May 1983 – present
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey was not one of the original dark rides in Fantasyland. In fact, it wasn’t until it’s equivalent in Disneyland Tokyo became overwhelmingly popular that Disney found space for Pinocchio in California. The massive Fantasyland refurbishment in 1983 provided the perfect opportunity for Pinocchio’s debut, and Pinocchio, Jiminy, and friends have found a permanent home in the heart of Fantasyland ever since.
- Single Rider Line – no
- Fast Pass – no
- Height Requirement – none
- Duration – 2:00
Visitors board wooden cars and begin their journey as audience members of Stombroli’s Marionette Show. After a moment of being entertained by Pinocchio and the other marionettes, the cars veer around a corner and head backstage, where they find themselves trapped alongside Pinocchio in a giant cage! Jiminy Cricket guides the cars out of the cage and onto Pleasure Island, an iridescent escape where Pinocchio and friends witness magic, tricks, and optical illusions. As the cars leave Pleasure Island, they are swept out to sea and narrowly escape the jaws of Monstro the whale! Finally, guests head back to Pinocchio’s village, and witness the Blue Fairy turn him into a real boy to the tune of “When You Wish Upon A Star.”
MY RATING – ★★★★☆
Pinocchio is by far the most underappreciated dark ride in the park. It has unique holographic illusions, features the often forgotten songs of the classic Disney film, and is long for a dark ride (3 minutes). I never leave Disneyland without making a stop to see Pinocchio, and I always encourage others to do the same. If you’re worried about little ones being frightened, here’s my take: Pinocchio is a dark ride, literally, so if little ones get nervous in the dark, they won’t fare well; most of the rooms are dimly lit at best. The only moments that kids might find scary are the cage (the puppet master is loud and a little intimidating) and the Monstro scene (there is a flash of light, and he leaps forward, a few feet ahead of your car). But most of the ride has cheerful music and friendly characters, so kids usually have no problem with Pinocchio’s Daring Journey.
Pro tip: This dark ride doesn’t tell the story as clearly as some of the others, so I would recommend guests watch the film before heading into the park.
Even during the hectic holiday season, I walked right onto this ride. I have never seen much of a line, which is surprising because it’s so well done! Visit Pinocchio any time that works in your touring plan, and you should have no more than a minimal wait.
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey was the first ride to open in Disneyland Tokyo before opening in either Disneyland or Disney World.
This is the first ride or attraction in Disneyland to use holographic illusions (the mirror, Pleasure Island scene). The Blue Fairy, widely believed to be an example of holographic imaging, actually uses the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion, frequently used in the Haunted Mansion. The Illusion uses reflective sheets, not holograms.
Before the 1983 Fantasyland expansion, Pinocchio’s home belonged to a small theater that housed shows similar to those in the Fantasy Faire and hosted character meet and greets.