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Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Closer Look At - Peter Pan's Flight

The throng gather in front of Peter Pan's Flight
Peter Pan's Flight is not my favorite ride at Disneyland but if someone were to ask me which ride best represents the spirit of what Disneyland is all about, Peter Pan's Flight is the one I would pick.

PPF is a dark ride based on one of Walt Disney's classic films made long before the ride or the park were ever built. And PPF is one of the dozen or so rides that are still in existence from when the park opened in July 1955. So there is a certain timelessness about Peter Pan's Flight with its history intertwined with the Disney legacy for decades upon decades.

But there are other dark rides in Fantasyland that date back to 1955, what makes Peter Pan so special? Well, you really do fly. Rather than scoot a long the ground in some sort of vehicle that has you peering into brightly colored scenes around each turn, PPF takes you above it all in a ride vehicle suspended from the ceiling and has you looking down on the story below. Its really a unique ride experience. The scenes of the ride are classic taken right out of the movie as is the music that plays during the 2 minute and 30 second flight. Its a ride experience that most Disney fans will remember and cherish.

But here's the rub as they say. Peter Pan's Flight is popular, very popular. And PPF is what is known as a slow loader only able to handle about 600 guests per hour (compared to about 3000 guests per hour that Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion can move through) so PPF always, I mean always, has a line. If you think you are going to get a jump on the line by getting to the ride first thing in the morning, guess again, because by the time you arrive, the line will most likely have already started to form. Sometimes it seems that when Disneyland rides open in the morning, about half the people there are heading for Peter Pan. They already know that if you don't get there early, the wait time will normally be 30 - 45 minutes and this is any day, slow days, busy days, it doesn't seem to matter. People will always be waiting to get on Peter Pan.

I've been on Peter Pan's Flight plenty of times in my life. I can picture the flight right now. So I really don't count PPF as one of my must do attractions when I go to Disneyland though I completely understand those that do. Again, the long wait wait in a slow moving line for a ride that is only a couple brief minutes long doesn't fit into time budget. But every few years, there is an opportunity. I haven't been on Peter Pan's Flight since December 2008. There was a driving rainstorm in Disneyland. Guess what? The wait for PPF on that day was only about 15 or 20 minutes. I had my opportunity to experience the timeless magic of Peter Pan's Flight once again.

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