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Disneyland Article
California vs. Paris: Peter Pan
Hugh Allison
In the fourth of my series comparing the two Disneylands closest to my heart (California and Paris), I shall be looking at Peter Pan's Flight.

When I mention California's Peter Pan's Flight in this article, I am referring only to its current post-1983-refurb version, which added the interior queue-line, a Peter Pan audio-animatronic, the pirate-ship deck scene and the "return from Neverland" finale.

Both versions (California and Paris) have been residing in Fantasyland, in some form, since their parks' respective opening. They use the same overhanging mechanism to transport the rider above scenes from Peter Pan in chronological order and have very similar "hidden" details, such as the smoke coming out of the chimneys, the blocks in the nursery spelling out D15NEY and the mermaid resembling Ariel. Neither version uses Walt Disney World's omnimover-style loading system and, unlike at WDW, Nana is in the Nursery scene for both, rather than left outside.

Some details from California are, however, missing in France. For example there is no shadow of our heroes reflected onto the moon, the miniature version of the Jolly Roger doesn't shoot a cannon when the guest flies overhead and there is no reference to The Lost Boys.

Paris has also never had the opening, which California featured temporarily, in which Tinkerbell showered guests with Pixie Dust, thus explaining how their Pirate Galleon could fly.

Regardless of the missing elements, the Paris ride is slightly longer than California's (180 seconds as opposed to 150) which in part is because the vehicles in Europe travel slightly slower.

The more relaxed pace of the ride is the best explanation I can give for preferring the version in Paris. I do have other reasons however: Paris has a greater number of interesting details (such as the picture of George Darling in the Nursery), a soundtrack which suits the visuals more and a generally less jerky transportation system. Also, although both incur lengthy lines with nothing to look at, at least Paris has FastPass.

Geographically, I also prefer the position of the one in Paris. It is next to Adventureland's Pirates of The Caribbean whereas in California, Peter Pan's Flight is close to the Castle. Although the latter makes sense in terms of keeping it with other cartoon based dark rides, the former helps with the transition from Fantasyland to Adventureland both thematically and visually.

Peter Pan's Flight being next to Pirates of The Caribbean may seem odd as, other than both featuring buccaneers, the two are quite dissimilar. However, the architecture for Adventureland in Disneyland Resort Paris is said to be based on Peter Pan more than the land's other two official influences (Swiss Family Robinson and Treasure Island) which makes the transition barely noticeable.

Incidentally, the Adventureland in Paris features replicas of two oversized Peter Pan themed icons, both of which used to grace Fantasyland back in Anaheim: The Chicken of The Sea (now renamed Captain Hook's Galley) and Skull Rock.

In Pirates of The Caribbean, in Paris, there is also a hidden Skull Rock just after the second drop. Despite all these tributes to the location, in Barrie's original text (Peter Pan and Wendy), the shape of this geological abnormally is not referred to, and the structure is simply called "Marooner's Rock".

Another of the many major differences between Barrie's original, and Disney's interpretation, is that it was originally Hook's right hand that was replaced by his eponymous fixture. Disney shifted this to his left, so as to make the 1953 film easier to animate. However, on Peter Pan's Flight, the two times we see the character in the ride (for both California and Paris) the hook is on his right.

On the loading mural in Anaheim, the hook is correctly (?) on the left; the equivalent painting in France does not feature the villain.

NB, In Peter Pan, there is a similar continuity error; when the Captain is dragging Smee out of his cabin, the hook is on his right hand for one shot. In the film's 2002 sequel, Return To Neverland, the hook is on the left throughout, as it in the 1991 non-Disney film Hook.

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