Toy and Event of the Week: Plush Dale and our Family Vacation to Walt Disney World

Why did I choose this toy and event?

Originally, I chose this Dale plush for my Toys of the Week series to coincide with the Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers movie which premiered on Disney Plus recently.

However, as I started researching our trip and looking at our photo album, I found out that the trip to Walt Disney World happened in June. As I I was posting about this discovery in our Slack channel, Mickey and I discussed the possibility of making it my entry for TRN Summer Camp, so here we are! 

I have since watched the Chip ‘n’ Dale Disney Plus movie. Even with my limited experience of the original Rescue Rangers cartoon, I enjoyed the movie. John Mulaney, Andy Samberg, and Will Arnett are some of my favorite comedians, so I had been looking forward to the reboot movie from the time it was announced. If anyone is going to play a villainous version of Peter Pan, Arnett was the perfect choice.  

Why? Because our Walt Disney World visit happened in June of 1983, which makes it a legit summer vacation event. In addition to Walt Disney World and the still-new Epcot Center, we also went to Sea World while we were in Orlando, Florida. We also got Shamus, but one of our dogs ended up with at least one of our Shamus and stuffed toys are never the same once a dog has claimed them. 

We also checked out a ball pit somewhere because as children of the 1980’s, we had to check that out. It was also probably one of the coolest places we could go temperature-wise.

Walt Disney World ball pit

For example, poor Lamb Chop (an earlier entry in this series) recently returned to our house when we pet sat her new owners. Poor Lamb Chop was barely recognizable. During the visit, we even found one of Lamb Chop’s ears on the floor. 

We didn’t travel often as a family because my dad had to travel frequently for work. He didn’t care much for driving and as someone over six feet tall, airline travel wasn’t comfortable for him either. The good thing about this is that when we actually DID travel, it was always memorable. 

The first character we encountered when the park opened was one of my favorites: Peter Pan. I don’t think I had seen the movie all the way through yet because it was still stuck in the Disney vault seven year cycle. My mom saw it in the theater, but I loved the “You Can Fly” scene that appeared during the Disney Channel Christmas special. I also knew Peter Pan because that was (and still is, except during their recall period) our peanut butter brand. 

Walt Disney World Peter Pan

The cast member playing Peter Pan was really cute and my mom told me he did the one knee pose as my brother and I approached. Mom told me she saw him later on a special about theme park actors. I don’t think she specified if the special was all just Disney cast members or also included costumed actors at other parks. 

Also, check out my pink Snow White sandals. You can barely make out Snow White (in the one-knee picture) with the exception of her iconic black bob hairstyle. I also wore those sandals when we went to the movie theater for the first time and saw Snow White when she made our generation’s first visit from the Disney vault. 

Some other Disney cast members we encountered along the way included Little John from Robin Hood.

Walt Disney World Little John

Tweedle Dum from Alice in Wonderland

Walt Disney World

We did the obligatory pose in front of the castle.

Walt Disney World castle

We also checked out the still new and shiny Epcot center. I remember seeing Fidget in the Imaginarium and the presentation by Kraft Foods.

Walt Disney World epcot

We also saw a character show featuring Mickey, Chip ’n’Dale, Alice, Goofy, and Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

Where did I acquire this toy? 

Dale was very special because he came from the very end of our trip to Walt Disney World. (My brother got Chip) We only went to Disney World once as a family and my brother and I were both very little. This was a few weeks before my sixth birthday, so my brother was probably two and a half. 

Because we were all so fair complected, it was vital we stay hydrated. Whenever we go places where we have to be outside, we would always bring or buy a bottle of water. I used to have to share with my parents and then refill from the water fountains in the park. 

When we went to one of the character shows, a costumed Chip and Dale were trying to get my brother’s water bottle. My brother still had a baby bottle because he wasn’t able to reliably drink out of a sippy cup yet. 

Since the cast members in the costumes were wearing heavy fur in the heat, I have a new sympathy and respect for them. As an almost six year old, I wasn’t thinking about things like that at the time. 

While I was working at Media Play, the manager of my department rented an Easter Bunny costume for me. I used to think if everyone on this planet had to spend at least five minutes in one of those costumes, there would be a lot more empathy. 

My mom also told me the actors in the chipmunk costumes were really surprised I was able to tell them apart, but to me, it was obvious because of Dale’s red nose and buck teeth. Chip’s nose was black and he did not have buck teeth. Apparently, most young children aren’t able to tell them apart. 

Walt Disney World chip n dale

We went to the parade:

Was there a cartoon? 

Our Walt Disney World visit was in the early eighties, so it was about a decade before Rescue Rangers even premiered. I didn’t get to watch the Disney afternoon shows very often because most of them were on before I got home from school . They were also on at the same time as my mom’s soaps, so our VCR was usually tied up. 

I was mostly excited about the new Rescue Rangers movie because of the cast. I enjoyed Andy Samberg’s work on Saturday Night Live and I was a big Brooklyn Nine Nine fan. I also liked John Mulaney’s stand up as well as his writing and performances on Saturday Night Live. I’ve been a Will Arnett fan since Arrested Development

Who was the villain in the cartoon? 

Since this was before Rescue Rangers, Chip and Dale’s usual opponent was Donald Duck. The cartoon short I was most familiar with was when Donald cut down Chip and Dale’s tree and put it in his house as his Christmas tree. So I suppose you could say Donald Duck was the original Clark Griswold. 

Do I still have this toy or any of its accessories?

As you can see, I still have my Dale, but I don’t know what my brother did with his Chip. I was more likely to keep things that had sentimental value to me. My brother was more interested in the toys that had monetary value, like his metal Tonka trucks. 

I went online to try to buy myself a replacement Chip but it was a little too expensive. I did find another piece of Chip ‘n’ Dale merchandise of more practical use than another plush animal and I put that on my wish list for my birthday. We’ll see what happens with that next month. 

Did anything surprise me while researching this toy? 

Yes, and I didn’t even have to go online because it was printed right on his tag: Product of Korea. Contents: Shredded Clippings and Ground Nut Shells. So we have a chipmunk that is quite literally FILLED with NUTS! If that was the case for Dale, most likely, it was the same for Chip. 

The souvenir store was our last trip before we left the park, so we have pictures holding our respective chipmunk toys while we posed for our pictures with Eeyore and Pluto. I owe Eeyore (and his Cast Member) an apology for being so enamored of my new Dale plush that I didn’t notice him. 

Walt Disney World Pluto

I’m sorry, Eeyore. 

About Karen Flieger 75 Articles
I was born in the late 1970’s, spent my childhood in the 1980’s, and my pre-teen and teen years in the 1990’s. I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2001 with a B.A. in English. I collect various forms of media (books, music, movies, and television shows) as well as plush toys, dolls, and Funko figures.


  1. This looks and sounds a lot like some of my old summer vacations. I always did, and still do, prefer driving over flying because you get the chance to stop and check out roadside attractions that would be missed if you were flying.

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