disney. In my neighbor's garage there is a fragile-baggage box that DL has that advertises Disney World.

National was sponsored by Harrah's and a few other casinos.

Aaron G.
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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 6:08 am

I remeber Eastern procaliming themselves to be the "Official Airline of Disney World" back in the day, follwed by Delta, although I haven't heard DL use that slogan in years. Granted they do have a big prescence in MCO, but I wonder if they have any direct ties to Disney Corp.

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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 6:14 am

Eastern Air Lines was the first "official" airline of Walt Disney World in FL until Delta took over that honor in the mid 80's. Eastern sponsored the "If You Had Wings" exhibit there.

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Photo © Frank J. Mirande

Although I'm not sure if they were ever named the "official" airline of of Disney Land, TWA was pretty closely allied with the original theme park in Anaheim, CA in the 50's and 60's. They sponsored the "Trip to Mars" exhibit in Tomorrowland.

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As far as I know, Disney has never been in the airline business.
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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 6:41 am

Delta used to sponsor a ride in Tomorrowland. I wanted to go on that ride a few years a go but it was closed.

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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 7:53 am

Actually, as I recall, PSA was the official airline of Disneyland out west.
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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 8:36 am

Alaska used to put ads in their timetables and on their LAX departure boards about being the official "wings" of Disneyland back in the 1996-7 range. Obviously it was just a marketing agreement, but I'm curious if that title has moved to another airline, because I haven't heard it mentioned during the past two years.

RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 9:48 am

Yeah Delta still is the Official Airline of Disney World, fitting because it is MCO's largest carrier. Delta used to sponser a show in Tomorowland, can't remember the name, but it was a theatre in the round where you flew though america as screens 180 degrees around you displayed the panoramic view. The ride no longer exists.

Your idea is a nice one, but their are a few questions to be brought up. #1, if you tell Leo Mullin about your little idea, he'll claim it already exists, in the form of Delta Express of course. Delta Express is the sort of family, leisure traveller, airline in Orlando that supposedly does little else than bring people back and forth to Disney/Universal etc. Aditionally, they now paint theme planes, sell animal crackers on board, and supposedly employ friendlier F/As. Thats their vacation experience you talk about. Their fares are low and their route network significant, so you would need to do battle with them.

#2. Las Vegas is quite different than Orlando. At the time of National's conception/rebirth etc..Las Vegas was seeing a significant drop in air service. Also, the "hometown airline" AmWest was doing quite poorly customer service wise, maintance wise, and had decided to refocuse more on PHX. Other airlines feeding LAS from their hubs cut service also, because they felt the city was low-yield. This vacuum of service and McCarran's extensive physical expansion sort of begged for a new carrier. Harrah's and Rio Suites bought into Conway's vison a la National. Orlando is not underserved, has not seen a drop in recent drop in service, not served by an airline under siege, and not undergoing expansion for domestic gates. Planes fly full into MCO, but fares are cheap enough adn the schedule is full enough that no one is really crying out for or another option, or in laymans terms.... a "new entrant carrier." They're just doesn't seem to be a need, Delta is doing fine there.

Also, as Michael Ovitz, the southern baptists, and Jose Bove will tell you, Disney isn't the easiset company to get along with. Convincing Michael Eisner and Disney to put their name on your plane will A) Cost more money than Bill Gates made last year B) Not happen.

Good luck anyhow!!!
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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 9:55 am

I believe the ride at Tomorrowland was called Delta Dreamflight. I remember riding on it shortly before it closed and all mention of Delta was removed.

RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 10:00 am

Indeed!! Delta Dreamflight was it. Now its some hokey space kid shoot-em-up thing.
nwa man
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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Wed Sep 20, 2000 12:24 pm

In a DL schedule I have from around 1996 (when they had the phone-book style schedule rather than the streamlined version of today), they list themselves as the official airlines of both Disneyland and Disney World. I don't believe it's changed since then.

Create your own luck.
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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Thu Sep 21, 2000 6:44 am


Thanks for the opinion. You bring up good points, espcially number 2. I was thinking about that, MCO really doesn't have a shortage of carriers, much less low-fare new entrants (such as jetBlue) and spinoffs (DX and Metrojet). It would be kind of a tough sell, but we'll see how it works.

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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:12 am

I think the only way this would work would Disney would have to own the airline. It would cost way too much for any other major carrier to paint Disney onm it's planes.

I have been on that Dreamflight ride. Of course that was almost 4 years ago, but I do remember at one point there was a huge model of a Delta aircraft. It was either right before or right after the ride. It was a quite good ride. Showed the "evolution" of the all american family if I remember correctly.
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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Fri Sep 22, 2000 12:00 am

That's kind of the point. Disney would have majority ownership of the airline, we would just supply the equipment and day-to-day operations management.

What I have noticed is that most of the low-fare service to MCO is from the East Coast. Nothing from the Midwestern states other than WN, so there is a possible market.

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RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Fri Sep 22, 2000 12:08 am

Well i remember seeing pictures of a large helicopter with Disneyworld painted on its side in a aviation book. I think the helicopter was a large Sikorsky. I also think i saw 'SkyBus' written on it.

Perhaps they operated a helicopter airline to transport tourists from the airport to DisneyWorld.

RE: Just Another Mickey Mouse Airline...

Fri Sep 22, 2000 5:21 am

Having worked as a Cast Member at Walt Disney World from '92 until '99 and now working at National Airlines, I'll try to shed some light on this topic.
1) Delta used to be the official airline for WDW but is no longer. They did sponsor Delta's dreamflight attraction in the Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom Park at WDW but they no longer do. That ride was replaced by Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, a new ride that uses the same layout as the old ride but gives those riding in the vehicles laser guns to shoot at targets in an effort to defeat the Evil Emporor Zurg (just a tad bit of Disney trivia for ya) which is very popular. Why doesn't Disney create their own airline? I think the reason why they don't is because they usually have a huge amount of control on creating magical Guest Service experiences and when it comes down to it, there are just too many invariables that would go against it. (delays due to weather, ATC,etc.). Another reason may be because if there were ever any kind of accident, it would cause a blow to the Disney brand image. A brand that is more recognizable than any other anywhere in the world based on quality. Back in the 70's there was an airstrip at Walt Disney World near the Contemporary Resort but it was mainly used for Company work. There has been talk of building a new airport NW of the WDW property, but MCO does a great job so why try to fix something that's not broken? To give you an idea of the control Disney has in Orlando...a few years back a new road was built from MCO to WDW called the 417 or GreeneWay. This was built as an alternate, more direct route to the park because Route 528 (the Beeline) had Universal Studios billboards on it and the Greenway has nothing but Disney ones =) . Disney paid for half the cost of the new road. There is enough air traffic into MCO that Disney doesn't need their own airline. They make a ton of money at 2 Disney Shops in the airport and the voice you hear on the monorail connecting the terminals is the same one as at WDW. Enough on this topic...

2) National was started by Mr. Conway (former president of America West) and a few other key people out of LAS focusing on Las Vegas as it's hub. Harrah's and Rio each put up $15 million dollars in the beginning and the concept of low cost,high quality air travel combined with great hotel accomodations and shows has worked very well. If you look at their website, it shows that Orlando may be on the list of destinations for the future. National, I think, would be a great way to get those on the west coast to WDW. The people flying to LAS comprise leisure travelers from the U.S. and Internationally as well as a large amount of business travellers. I see National as a great concept that others will try to mimic elsewhere, and National is here to stay.

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