Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort share a number of the same attractions, such as Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, “it’s a small world,” and many others. But if you think that these attractions are the same on both coasts, you would be mistaken.
One of the many things I love about Disney is that they never do the same thing twice; and while the attractions that can be found on both coasts may share the same names and themes, they do have differences too. Hey, who doesn’t like variety, right? But you have to wonder, which resort has the best version of a popular attraction? Which Disney Park has the bragging rights? Well, that’s what I’m going to find out beginning with a classic in Disneyland vs. Disney World: Peter Pan’s Flight.
What is Peter Pan’s Flight?
Peter Pan’s Flight is a suspended dark ride that was an opening day attraction at both the Disneyland Park in 1955 and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in 1971; and to this day, is still incredibly popular and notorious for long lines on both coasts. Peter Pan’s Flight is unique from other dark rides in that guests ride in a pirate ship than runs on a track suspended from the ceiling rather than on the ground. It flies guests out of the Darling’s Nursery, over London, and then on to Neverland. It’s magical for kids, nostalgic and charming for adults, and both versions of the classic attraction have undergone refurbishments as of late. Earlier this year, the queue at Disney World’s Peter Pan’s Flight was refurbished to include special effects, such as interactive pixie dust, shadows, and even a look at the Darling Nursery. Also, Disneyland’s version gained new lighting and other enhancements and recently reopened in July. It’s the same ride guests know and love, but more illuminated!
Façade: While both versions of Peter Pan’s Flight can be found in Fantasyland, they both feature very different façades. This is partly due to each Fantasyland’s theme. At Disney World, Fantasyland has a medieval faire style with colorful banners and tents while Disneyland’s Fantasyland style is that of a Alpine, fairy tale village. Therefore, the Magic Kingdom’s Peter Pan’s Flight has a multi-colored exterior with shields lining the front of the queue, but Disneyland’s version is housed in a Bavarian style structure and clock tower. Personally, I love Disneyland’s façade so much more than Disney World’s. I would much rather feel as if I’m venturing deeper into a fairy tale village than a plastic-y, multi-colored Renaissance faire.
FastPass: Disney World’s version of Peter Pan’s Flight offers FastPass+, which is such a good thing because the wait times for this classic are ridiculously long throughout most of the day and even in the evening hours. Unfortunately, Disneyland does not offer FASTPASS for its Peter Pan’s Flight, meaning you need to arrive early to ride or be prepared to wait awhile in the queue.
Winner: Disney World
Ride Duration: The Magic Kingdom’s Peter Pan’s Flight is about 2 minutes and 48 seconds while Disneyland’s is shorter at 2 minutes and 20 seconds. While only a little more than twenty seconds isn’t that much of a difference, it is once you’ve had to wait in one of Peter Pan’s long, lengthy lines!
Winner: Disney World
Queue: Disneyland’s Peter Pan’s Flight is mostly outdoors and winds in front of the loading platform. It’s rather narrow and cramped like most of the queues at Disneyland, especially in comparison to the Magic Kingdom’s, and has a mural as a backdrop. There’s also chimneys and smokestacks that the pirate ships sail over before moving into the attraction scenes. Since 1971, the Magic Kingdom’s Peter Pan’s Flight queue has been rather plain, but due to its recent refurbishment, it now boasts interactive effects to keep guests occupied while they wait! Guests now pass through interior portions of the queue showcasing artwork from the film and then into the interior of the Darling’s home to encounter Tinker Bell’s pixie dust and interactive shadow effects! It’s incredible stuff that is sure to be a hit with kids and awe adults too; but keep in mind that the only way to experience this new queue is by waiting in the standby line. If you get a FastPass+, the line most likely will not take you through the new queue.
Check out Disney World’s Peter Pan’s Flight Interactive Queue here!
Winner: Disney World
Location: Both versions of Peter Pan’s Flight can be found in Fantasyland, but they do have different locations within those lands. At Disney World, Peter Pan’s Flight is a little ways from Cinderella Castle and across the path from “it’s a small world.” Honestly, I’m not a fan of this placement. The pathway is known to be a bottleneck and seems a little removed from the most scenic parts of Fantasyland. At Disneyland, however, Peter Pan’s Flight can be found just to your right once you pass through Sleeping Beauty Castle and across the way from other Fantasyland dark ride classics, such as Pinocchio’s Daring Journey and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. This location is perfect for such a popular, iconic Fantasyland ride and I love seeing the castle while waiting to board my pirate ship!
Attraction Effects: This is a hard one, folks. You see, I think Disneyland’s Tinker Bell effects inside the attraction are perfect, as is the new lightning. I also love the stars and how your ship seems to float through them, as well as the effect of the Neverland island in the distance as guests fly away from London. However, I personally prefer the London scene at Disney World and think it’s much more magical. I can almost believe those cars moving below are real. So which attraction has the best effects? While I prefer flying over Disney World’s London scene, Disneyland’s Peter Pan’s Flight has the most and best effects.
Overall Ride: So which version of Peter Pan’s Flight do I think offers the best overall ride? Which would I prefer to experience if given the choice? For me, it’s almost impossible to answer! But if I really have to make a choice, I would have to give Disney World the slight, and I do mean slight, edge. Why? I love the attraction’s new queue, but also the traditional effects of the flight over London and Neverland that have kept me enchanted since my childhood. I especially love the ability to book a wait-free ride with FastPass+, especially if I’ve visiting during a busy time of year and want to make sure I get a Peter Pan fix without spending an hour in line.
Winner: Disney World
So which Peter Pan’s Flight is the winner? Disney World’s Peter Pan’s Flight! Yes, Peter Pan’s Flight at the Magic Kingdom, in my opinion, has the best overall ride, queue, and FastPass option. But do you agree? Is Disney World’s Peter Pan’s Flight the superior of the two, or do you think Disneyland’s version deserves more credit?