The Pinocchio Presence at Disneyland
Attractions: Pinocchio's Daring Journey, Fantasyland (1983)
It's a Small World (Pinocchio appears in the Italy scene), Fantasyland (2008)
Storybook Land Canal Boats (Monstro the Whale, Pinocchio's Village), Fantasyland (1956)
Restaurants: The Village Haus, Fantasyland (1983)
Shops: Stromboli's Wagon, Fantasyland (1983)
Ambiance: The Hub (Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket Statuette), Main Street USA (1993)
Figaro Animatronic, Fantasy Faire, Fantasyand (2013)
Pinocchio Penny Arcade Game, Main Street USA
Jiminy Cricket Recycling Cans and Trash Cans, all of Disneyland
Meetable Characters: Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, Gepetto, Gideon and Foulfellow
Shows: Fantasmic! (Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket and Monstro), Frontierland/New Orleans Square (1992)
P.W. Geeks Out on Pinocchio
Pinocchio might be the most well-represented Disney movie in the park. Heck, even two of its villains make strong contributions with Stromboli's Wagon and Storybook Land's Monstro the Whale which serves as one of the most iconic and longstanding visuals in all of Disneyland. If that's not enough, even a pair of Fantasyland restrooms feature a Pinocchio inspired Russian Marionette motif. In fact, with a ride, a restaurant, an outdoor store and a restroom, the entire westside of Fantasyland makes up an unofficial Pinocchio-Land. Personally, I'm a huge fan of theming and why shouldn't each and every nook and/or cranny of Fantasyland evoke details from the movies it's based on?
When it comes to Pinocchio's Daring Journey, I have to admit that I've always been a bit underwhelmed when comparing it to the other Fantasyland dark rides. I don't think I'm alone here either since, along with Snow White's Scary Adventure, it routinely houses the shortest lines of all the dark rides. Don't get me wrong, I love it, it's a must-ride for me every trip and I can't even articulate anything I'd change about it. This is pretty ironic since Pinocchio is among one of my personal favourites and it's also beyond reproach critically. It just goes to show that some movies translate to attractions better than others. I think what it boils down to is that dark rides are more about atmosphere than story and, while spectacular, Gepetto's Workshop and Pleasure Island just aren't as spellbinding and dynamic as flying over London, being chased through a scary forest or frolicking through Wonderland.
But, perhaps, the crowning achievement of all things Pinocchio in Disneyland is Fantasyland's Village Haus restaurant. Even though the menu (burgers, pizza and salad), while fine, doesn't do much to represent the Swiss Alps or Pinocchio, the décor is fantastic in every way. There are murals galore (both painted and embroidered) and all kinds of Swiss Italian workshop-esque knickknacks adorning the walls, mantles and shelves. The one question I have is why it's given a German name (haus).
This part can be filed under the “If I could make my own Disneyland” rant but, with all the Pinocchio-ness in the park, wouldn't Fantasyland be better served dedicating their only, full-sized eatery to a movie that's more “in-tune” with “serving guests”..... hmmm (any guesses?). Also, and this is super nitpicky/obsessive compulsive but, geographically, I'd much rather see a Pinocchio-Land on the eastside of Fantasyland with the Swiss Matterhorn appropriately serving as its neighbour/backdrop.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the sad demise of the various incarnations of Gepetto's Workshop (1983-2007). What now houses a Tangled meet-and-greet nestled betwixt Pinocchio's Daring Journey and the Village Haus was once the proud proprietor of wooden toys and cuckoo clocks, then more modern toys and, lastly, Christmas themed merchandise. If anyone deserves a toy shop in the Happiest Place on Earth, it's definitely Gepetto.
Pinocchio's Daring Journey was the lone, all-new dark ride to come out of the 1983 Fantasyland remodel.
Where Pinocchio's Daring Journey now stands once stood the old Mickey Mouse Club Theater.
Pinocchio's Daring Journey is not a Disneyland original. It first debuted at Tokyo Disneyland – about one month earlier than the Disneyland version.
The giant Monstro the Whale tunnel prominently featured in the Storybook Land Canal Boats includes a blinking eyeball and a fully functioning steam-blowing blowhole.
As a costumed character, Pinocchio is predominantly played by women.