“Our Disney planes generate a lot of excitement among our passengers young and old wherever they fly,” said Jeff Butler, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of customer service-airports and cargo, and board member of Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our strong partnership than to launch this flying invitation to visit Disneyland Resort’s newest attraction and Mater’s home in Cars Land.”
“Adventure of Disneyland Resort is a great example of taking beloved, iconic Disney-Pixar characters and bringing them to life in new and unexpected ways,” said Sharon Siskie, Disney Destinations’ vice president of travel industry sales. “It’s been our great privilege to be part of this collaborative effort with Alaska Airlines, and we’re delighted that today’s inaugural flight will create some very powerful memories for special guests from Make-A-Wish.”
At a special airport event, Mater himself made a satellite appearance from Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park, providing travelers with updates on the arrival of the plane as it neared Seattle. After the ceremony, the aircraft officially joined the Alaska fleet on a flight to Orange County, Calif., and will then fly throughout the carrier’s 65-city network.
Joining passengers flying on Flight 500 were four Make-A-Wish children from Washington and Alaska, ages 3 to 7, and their families, who will spend the next several days at the Disneyland Resort. During their visit, they will be treated to special activities and enjoy overnight accommodations at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel at the Resort.
“Since our inception, we’ve granted life-affirming wishes to more than 5,300 children in Alaska and Washington and it’s only because of the partnerships that we have with companies like Alaska Airlines and Disney,” said Barry McConnell, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.
Since granting its first wish in 1986, Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington has granted 2,257 Disney wishes and sent 1,051 children and their families on wish trips via Alaska Airlines. Disney helps Make-A-Wish America® grant more than 5,000 wishes annually, making a trip to a Disney Park the most frequent wish requested by Make-A-Wish children.
Alaska Airlines has supported Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington since 1986 and provides air transportation for about 225 Wish kids and their families to travel each year. Alaska invites members of its Mileage Plan to donate frequent-flier miles to Make-A-Wish through the Charity Miles program. To donate miles, visit www.alaskaair.com and click on the “Mileage Plan” and “Charity Miles” links.
The Adventure of Disneyland Resort aircraft received its new livery at Aviation Technical Services in Everett, Wash. A team of specialists from Associated Painters Inc. accomplished the complicated painting process, including a sponge-type application to re-create Mater’s rust-colored finish.
Adventure of Disneyland Resort trivia:
A 34-member crew worked around the clock for 29 days at Associated Painters Inc. to paint the plane.
Painters painstakingly airbrushed the aircraft with 70 unique colors and applied more than 10,000 square feet of vinyl graphics to create the lifelike characters, including the headlights, tire rims and eyes.
More than 72,000 linear feet of masking tape was used during the painting of the Adventure of Disneyland Resort.
Mater’s rustic-looking muffler, which is located on the tail of the jet, will naturally change color over time due to the plane’s normal exhaust stains.
The 129-foot-long Boeing 737-800 has a wingspan of 117 feet and a cruising speed of 530 mph.
The plane accommodates 157 passengers and six crew members.
Alaska’s other Disney-themed planes are the “Spirit of Disneyland II,” launched in 2009; the “Spirit of Make-A-Wish,” which debuted in 2006; and “Magic of Disneyland,” which entered the fleet in 2005. Alaska’s first Disney plane, the “Spirit of Disneyland I,” joined the fleet in 2002 and was repainted in 2009.