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.