Disney vs. Disney: Peter Pan’s Flight

Disney vs. Disney Peter Pan's Flight

Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the foundational Disney dark rides, with a version found in nearly every Magic Kingdom-style park around the world, but sharing the same name on the marquee doesn’t mean they offer the same experiences inside. Today’s Disney vs. Disney takes off for Neverland with a side-by-side comparison of Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida.

Peter Pan's Flight ride exterior at night at Walt Disney World
Which Flight to Neverland is the best? Find out in our Disney vs. Disney dive into the Peter Pan rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. (Photos/videos by Seth Kubersky)

Disneyland’s version of Peter Pan is currently closed for maintenance, along with the Alice in Wonderland and Mr. Toad dark rides that share its show building, which makes this the perfect time for a virtual visit to the vintage attraction.

Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland

Though it is not considered one of Disneyland Park’s major attractions, Peter Pan’s Flight is superbly designed and absolutely delightful, with a happy theme, a reunion with some unforgettable Disney characters, beautiful effects, and charming music.

Peter Pan's Flight ride exterior at Disneyland

Tiny pirate ships suspended from an overhead track launch you from Wendy’s window to fly over nighttime London and on to Neverland and an encounter with Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, and the ubiquitous crocodile.

In 2015 Peter Pan celebrated the park’s 60th anniversary with a refreshed exterior and brand-new special effects inside, including digital pixie dust projections and floating figures of Wendy and the Darling boys in the nursery scene. The colorful London flyover and rippling water effects are especially lovely.

We think Peter Pan is the best attraction in Fantasyland. Watch our 4K POV ride-through video here:

Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom

Like its Disneyland predecessor, Peter Pan’s Flight at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is also a perennial family favorite. Here, guests board their pirate ships from a moving walkway, then quickly cruise through the Darling family’s house before embarking on a relaxing trip in a ”flying pirate ship” over old London.

Next, it’s off to Neverland, where Peter saves Wendy from walking the plank and Captain Hook rehearses for Dancing with the Stars on the snout of his crocodilian nemesis.

Enjoy this 4K POV video of the Magic Kingdom’s Peter Pan ride:

Disneyland vs. Magic Kingdom: The Final Verdict

As you can see from the above videos, the Disneyland version of Peter Pan is—at about 2 minutes long—nearly a full minute shorter than Walt Disney World’s ride. However, Anaheim’s attraction packs far more spectacular scenes and special effects into that span, compared to Orlando’s aging presentation.

Peter Pan's Flight ride exterior at Disneyland with 40 minute posted wait time

On the other hand, while Disneyland’s queue is entirely outdoors and largely unshaded, the Magic Kingdom’s standby line runs under the roof of the building, out of direct sun and rain, and then enters an air-conditioned themed interior portion prior to boarding. This interactive queue features a walk through the Darlings’ street and home, where you’ll see family portraits and various rooms, play a few games to help pass the time, and get sprinkled with a bit of (virtual) pixie dust.

The catch is, while Peter Pan is very popular at both parks and attracts a 30-60-minute line on most days at Disneyland, standby wait times at the Magic Kingdom are often more than double that (despite having a higher hourly capacity), so you’ll be crawling through that themed queue at a snail’s pace.

That’s because Walt Disney World’s ride offers Lightning Lane access via Genie+, whereas Disneyland’s remains standby-only. As a result, Peter Pan’s Flight is (along with Jungle Cruise) one of the most helpful Genie+ reservations you can get in the Magic Kingdom. (If you’re using Genie+ at Disneyland and get a Multiple Experiences pass because a ride broke down, you may be able to redeem it at Peter Pan.) Whichever Peter Pan’s Flight you take, try to ride in the first 30 minutes the park is open, during a parade, or just before the park closes.

For all the above reasons, although we rate both versions of Peter Pan’s Flight as 4 stars in the Unofficial Guides, we give the slight edge to Disneyland’s version for its updated visuals and shorter standby waits.

Which version of Peter Pan’s Flight is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

For all there is to see and do in Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. If you are visiting Anaheim, you will want to get The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland

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