This year, Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio” celebrates the 75th anniversary of its original release. Based on a novel by Italian author Carlo Collodi, Disney’s second animated feature may not have a ride at Walt Disney World, but it is featured predominantly in the heart of Fantasyland. At “Pinocchio’s Village Haus,” guests are invited to dine on flatbreads and other Italian-inspired dishes surrounded by a series of charming murals that tell the story of the beloved film.
Each dining room in this popular restaurant is themed to a different scene from Pinocchio’s story. The room celebrating “Geppetto’s Workshop,” for example, features a charming mural based on the moment the Blue Fairy brought the wooden puppet to life. While Geppetto’s pets weren’t present during this scene on film, the artwork here shows Cleo the goldfish enchanted by what she is seeing while Figaro the cat is clearly much more shocked by this unusual event.
Although Walt Disney resisted incorporating characters from his animated features into his short subjects, preferring to let each feature stand on its own, the characters of “Pinocchio” seemed to be a notable exception. While Jiminy Cricket would likely be the character the studio would revisit most from the film, Figaro and Cleo would find themselves in a modern setting as the stars of a 1943 animated short fittingly titled “Figaro and Cleo.” Throughout the 1940s, Figaro would also go on to make several more appearances, primarily in shorts alongside Minnie Mouse and Pluto. Even today, Figaro continues to make appearances in the Disney Junior series “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Minnie’s Bow Toons” as Minnie’s pet. With later appearances far removed from the storybook world of “Pinocchio,” Figaro is proof that cats can live nine lives.