‘Smellephants on Parade’ Search & Sniff Experience Coming to Magic Kingdom

No need to check the calendar, it’s late July–not April 1st. Yes, this is real.

Walt Disney World has announced a new interactive experience called “Smellephants on Parade.” Coming to Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, “Smellephants on Parade” will be a family-friendly “search and sniff” adventure in Storybook Circus.

As you can see from the concept art, a new statue inspired by the “Pink Elephants on Parade” from Dumbo will be added outside that attraction. However, it’s not much of an adventure if all of the searching and all of the sniffing is done around one ride–so we’re guessing there will be other statues throughout Storybook Circus.

“Smellephants on Parade” will begin with a casting call from Timothy Q. Mouse, who is seeking a “Whiff-sistant” to join Dumbo’s newest act. At the ticket booth in front of Big Top Souvenirs, Cast Members will provide guests with a free map and sticker sheet to guide guests in the game.

Whiff-sistants will explore Storybook Circus to find a number of smelly elephant statues, each with a unique and circus-inspired fragrance. (Popcorn is an example of one of the scents. Hopefully Disney didn’t get inspiration from Babylon for any of the other scents.)

Aside from that, details about the “Smellephants on Parade” search and sniff adventure are unknown. Disney Parks opted to make this announcement via social media rather than a typical press release or post on the Disney Parks Blog. The social media post ended with Disney teasing, “stay tuned for ‘relephant’ details.”

No opening date or time frame for the “Smellephants on Parade” interactive experience have been shared. If recent precedent is any indication, we expect groundbreaking to occur by mid-2025 and the searching and the sniffing to begin in earnest shortly before the end of the decade. So start planning your 2029 trips around “Smellephants on Parade” and the first expansion to Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe!

It’s possible that Disney Parks opted to quietly share this on social media because it’s very small scale and unlikely to excite…anyone? It’s also possible that they’re not exactly proud of their partnership with a MLM company, which is the sponsor of “Smellephants on Parade.” (Disney made a deal to publicize the brand name; I have no such obligation to provide free advertising for it.) There’s a reasonable chance that corporate alliance is the only reason this will exist in the first place.

For those unfamiliar with multi-level marketing, these companies are essentially legal pyramid schemes. As for why Walt Disney World is partnering with MLMs, your guess is as good as mine–but it isn’t the first time! Disney doing this type of thing bothers me, as the company lends its credibility to the MLM and, in so doing, provides a bit of reputation laundering and legitimacy to the MLM.

This might end up as aging as well as all of crypto sports and stadium sponsorships, which wouldn’t be the first time a Disney-MLM partnership ended badly. But I’ve been critical of this practice in the past, so I won’t continue to belabor the point.

In terms of other commentary…I dunno, it’s kind of tough to take this seriously?

On the one hand, I very much think that Magic Kingdom could use a permanent scavenger hunt, interactive adventure, or whatever you want to call it. Something to fill the void left by Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, which has now been gone for a couple of years.

One the other hand, it’s hard to imagine that “Smellephants on Parade” is that thing. At best, I suspect we’re looking at a few cute statues of colorful elephants that maybe smell nice or something. Basically, a pleasant excuse to fulfill a partnership deal. Win-win.

The worst case is that “Smellephants on Parade” actually becomes a thing, and hundreds of guests are walking around Storybook Circus, aggressively sniffing statues that are just out of reach. Like the arm-flailing that happens as guests try to activate the MagicBand+ scavenger hunt with those 50th Anniversary statues, but with noses.

So really, the better outcome here is “Smellephants on Parade” being a nothingburger that’s never spoken of again and quickly forgotten until elephant statues randomly pop-up in Storybook Circus a decade from now. At which point, fans will question “why are these here?” To which the response will be, “who cares, they smell and look nice.” That is, before historians dig up ancient blog posts like this and discover their true purpose. But still, they’ll smell nice.

On a slightly less cynical (but still somewhat cynical) note, let’s all be thankful that this wasn’t announced at Destination D23. After all of the hype about the $17 billion investment at Walt Disney World and DisneylandForward in California from CEO Bob Iger and Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro, it feels like we’re standing on the precipice of another “Disney Decade” for the theme parks, with major announcements coming soon.

Can you imagine if, instead of Animal Kingdom expansion or news about nighttime spectaculars, the big reveal during Destination D23 were “Smellephants on Parade”? It would be like when Bob Chapek trotted the Target dog up on stage at the D23 Expo…but if that were the only thing he did, and nothing else were announced. (With that said, if Josh D’Amaro wants to bring a baby elephant on stage at Destination D23, I have zero objections and/or criticism.)

With that said, we’re not out of the woods yet. Those “relephant” details are coming soon, and Destination D23 is soon.

Ultimately, all snark aside, I really do strongly believe that Magic Kingdom and every other park could use more interactive experiences that do not require technology. Imagineering testing out new types of scavenger hunts is perfectly fine by me. Engaging guests–especially kids–with active and sensory experiences sounds great, and could be a good antidote to all of the screen time the parks now encourage. (I’d suggest a Disney Lorcana card game tie-in to the parks, but I’m concerned that’ll have a super-obsessive fanbase that might make it a poor candidate for a theme park game.)

I just don’t think “Smellephants on Parade” is likely to be that thing. My guess is that it’ll be superficial; a good way to get the sponsor’s name into guests’ heads, but not much else. Here’s hoping I’m wrong, and “Smellephants on Parade” will be a delightful diversion that’s fleshed out and a fun way for families to spend an hour or so in Magic Kingdom. Looking forward to playing it with Megatron when they’re a teenager!

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Your Thoughts

What do you think of “Smellephants on Parade” coming to Storybook Circus? Are you somewhat excited or very excited for this search and sniff adventure? Would you like to see more interactive experiences in Magic Kingdom and the other parks at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

30 Responses to “‘Smellephants on Parade’ Search & Sniff Experience Coming to Magic Kingdom”
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