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1955 Peter Pan's Flight

Discussion in 'Disneyland Resort' started by fantasmicsyd, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. fantasmicsyd

    fantasmicsyd Member

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    I was thinking today about that thread in which photos from the original Alice were posted and realized there's one 1955 original for which almost no content exists- Peter Pan's Flight. I do know that it was very different from the 1983-present version we're familiar with... I'm very curious as to what exactly the original,1955 ride layout was, what the show scenes were, etc..can anybody help me out? I've seen some pictures of the exterior but I'm mainly curious about the actual ride itself.
     
  2. Practical Pig

    Practical Pig Well-Known Member

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    Here are a couple of original artworks dating to a 1955 magazine article introducing Disneyland, illustrating a track layout:
    PPF2.jpg

    peterpanflight-1.jpg

    I pulled these from a two-part article at the Disney and More blog:

    http://disneyandmore.blogspot.com/2014/01/1955-disneyland-fantasyland-original.html

    https://disneyandmore.blogspot.com/2013/12/1955-article-introducing-disneyland.html?m=1

    There's a lot of other fun stuff to see there. I'm not sure how accurate this artwork is to the opening day construction, other concept art from the article is very different than what opened, but the blog author says it is "pretty faithful to the opening day show."

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. Kira Nerys

    Kira Nerys Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty much the same? I never imagined it being much different. The ride feels the most antiquated somehow, albeit with random 2010s additions that do nothing to enhance it at all. Many think the changes detract from the London scene, which looked better before.

    Pinocchio feels like it was created afterward when they did the WDW dark rides due to its larger sets and length and mega charming details like the sweets painted on the floor, which they would never have cared about in the 50s. The rest definitely feel like 80s remakes of charming cramped spookhouse rides, except Alice feels like the 2010s puked all over it.
     
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  4. Dr. Hans Reinhardt

    Dr. Hans Reinhardt Well-Known Member

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    How different was the ride right before the 1982 redo to the original? My earliest recollection of Peter Pan Flight is from 1971, and it was very similar, or maybe the same, as the concept art layout above.
     
  5. Practical Pig

    Practical Pig Well-Known Member

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    There are certainly differences between the 1955-published concept art and the current layout, though very similar. The ships fly under a large rainbow, and there's no larger pirate ship set piece in the artwork. Did the pre-1983 ride have that pirate ship scene? I was on that version twice as a child, but my memory is failing me here.

    I had thought that the 1983 upgrade left the walls and track layout the same and just redid the set pieces, figures, effects, etc., and of course the facade. But I'm not sure about that. Hopefully one of the more informed and experienced members will know if the track was changed then or not.

    Here's a layout of the current ride (produced I believe by a fan who I would credit if I could) for comparison to that concept art above:
    PPF Layout.jpg The track layout seems almost identical from loading through the nursery over London and through the flying-over-Neverland room, before diverging further from the artwork.
     
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  6. Rich T

    Rich T Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'm a fossil who rode the original many times. It went like this, with same track layout up to skull rock: Flat mural out front; ships didn't enter show building until they made the first turn. Nursery was closet-sized and had no figures, just Pan's shadow heading for window. Tiny Tink hovered in window--moved aside. London pretty much the same. Neverland Island flyover the same, but no effects on island and stars were small blacklight lit spheres. Where you make the second U turn over island, a liitle tinkerbell flew in circles on your right, easy to miss.

    Last part was very different, and very dark. You descended toward a very creepy skull rock staring straight at you. The left turn took you into a long cavern representing the inside of skull rock. Smee waited at the far end in the rowboat aiming a musket at you from the left. Hook called from behind him, "Fire, Mr. Smee! Shoot 'em down!" The end of the gun lit up with a boom as you passed. Then a right U turn, where the Croc lunged out at you at eye level from a ledge on the left. Then down through a "waterfall" crash door (looked like tinsel), a left U turn in an unthemed corner...and it was done!

    The remodel extended the ride by about 15 seconds. At the point where you would have gone out the waterfall, they added track for the second half of the new ship scene, the hook/croc scene and mermaid diorama.

    The music for the London and Island flyover was simply the vocal loop of "You Can Fly" straight from the film. You could actually hear Nana barking in the song as you flew over Neverland, which was very lame. :D And yet it was still a wonderful ride! :)

    (EDIT) And if that rainbow arch ever existed, I never saw it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  7. Practical Pig

    Practical Pig Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, and thanks Rich. You're one of a few members I hoped would chime in with your enviable experience. From your description, it sounds like the original version was indeed very close to the concept art.
     
  8. Kira Nerys

    Kira Nerys Well-Known Member

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    Okay, so it sounds like it was way better before the remodel. Thanks for ruining it for me.
     
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  9. Practical Pig

    Practical Pig Well-Known Member

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    In practice, it would have needed to be divided at the top center for the flying ship's steel structure to pass though it, ruining the illusion. I doubt that ever made it past the concept art. But the existing rainbow on the miniature island has always bugged me by being a little smooshed. It's not a true semicircle, but a flattened, distorted arc. In the latest refresh with the new effects, they didn't bother to fix that simple little detail.

