DLR History: Peter Pan’s Flight
(Note from the Editor: Ryan Brown is now contributing articles every other Monday along with hosting the DLR Talks live video show. That being said, this is his first article. He will be covering Disneyland History. Enjoy)
Disneyland opened its gates to the public on July 18th 1955 with only a few attractions open and operational. One of these attractions was Peter Pan’s Flight — one of the few rides in the park that has remained since opening day.
The original concept for Peter Pan’s Flight was for guests to feel like they were Peter Pan. Flying through scenes of the Darling’s nursery, over London and to Neverland where guests would meet Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Princess Tiger Lily, and the crocodile (later to be named Tick-Toc). It has been said that many guests did not grasp Walt’s concept and were surprised, even upset, that they did not encounter Peter Pan.
In 1983, Fantasyland got overhauled. One part of these renovations was the closing of Skull Island and the Pirate Ship Restaurant. Many of the props, rigging and lanterns from the restaurant were put into Peter Pan’s Flight along with a suspended track, to give guests the sense of flying, and an Audio-Animatronic Peter Pan. One fun addition to the ride was a “Hidden Mickey.” These little Easter eggs are created by Imagineers as a tribute to Walt and his vision. The “Hidden Mickey” placed inside of Peter Pan’s Flight was a set blocks in the nursery that spell out Disney (D15N3Y) and Peter Pan.
After its renovation, Peter Pan’s Flight was a whole new experience. Flying over rooftops into the nursery, meeting Nana and the Darlings. Out their window you soar over a moonlit London with miniatures of famous landmarks. Passing the second star to the right, you find yourself circling Neverland in a star lighted sky. You journey to various places in Neverland visiting the ship of Captain Hook where you see Peter Pan fighting Hook. Then its off to the village of Princess Tiger Lily. The ride comes to an end with Peter and the Darlings making their way home as Hook tries to escape the jaws of Tick-Toc and finally a quick visit to the Mermaid Lagoon.
Disney’s Peter Pan’s Flight is an example of Walt’s imagination and a ride that has spanned the generations. It brings new magic to children, takes parents back to their childhood, and creates new adventure for families to experience together. Next time you find yourself at the Disneyland Resort take the time to ride Peter Pan’s Flight and experience the magic for yourself!