Tinkerbell wasn’t always this popular. Sure, she has been kicking off fireworks shows for decades now, but that was just because it was sort of her job, not because little girls were clamoring for more Tink. And while it’s definitely a thrill to see her glide down from the castle’s tallest spire, older Magic Kingdom visitors might remember a more up-close-and-personal encounter with Miss Bell.
At first I wasn’t sure if I had just imagined this. It’s one of those little things that pop up in memory, as if your childhood self had sent you a postcard that the U.S. Postal Service lost behind a copy machine or something for the past 20 years, and only now just got around to delivering it. But with just a little faith and trust, and some happy thoughts, I’ve managed to find some concrete evidence that my mind isn’t playing tricks on me (at least when it comes to Tinkerbell; the jury is still out on my memories of starring alongside Chaplin in an all-bunny-suit revival of “Othello”).
Once upon a time, as you boarded your pirate galleon in the loading area of Peter Pan’s Flight, you were sprinkled with Pixie Dust before taking off into the nursery. The dust came courtesy of Tinkerbell’s wand, and she was in very close proximity, hovering right next to your vehicle, visible even to the people in the queue. At some point, she was removed from this area, and your pirate ship takes off of its own accord. It might have happened when FastPass was added, but I’m pretty sure it was actually long before that, as part of a different rehab.
There are some out there that claim that the Tinkerbell figure now seen inside the ride is the same one as used to fly in the loading zone. It may be; the scale is about right. I haven’t found any photographic record of Loading Zone Tink (with Karate Chop Action!), but I know she was there. How do I know?
Because Tokyo, God bless ’em, still has her.
Last time I rode Peter Pan’s Flight, the cast member who supervises as you step into your flying ship was holding a souvenir magic wand with light-up star on the end. She would wave the wand with a little flourish just before the safety bar closed itself. She was no Tink but it was still a cute plus that added to the enjoyment of the ride.
Yeah, the effect was not all that impressive, but it was still an awesome little thing. I actually remember her flitting back and forth, but that could be my imagination.
I totally remember Tink in the load area, but I don’t have any recollection of pixie dust. All I remember seeing was just a cheesy little version of her hanging from a string up in the trees near the end of the load area’s moving platform. Nothing special, but I still look for her in that spot every time I ride.
Word is they didn’t feel like keeping the effect working (among others – what else is new.)
Tink is currently hanging in an office somewhere at WDW though.
What you need to understand Shane is that Tokyo takes such incredibly good care of their parks (and the Japanese in general are very respectful of property and cause only a fraction of the damage that a U.S. audience does) that the Tokyo rides are more or less time capsules. Anything you remember from an original ride is preserved perfectly in Tokyo… it is seriously like going back in time.
In fact Tomorrowland over there is so strange because on one level it is virtually exactly like it was on opening day in 1983 (and really feels much older sporting the 70’s design) and therefore feels dated. On the other hand it also looks literally brand new, as if they just opened a 70’s themed space land 2 weeks ago… it boggles the mind how they can keep something treaded on by hundreds of millions of people looking as if they just built it.
I’ll tell you, we could use some of that mojo stateside.