You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!
It’s the ride that we all remember from our childhoods, but that has always got a long line. The Lightning Lane on Disney’s Genie+ (the FastPass replacement) always sells out. The line always snakes around Fantasyland. But why is the ride so popular?
Well, the ride actually isn’t more popular than any other ride in the theme park! And we’re here to tell you why.
Peter Pan’s Flight is a rail-suspended dark ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland theme parks.
Located in the Fantasyland area of each Park, the ride’s story, music, staging, and artwork are based on Walt Disney’s Peter Pan, the 1953 animated film version of the classic Peter Pan story by J. M. Barrie.
Interestingly, it has an amazing Disney history. It is one of the few remaining attractions that was operational on Disneyland’s opening day in 1955, although the original version of the attraction was entirely redesigned in 1983.
It’s not about popularity, it’s all about ride capacity. Disney aims to make its attractions have the most efficient ride loading possible.
Think Pirates of the Caribbean with its separate Lightning Lane boat launch or Haunted Mansion’s continuous Doom Buggy loading.
Well, Peter Pan’s Flight does not have a very efficient ride system, which leads to the frequently high wait times we all know at the Magic Kingdom attraction.
Pirates of the Caribbean can load up to 3000 Guests an hour with its dual boat launch and larger vehicles, while Peter Pan’s Flight can only manage 800 Guests an hour.
That’s a significant difference – because Peter Pan actually has the lowest operating capacity of almost any ride at Walt Disney World!
Apparently, according to the Cast Members we spoke to, Disney can increase the speed of the ride to deal with more crowded days at the theme park.
But those wait times of over 100 minutes for a children’s attraction are all explained by those pesky operating capacities.
The boat vehicles you fly in over London with Wendy and Tinker Bell can only hold one family, as they feature just one bench seat.
Walt Disney World’s version of the classic ride does feature a load/unload area with Omnimover-style moving ramps, like those found at the Haunted Mansion, to allow for a smoother flow of traffic, but this doesn’t alleviate the capacity issues.
The scenes in Florida’s ride are on a larger scale and feature Audio-Animatronic figures. It reuses audio and sound effects from the 1955 Disneyland version as Guests sail over London.
So, next time people in your party wonder why a kid’s ride is getting longer queues than Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you can explain that it’s not more popular. It’s just less efficient!