The newest themed airplane from Alaska Airlines soared into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport today, trailing a little bit of Disney pixie dust.
Adorned with the familiar image of Walt Disney's animated character Tinker Bell on the fuselage and golden Mickey Mouse ears on the tail, the bright blue Boeing 737-400 named the "Magic of Disneyland" celebrates the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney's original theme park. It is the second Disneyland-themed airplane born out of the successful partnership between Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and Disneyland Resort.
"This is only the second time in more than 25 years that an image other than our trademark Eskimo has appeared on an Alaska Airlines aircraft," said Gregg Saretsky, Alaska's executive vice president of marketing and planning. "I can't think of a better way to congratulate our good friends and partners at Disneyland on their 50th anniversary than to launch this flying invitation to visit 'The Happiest Place on Earth.'"
On board the festive jet were more than 50 children from the Highline, Wash., YMCA, who flew from Everett, Wash., this morning on the inaugural flight. With ear-to-ear grins the youngsters were met at Sea-Tac airport by favorite Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
"The majority of these children have never been on an airplane," said Jim Miller, executive director of the Highline YMCA. "With the personal aviation lessons they received before the flight and being the first to ride Alaska Airlines' newest themed airplane, these children truly enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience."
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the aircraft officially joined the Alaska fleet on a flight to Southern California, where it will regularly visit five airports Alaska serves in the region -- Burbank, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Ontario and Orange County.
"We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Alaska Airlines by introducing a second Disneyland-themed aircraft just in time for the upcoming May 5 launch of our 50th anniversary," said Claire Bilby, senior vice president of Disneyland sales and distribution marketing. "We look forward to having the 'Magic of Disneyland' aircraft serve as an iconic vehicle to bring people to Southern California for our 'Happiest Homecoming On Earth' celebration."
As to the choice of Tinker Bell -- whose words on the side of the aircraft beckon "Follow me to Disneyland" -- Bilby noted that the famous pixie is the official hostess of Disneyland. "In the 1950s when Walt Disney shared his new theme park with television audiences across America, Tinker Bell often took the audience on aerial flights to Disneyland. Her pixie dust, filled with the power to make you fly, became the magic ingredient that could transport audiences anywhere."
The aircraft received its new livery at Goodrich Aviation Technical Services of Everett, Wash. Associated Painters accomplished the complicated painting process, including application of a special, shimmering Mylar paint to highlight the pixie dust.
To help celebrate the "Magic of Disneyland," Alaska has extended its popular "Kids Fly Free" promotion whereby kids receive free airfare when traveling with an adult purchasing an Alaska Airlines Vacation or Walt Disney Travel Company package to Southern California. The offer must be booked by June 1, 2005, and is valid for travel through June 29, 2005. Details and fare rules are available at alaskaair.com or by calling the Walt Disney Travel Company at 877-700-DISNEY.
Alaska's other Disney-themed aircraft -- the "Spirit of Disneyland," also a 737-400 -- is graced with the faces of Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy. It debuted in December 2002.
In addition to Disneyland Resort in California, Alaska Airlines offers vacation packages to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.
Alaska and its sister carrier, Horizon Air, together serve more than 80 cities in Alaska, the Lower 48, Canada and Mexico. For reservations visit alaskaair.com.
Premiering on May 5, 2005, the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth," an extraordinary celebration of the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, will pay tribute to the millions of guests and cast members who have contributed to the rich legacy of "The Happiest Place on Earth" over the past five decades. The 18-month-long occasion represents the biggest event in the history of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and is the first truly global Disney celebration (with new spectacular entertainment and iconic attractions premiering at each of the Disney theme parks around the world in salute to Disneyland).
Goodrich Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading global supplier of systems and services to the aerospace and defense industry. If there's an aircraft in the sky -- we're on it. Goodrich technology is involved in making aircraft fly ... helping them land ... and keeping them safe. Serving a global customer base with significant worldwide manufacturing and service facilities, Goodrich is one of the largest aerospace companies in the world. For more information visit http://www.goodrich.com/ .
YMCA of Greater Seattle is committed to building strong kids, strong families and strong communities. Founded in 1876, the YMCA is the oldest human service organization in Washington State and a committed youth and family organization, serving 186,000 people each year.
For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines Newsroom on the Internet at http://newsroom.alaskaair.com/ .
SOURCE: Alaska Airlines
CONTACT: Caroline Boren of Alaska Airlines, +1-206-392-5799, or
Jamie Nielsen of Disneyland Resort, +1-714-936-4966
Web site: http://www.alaskaair.com/