    Edit: Just noticed in the artwork that my first sentence above is inaccurate. The track would have passed under the rainbow negating a need for any bifurcated scenery. Still, with all that steel between the guest's eyes and the top of the rainbow arc, it wouldn't have been an effective addition.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  10. 180º

    180º Well-Known Member

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    I scoured Daveland for photos of the old ride and, of course, Daveland delivered!

    VP51A2_FLCaptSmee.jpg

    wdorqplnri3euqk5jyfmc155dilmfsqdcuxiphxbm5zqh98_stn-6dopihlnacxgaqs20001.jpg


    Hide your kids from this next one.

    BW_PeterPan_HookSmee.jpg

    Sweet dreams!


    These are listed as Panavue slides from the '60s. I recommend visiting the page yourself to see tons of images of the old load area and the hole in the side of the show building that @Rich T spoke of.

    http://davelandweb.com/peterpan/#sailing

    EDIT: I'd also like to point out that I read from a few different articles that these were static figures. However, you can clearly see that Captain Hook's hook-hand is in a different position in each shot. I'm guessing he was able to arc his arm up and down and not much else.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  11. Kira Nerys

    Kira Nerys Well-Known Member

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    That looks more in line with the other FL dark rides than the rather innocuous modern version. I suppose I should have realized something must have changed since no one is really trying to kill you at any point. That is a staple of FL dark rides.
     
  12. 180º

    180º Well-Known Member

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    Fantasyland is a wonderfully morbid place. Of course Peter Pan('s) Flight ended with guests getting executed via being shot out of the sky by order of a purple-lit monster inside a dark, craggy cave shaped like a skull. It makes so much sense and yet I may have never known, since I always just assumed WDW's version was a good indicator of how Disneyland's original appeared.

    Speaking of WDW, you can still hear a tiny Captain Hook shout "Fire, Mr. Smee!" over and over from his tiny pirate ship in the Neverland scene. I wouldn't know if it's the same recording as heard in the original Disneyland ride. It starts at 1:35 in this video:
     
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  13. Kira Nerys

    Kira Nerys Well-Known Member

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    Isn't that the sound of the Haunted Mansion raven in the swordfight scene? That is so charming. I don't understand why popular opinion these days seems to be to bash the WDW version and say it needs a refurb. What? I wouldn't change anything. It's clearly the best ride in WDW FL, not that it has any competition.
     
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  14. 180º

    180º Well-Known Member

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    Care to rate it on the Charming™ Scale? I so wish I could have seen the Florida SWSA in its original form, as I think that may have given Peter Pan a run for his charming money.
     
  15. Kira Nerys

    Kira Nerys Well-Known Member

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    Are you kidding? I went on both versions of the WDW Snow White ride many times. The original version is one of the most horrifying things I've ever experienced. I wouldn't exactly call it charming aside from the mirror sign outside (another one!) and the wishing well scene. One YouTuber commented that this video looks like a found footage snuff film:



    I loved it, but it was scarier than everything. The Haunted Mansion was never really scary aside from the screaming ghosts popping up in the attic and perhaps the elongating room. It was more subtly creepy but ultimately atmospheric and charming. But this? It's also the second WDW Fantasyland dark ride to kill you at the end. What the?

    That being said, I enjoyed both the original version and the revised version that existed until it closed in 2012, which was clearly better than the Disneyland version, which is still great and has a superior queue and dungeon and perhaps even scarier trees. The revised version was more charming, but still scary.
     
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  16. Brer Oswald

    Brer Oswald Well-Known Member

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    I believe the voice at Disneyland was different than the one currently at WDW. It was a bit faster and more menacing. I can't recall where I heard it, it may have been in promotional footage, maybe the Disneyland TV show, or it may have even been an audio tribute on YouTube.
    I don't know. I want to agree with you. It has a certain level of charm and classic Disney Magic not present in most other attractions. But if I'm waiting in an 80 minute line for a 3 minute ride, I'm going to want to feel transported into the world of my favourite movie, not a room full of black curtains and still mannequins
     
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  17. mickEblu

    mickEblu Well-Known Member

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    I gotta say- the 1955 version sounds better to me content wise. Visually I'm sure it was not.
     
  18. Kira Nerys

    Kira Nerys Well-Known Member

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    The curtains and mannequins add to the charm. It wouldn't be right without cheapness and significant portions of the ride just being darkness. Plus, you can Fastpass it at WDW with your fancy wristband that Disneyland could really use. It's Disneyland where you end up truly disappointed if you wait more than a half hour. That thing is over before you know it. Someone forgot to tell the Disneyland people that real theme park rides aren't supposed to be the length of a ride in the Roller Coaster Tycoon series of video games.
     
  19. Dr. Hans Reinhardt

    Dr. Hans Reinhardt Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't. The thing that stands out from my memory is that the New FL version was slightly longer and had much better special effects, not to mention an expanded queue and what has become an iconic facade.
     
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  20. Animaniac93-98

    Animaniac93-98 Well-Known Member

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    The first half of that version, along with the load area, is still intact in Tokyo. I hope it stays that way so I can see it in person. The other half is just stuff recyled from Disneyland 1983.

    In 1955 they had little time and money to build fancy dark rides in DLR. Decent looking character molds and sets wouldn't come along until WDW opened in 1971, and even those rides were more concerned with effective staging and pacing than specific special effects.
     

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