Celebrating Pinocchio’s 80th Anniversary

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When it comes to celebrating anniversaries, Cinderella was quite the star of attention in February 2020. After all, the Disney Princess made her debut 70 years ago. Walt Disney World honored Cinderella’s anniversary with limited-time PhotoPass opportunities, special merchandise, and decadent desserts. But there’s another Disney film celebrating a major milestone! Disney’s Pinocchio made his movie debut 80 years ago. The wooden puppet danced his way into movie theaters in 1940 and his anniversary deserves recognition, too.

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When You Wish Upon A Star

The fairytale appealed to Walt Disney when he was starting out in Hollywood. He was quick to announce Pinocchio as his second animated feature film after the success of Snow White. Pinocchio made his cinematic debut on February 7th, 1940. Although it didn’t earn much upon its initial release, the movie did endure. The animated feature stood the test of time and ultimately won over fans when it was rereleased after World War II.

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The movie did deliver a variety of memorable Disney characters. For instance, Jiminy Cricket is a recognizable character who often gets used as a narrator or host for Disney specials. The lovable little cricket is a fan-favorite to many Disney fans.

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Memorable Villains

When it comes to Disney villains, there’s quite a few in Pinocchio’s movie. He has a rogues gallery that could rival a Marvel superhero!

Gideon. Honest John. Stromboli. The Coachman. Monstro.

Whew! But why are there so many villains for a small wooden puppet? Part of the answer lies in Pinocchio’s journey to become a real boy. The villains seek to deter Pinocchio’s quest and serve as moral lessons to the audience. When Pinocchio travels to school, he’s swayed by the cunning Honest John. Why should he study and work hard when Honest John says there’s easy money to be made?! Of course, we know that adventure went south for Pinocchio. He learns the hard way that he should have obeyed Geppetto and attended school.

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Pinocchio is put to the ultimate test when he goes to rescue his father from Monstro The Whale. The puppet could easily avoid risk and stay away, but he decides to pursue a selfless act to rescue Geppetto. Saving his father is the last moral lesson for Pinocchio. The last act of the movie emphasizes the importance of true love and family. The Blue Fairy rewards Pinocchio for overcoming the obstacles he faced in his adventures. Learning valuable moral lessons helps become a real boy.

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Disney Parks

Pinocchio is still a beloved Disney classic for families. Even though he premiered in 1940, his story is timeless. You can find Pinocchio merchandise and apparel in Disney Parks.

It is rare to see Pinocchio characters in Disney theme parks these days, but there are a few opportunities. For instance, you can watch Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket pass by crowds during the Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom. You can sometimes see Geppetto, Honest John, or Gideon during special events. We’ve seen them at runDisney events and DVC parties.

Finally, Pinocchio has his own attraction at Fantasyland in Disneyland. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey is a delightful  dark ride that retains the charm of Walt’s original theme park. Check it out if you ever visit Disneyland Resort!

We hope this inspires you to rewatch Pinocchio someday soon!

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Kevin Koszola