Originating in J. M. Barrie's 1904 play "Peter Pan" and its 1911 novelization "Peter and Wendy," Tinkerbell was the real star of Walt Disney's 1953 animated feature film "Peter Pan." Tinkerbell steals the film with her antics and has become an unofficial mascot for Disney.
Tinkerbell gets her name from her speech, which was said by Barrie to resemble the sound of a tinkling bell (though she does not speak in the Disney film). She cannot fly in the rain, but can enable others to fly by sprinkling them with fairie dust (also known as pixie dust). Technically, she is a Pixie.
The Disney Tinkerbell was based on actress Margaret Kerry. When she walks or flies, she leaves behind a small trail of Pixie Dust. She uses a wand to sprinkle her pixie dust, though she did not do that in the film.
You can meet Tinkerbell at both Disneyland and Disney World. At Disneyland, a Pixie Hollow meet-and-greet area opened on October 28, 2008, near the Matterhorn. A similar area called "Tinker Bell's Magical Nook" is in Adventureland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida.