When the term ‘classic attraction’ is brought up while referencing the Magic Kingdom, one attraction in particular will always come to mind for me. Peter Pan’s Flight located in Fantasyland has been one of my favorite attractions for years, and equally has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of guests.
When I was a little girl, I would drag my family onto the queue for Peter Pan’s Flight, enjoy the attraction, get off…and force everyone to get right back on. Over and over and over… To say that this has long been a favorite of mine is not doing it justice, and rightly so. From the magic of actually flying, to the close calls with pirates, to dizzying overhead scenes of London Peter Pan’s Flight puts you right up there in the clouds with Peter soaring off to Neverland to never grow up.
In the Magic Kingdom, Peter Pan’s Flight opened two days after the official resort opening on October 3, 1971. The attraction was based upon the ever-popular version of it located in Disneyland which opened in July 1955. Both versions are based upon the Disney animated classic feature film which premiered in 1953 which in turn was based upon the 1904 JM Barrie play (if you have never read Barrie’s version, I highly recommend it). Today, the attraction is so beloved and well known that it is also featured in Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.
As the attraction is so popular with guests, the wait time can be extremely high during peak crowd times. I advise visiting either first thing in the morning or late at night when Fantasyland is significantly less crowded. If you can’t visit during those times, or find that there is a long wait, getting a FastPass is definitely the way to go. Just be aware that FastPasses can often run out by mid-day if the park is particularly crowded.
Before you even enter into the attraction, there are some details to take notice of in the surrounding area. Look for a brown barrel bearing words “Lost Boys Fire Brigade” accompanied by the name of a fire chief. This barrel is actually a prop used to mask a hidden fire hydrant, but as with all things Disney a level of detail is added to make it seamlessly blend in with its surrounding environment. Through referencing the Lost Boys, the barrel seems right at home near Peter Pan’s Flight while still maintaining its actual function. As you approach the attraction’s building, be sure to look up at the weather vane which is made to resemble a pirate ship. Also check out the layout of the land and walkways just past the attraction near the new Rapunzel themed bathrooms. The Rapunzel bathrooms were built to replace ones which existed directly next to Peter Pan. Now that these new bathrooms are open, the rumor is that Peter Pan’s Flight will get an extended interactive queue to help with long lines. It will definitely be interesting to see how the attraction can be built upon with a new queue!
Once you enter into the queue, you immediately hear that classic instrumental version of “You Can Fly” and are transported to the world of Pan and Neverland. As you work your way through the switchbacks and approach the turnstile, look at the decorative trees on your left. On one of the barks, there is a classic Hidden Mickey. After the turnstile you are given your first clear view of the loading area and pirate ships upon which you are about to take to the skies in. Your first stop is the Darling’s nursery where you witness the children’s first meeting with Peter Pan. Keep your eyes out for some play blocks on the floor which spell out “P Pan” and “Disney.” Next up is a flight over London, where forced perspective is used in breathtaking detail to make you feel as though you are truly soaring high above Big Ben and the Tower of London. See all of those cars speeding along the roads below? They are actually small dots of black light paint on rotating bike chains. Such a great example of how a little detail can make a scene truly magical!
As you work your way through London and past the second star on the right, you finally enter into Neverland where you come face to face with pirates, Indians, and some bathing mermaids. As you pass Mermaid Lagoon, pay close attention to the few mermaids scattered about. One of them looks a whole lot like Ariel, right? You then encounter the showdown between Captain Hook’s band of pirates and Peter, ultimately being shown Peter’s victory as he steers the ship with his friends by his side. As for Hook, we see him end up fighting to escape the crocodile with Mr. Smee attempting to come to his rescue. My favorite part of the whole attraction is the final scene you are left with featuring the golden, pixie dusted ship as it sails back to Neverland through the sky for its next adventure.
While this attraction is considered by some to be short or not worth the lengthy waits, it will always hold such a special meaning for me as it was one of those magical moments for a kid where I truly believed that even for a few minutes I was transported to Neverland with Peter. I think many Disney fans will agree with me that this attraction will always capture the hearts of guests through its magic and classic story.