by Annabel Fenwick Elliott, The Telegraph, July 22, 2019
Disney is planning to launch its own airline in the US, it has been rumoured, which could be family heaven or utter hell depending on your stance on the mega brand.
According to specialist news site JustDisney.com, the brightly decorated planes will ferry guests in and out of Orlando, Florida, home of its Walt Disney Land World, the most visited holiday resort on the planet, to airports including Detroit, Chicago, New York LaGuardia, and Los Angeles International. The Disney Company is apparently poised to start acquiring small, regional carriers in 2021.
"We have 'ears' inside on this development and have been given information that the entertainment offerings will include inflight Disney+ access to each seat, Disney’s new streaming service," the site reports.
"Disney songs will be played over the airplane’s speakers as you board. There are also discussions that characters will also be making appearances before the cabin doors are closed to send you on your way. Buzz Lightyear, will have a heavy presence as your 'captain speaking'."
The company will tempt passengers with Mickey Mouse Premium Ice Cream, and allow travellers to check in a bag for free if they have spent a night at a Disney hotel within 48 hours of the flight.
The air travel offering would be an addition to the existing Magical Express rail service, which transports guests directly from Orlando International Airport to Disney's Contemporary Resort, one of its original Seventies hotels.
It would not be the first time the conglomerate has turned its eyes to the skies. China Eastern Airlines and the Shanghai Disney Resort last year partnered to launch several themed aircraft to fly passengers between the resort and Beijing Airport.
Last year, it launched a Toy Story-bedecked plane, with colourful seats in both business and economy, cartoon-decorated overhead lockers, cabin crew in Minnie Mouse attire, and custom commemorative boarding passes.
Disney has been riding an ongoing wave of success of late. Its financial results were well received on Wall Street in May, as it smashed analysts’ sales and profit expectations, thanks partly to a strong performance in its theme parks arm.
The company, which has sites in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as Paris, Florida and California, as well as a cruise line, generated $6bn (£4.8bn) in the quarter - higher than any other division, and profits of $1.5bn (£1.2bn).
Working conditions at Disney theme parks, however, have been in the spotlight following criticism from Abigail Disney, an heiress to the company fortune, last week. After meeting staff at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, she told Yahoo News she was “livid”, adding: “Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, ‘I don’t know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people’s garbage’.”
The Walt Disney Company labelled the claims a “stunt” and “a gross and unfair exaggeration of the facts”, adding that employees at its parks in Orlando and Anaheim earn an average of $19.50 (£15.64) an hour.
Telegraph Travel has in the past interviewed a former employee of the Magic Kingdom on what it's really like to work at the famed park, and she revealed some interesting surprises.
Would you fly with Disney's airline, or does it sound dreadful? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.
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