Disneyland vs. Disney World: Peter Pan’s Flight

peter_panWalt 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?

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Peter Pan’s Flight Pirate Ship

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!

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Disneyland’s Peter Pan’s Flight

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.

Winner: Disneyland

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

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Peter Pan’s Flight Rooftops

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

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Even Peter Pan can’t figure out why his attraction is in this area

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!

Winner: Disneyland

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Map of Neverland

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.

Winner: Disneyland

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?

Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

8 thoughts on “Disneyland vs. Disney World: Peter Pan’s Flight

  • September 16, 2015 at 11:28 am
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    This is a frequent source of discussion at our place. My wife LOVES the star effects at DLR and that’s sort of a trump card for her. I think the ability to FP the ride at WDW is its own trump card, and I also think the boarding experience at WDW (with the omnimover and the little “sprinkle pixie dust on your lap bar” thing they do) puts it over the top. Both great attractions, though!

    • September 16, 2015 at 11:46 am
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      I agree with your wife. After riding at MK all I could say was, “Where are the stars?” Boooo!

  • September 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm
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    I love this “vs” posts you do!
    It’s really great!
    Keep ’em coming! 🙂

    • September 16, 2015 at 9:11 pm
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      Thank you! Keep checking back for another coming soon!

  • September 16, 2015 at 5:22 pm
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    Not even close. I attend both parks yearly…. Almost all of Disneyland’s rides are better than Disney World’s… exept a few, like Tower of Terror and um, that’s about it. If your comparing bigger rides like Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Space, Big Thunder or Indiana Jones (compared to that dumb dinosaur thing at DW), there is no comparison.

    • September 26, 2015 at 10:18 am
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      How is Haunted Mansion in Disneyland better than WDW?

  • September 17, 2015 at 12:30 am
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    Paris combines the best of both. I Never want to see the Neverland scene in Disneyland except under show lighting, while it’s easy to see the cast member walkways through it in Magic Kingdom. It’s a shame it isn’t the finale since nothing that follows quite measures up.

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