Monday, May 04, 2009

Disneyland Construction Series: Peter Pan

You have to start somewhere with an attraction, and what better place to start than with a drawing. Here is a concept drawing for the attraction vehicle for one of Disneyland’s favorite Fantasyland attractions, Peter Pan’s Flight.

And in the beginning, there was...CLAY! Somehow you have to make the leap from 2D to 3D. This photo of a sculpted pirate ship shows you the origins of the attraction vehicle for Peter Pan’s Flight at Disneyland. You can see that the design is very similar to the one for the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship Restaurant just down the way.

Here’s a shot of what actually got built; this one is from June 1957.

And from February 1960:

And a current shot:

There is something about this particular dark ride that stands out from the others. In premise, it is identical to Mr. Toad, Snow White, and Pinocchio: you get in a vehicle and ride through scenes from a movie as if they are happening to you. What makes this one so different? Why does the line queue fill up as soon as the park opens? Well I’m gonna’ tell ya! Every time the Pirate Ship leaves the Nursery and flies over London, it is absolutely breathtaking. No photo can capture the sensation (and Lord knows I’ve tried!) of feeling like you are flying over the twinkling lights of the big city, or the rainbow covered falls of Neverland. What child or adult wouldn’t be swept away by that sensation?

See more vintage & current Peter Pan’s Flight photos at my regular website.


Thufer said...

to this day, peter pan is still my favorite ride in the castle section of fantasyland. and, rates very high on the list park wide. it is hard to explain upon reflection, but it must be the thought of a 'flying' boat ride. the trip above london and the dissolve into never never land is in a word, entertaining. just a wonderful attraction and yes, a must ride every visit to the kingdom.

Katella Gate said...

Yes, Peter Pan is a great little ride. You'd never know the ride conveyor system was the same one used to haul dead cattle carcasses through the slaughter line for further dismemberment. Very magical.

By the way, I made that up completely. I just wanted to see if I could start an internet rumor.

TokyoMagic! said...

I never noticed that the attraction poster mentions Snow White and Mr. Toad as well, which got me thinking...has Mr. Toad ever had an attraction poster? And did Snow White ever have one prior to the 1983 version?

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, you managed to get those two photos, at least! More than I was ever able to do. I can hear Big Ben chiming right now...

"Peter Pan" is definitely my favorite of all the dark rides.

CoxPilot said...

Hang on everybody . . . here we goooo!