September 6, 2012

Darker Than You Think: Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Pincocchio ride Pinocchio's Daring Journey Disneyland
I love the whimsical puppet theater exterior of Pinocchio's Daring Journey at Disneyland. Yet this 1983 dark ride is a lot spookier than it appears from outside. If you've seen the classic film, you know why.

My family witnessed a little scene while waiting in line. A nervous little girl asked her father, "What's going to happen on this ride?"

"Happen?" snapped the Dad, confused by the question. "Yer gonna see Pinocchio!" The girl was not reassured; clearly, she (unlike her pop) knew the story.

Yes, folks, "Yer gonna see Pinocchio." Yer also gonna get locked in a cage by Stromboli, stumble down Tobacco Row, watch kids turn into donkeys, nearly get shoved into a crate, and get attacked by Monstro the Whale, all while Jiminy Cricket yells, "Look out!" and "You're going the wrong way!"

I love this ride, but -- similar to what happens with Snow White's Scary Adventures -- parents should remember that Disney dark rides reflect their source material quite well, and Pinocchio's journey is loaded with villains, threats and narrow escapes. Just as with all good films and rides, the happy ending must be earned.


  1. This is one of the few experiences I remember from my only trip to DL (in 2004). I love how you quoted the parents. I would have done the same.

    ...wonder what Dad was thinking afterwards! ;)

    1. I do hope the Dad had a nice conversation with his daughter about the experience, but...somehow that seems like a slim chance. :) I hope he at least bought her a Figaro plush or something.

      And I hope she grows up to be an Imagineer!

  2. Is Pinocchio's Daring Journey going to get rethemed soon?

    To Rich T. I have been on Pinocchio's Daring Journey ride and to be honest, I didn't like the depictions of child abuse and slavery and seeing the mistreatment of 2 donkey boys locked in cages.

    Since this ride was built in 1983. Do you think that Pinocchio's Daring Journey will get rethemed as a Kingdom Hearts ride? I think that retheming Pinocchio's Daring Journey ride as a Kingdom Hearts ride would be welcome. It would undergo some changes Pleasure Island being renamed to Pranksters Paradise, this would likely be called Sora's Daring Journey unless they can't get the copyright permission from Square Enix, it would take place in Traverse Town at the start of the ride.

    It would likely feature the Wizard Yen Sid from Fantasia, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy and possibly Sora. Together, they would fight the dream eater monsters at Prankster Paradise, the carts people would be in would be in the shape of Gummi Ships and the people on the ride could shoot at the dream eaters just the Toy Story ride. They would go on a journey to rescue Pinocchio from the Dream eaters.

    I want to see Pinocchio's Daring Journey rethemed very soon because it's not aligned with Disneyland's current family friendly policy and there are animal rights groups and animal lovers out there who would be upset with the 2 donkey boys in cages scene which I hope gets removed soon.


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