Visitors of all ages to the Magic Kingdom love taking a ride on Peter Pan’s Flight, and this timeless ride attracts long lines every day in the park. While you’ve probably been on the ride many times during your previous trips to Walt Disney World, there are many hidden details that are often overlooked by guests. Disney’s Imagineers always put so much time and effort into every aspect of the attractions they build, so today, we’re going to share some fun facts you may not know about this popular Fantasyland attraction.
Flying High Above the Sky
Especially for little kids, you’ll feel like you are flying high above the ground when you board Peter Pan’s Flight. The reason for this feeling is the use of forced perspective, which makes you feel like you are flying miles above London and the various scenes in the attraction. Forced perspective is something that’s used throughout the parks, particularly along Main Street, U.S.A. and with Cinderella’s Castle. In fact, at the highest point of Peter Pan’s Flight, you are only flying 17 feet above the ground, yet it always feels so much more from your pirate ship.
A Disneyland Opening Day Attraction
While the attraction can be found in various Disney parks throughout the world today, it is one of the few remaining opening day attractions from Disneyland. First opened in 1955, the attraction is based on the 1953 Peter Pan movie that was inspired by the story by J.M. Barrie. Of course, the Disneyland attraction has been upgraded since this time, and the length of the attraction and the number of animated figures have been increased. The original version remained until about 1982 when the attraction was closed for a lengthy refurbishment. This then opened in May 1983, and this is the version that guests in Disneyland know and love to this day. The theming and technology were much improved during this time as part of the major remodeling project in Fantasyland.
A Global Attraction
Peter Pan’s Flight can be found in five out of the six Disney resorts in the world. Each park’s attraction varies slightly, so if you ever find yourself in one of the international parks, make sure you still take a ride on Peter Pan’s Flight. The only resort which doesn’t contain the attraction is Hong Kong Disneyland, but elsewhere in the world, it’s still as popular as it is every day in the Magic Kingdom. The Tokyo Disneyland attraction was renovated in 2016 to add more digital effects and bring it more in line with other attractions in the park. Shanghai Disneyland’s version is also unique in the fact that it has a 4-person vehicle, as opposed to the 2-person boat found elsewhere in the world. These vehicles can also change speed and stop, and as it’s the newest park, you’ll find new and unique scenes in the attraction here.
Themed Queue Experience
The Magic Kingdom’s attraction was updated in 2014 to include a new indoor queue area. The nearby restrooms were removed, and the queue now begins with a corridor that includes interactive murals. You then head into the Darling’s home and enjoy witnessing the nursery. The high level of detail in this queue means your wait time now passes a little quicker, and it also made room for the FastPass+ system.
The Original Concept
The original idea for the ride was for guests to fly through the attraction while witnessing everything through the eyes of Peter Pan. This idea didn’t work for many guests, who questioned why they never saw Peter Pan during the ride. When the Walt Disney World version of the attraction opened in 1971, the ride added scenes with Peter Pan and new audio-animatronic figures. While it was still very reminiscent of the Disneyland attraction, it added these much-needed extra scenes to help with the story.
The Omni-mover System
If you’ve ever wondered how the attraction operates so smoothly, this is all thanks to the Omni-mover system. This is used throughout many of the park’s most popular attractions and allows the ride to load and unload guests while it’s still moving continually. It uses a moving walkway to get guests on and off their vehicles, which makes loading and unloading much quicker than a stationary loading process. When guests need a little more time to board, the system can then be slowed down or even stopped to allow them time to board their vehicle.
Keep an Eye Out on the Nursery Blocks
One of the most famous scenes in the attraction is the nursery scene, where you’ll see classic wooden blocks similar to those you may have in your home. Pay close attention to these blocks, as they spell out “DISNEY.” It’s one of the most fun touches in the ride and pays tribute to the man who started it all.
Flying Over London
We love the feeling of soaring over London from up above while riding Peter Pan’s Flight. When you look down, you’ll see the cars on the streets down below. These cars have glow-in-the-dark paint added to them on a bicycle chain, which is then placed into the scene to create this effect. It just goes to show that you don’t need to use the most advanced technology or techniques to create the incredible effects we see in many of the Disney attractions today.
Avoiding the Queues
Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the most popular attractions in the whole of Walt Disney World, so if you don’t want to miss out on the fun of this attraction, make sure you plan accordingly. We recommend you head straight here first thing in the morning for the lowest wait times or straight after the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train if that’s on the top of your must-see attractions list. When FastPass does return, we highly encourage you to use this as one of your selections, but this will also go extremely quickly, and you’ll need to be online on the day they are released to secure a FastPass. Otherwise, if you ever get the chance to attend an After Hours event, such as the upcoming Boo Bash, this is another good time to head on Peter Pan’s Flight.
Learning to Fly
Most classic Disney dark rides use a ride vehicle that travels along a traditional track on the ground. Unlike these attractions, Peter Pan’s Flight uses a ride track that’s attached to the ceiling. As this design doesn’t involve some of the hazards that you find on the ground, in fact, the experience is often a lot smoother for everyone on the ride. The vehicles never need to stop, which is what the Omni-mover concept is based on. Flying up above the scenes offers riders a thrilling experience unlike any other attraction in the land, which is why kids and adults alike absolutely love this ride.
Peter Pan’s Flight is a timeless attraction that has been loved since the opening day of Disneyland. It’s one of the few attractions that still gathers huge wait times even after so many years, and it’s unlikely to decrease in popularity any time soon. We encourage you to get here first thing in the morning for the lowest wait times, otherwise you’ll easily spend at least an hour in line later on in the day. There are so many hidden treasures and unique details that went into this attraction, and each time you ride, you are bound to notice something new.