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Disneyland Article
California vs. Paris: Pinocchio

Pinocchio's Daring Journey
Hugh Allison
December 1, 2010
December 1, 2010
In the third of a monthly series of comparisons between the two Disneylands closest to my heart (California and Paris), I will be looking at the rides, shops and eateries based on Pinocchio.

In California, the ride is called Pinocchio's Daring Journey (as it is in Japan), whereas in Paris, it is called Les Voyages de Pinocchio which translates literally as The Journeys of Pinocchio. For the benefit of this article, I will abbreviate the former ride to PDJ and the latter to LVP.

Having said that, however, the English language guide maps to the parks in France refer to the attraction as "Pinocchio's Fantastic Journey"

Both are dark rides, which can be found in Fantasyland. Both last just over two minutes, although the woodcutter's cart in which you travel, supposedly carved by Gepetto himself, seats four riders in PDJ and six in LVP.

The queue area for LVP is the bigger of the two, and bizarrely features a half carved duck, but has fewer details, flags or lights.

The attractions themselves are pretty similar experiences, going through the same scenes in the same order. PDJ has more Hidden Mickeys, such as in the spilt popcorn and in the carvings of the end scene; LVP has more hidden "donkeys", thematically implying the true nature of "Pleasure Island".

On the whole though, I much prefer PDJ. This is because LVP doesn't use a hologram for the Lampwick scene, and has a much slower, and thus less scary, emergence of Monstro.

PDJ has a lot more dialogue throughout the attraction. What dialogue there is, in LVP is in French (including the lyrics to "An Actor's Life For Me" in the opening Marionette scene. In my opinion, the Paris park should feature the dialogue in Italian, as per one idea which was floating around during the building of what was then EuroDisney, whereby all Fantasyland attractions had dialogue in the language appropriate to where the relevant film was set, which was also the home country of the author of the original tale. If this was developed further, whilst the majority of attractions in other lands would be in French, Snow White's attraction would have been in German, Peter Pan's in English and Pinocchio's in Italian.

LVP's ride exits through a gift shop, La Petite Maison des Jouets (the little house of toys), whereas PDJ does not. Both attractions do have a nearby Stomboli themed wagon. In Paris, this sells food, whereas in California, it sells Merchandise.

Whilst on this topic, I should also mention Village Haus Restaurant, which, in California, is hosted by MinuteMaid. The Paris equivalent, Au Chalet de la Marionnette (at the chalet of the puppets), which has no sponsor, is practically identical in terms of menu and design, although it sometimes has a visiting band playing live in its courtyard.

Both restaurants feature a painted version of the storyline of Pinocchio (the Disney interpretation, rather than Collodi's original, in which the cricket was left un-named and killed early on). Walking round the restaurant is an easy way to tell the story of the Wooden Boy to children who may not have seen the movie, making sure they understand the plot before they go on the ride.

My stomach requests that I take this time to mention that neither of these restaurants have ever sold Figaro Fries. These fries, named after the cat from Pinocchio, were topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and ranch sauce. Exceptionally unhealthy, these were only ever sold in the equivalent eatery in Florida, Pinocchio's Village Haus, and are now off the menu there too. Although now a vegetarian, the loss of this meal breaks my heart.

Although LVP and its associated shops and restaurants opened with the rest of the Paris Resort, PDJ and its restaurant and wagon did not open with Disneyland in 1955, but were added in the Fantasyland refurb in 1983. The park had, however, long been considering an unnamed "Pinocchio Dark Ride", having planned to add it to the never built Dumbo's Circusland of the 1970s.

During the development of PDJ and the Village Haus Restaurant in the early 1980s, Imagineers forgot to add the legally required Exit signs. When the mistake was noticed, it was too late to add these centrally above the door, so a Figaro was painted with a rope in his paws in such a way that it appeared that the kitten had pulled the sign out of position.

As a tribute to this, in Au Chalet de la Marionnette, there is a painting of Figaro next to an Exit sign, looking smug that this one has been positioned correctly.
Attractions Referenced

Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Restaurants Referenced

Village Haus Restaurant

Lands Referenced


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