Disney Closes Controversial Peter Pan Attraction as New Information Comes To Light - Inside the Magic (2024)

Walt Disney World’s Peter Pan-themed attraction, Peter Pan’s Flight, is closing soon. The surprise summer closure comes as new information regarding the overall operation of the iconic Central Florida Disney park comes to light.

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It would be impossible for every Walt Disney World attraction to remain open for all guests all year round. To maintain a heightened guest experience, attractions, and rides must undergo frequent refurbishment and renovation to keep the cogs turning.

Most closures, especially the longer ones, are made known well in advance–the permanent closure of Splash Mountain and Country Bear Jamboree, for example, drew significant crowds because of this. Regardless, though, the closure of an attraction can certainly dampen the spirit when a guest has forked out hundreds, if not thousands, to be at the Disney resort.

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At present, several attractions are shuttered at Walt Disney World. At Magic Kingdom, the aforementioned Country Bears Jamboree and Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade are closed, while at EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Test Track and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith are also unavailable to guests.

And now there is another big closure headed to Magic Kingdom.

Scheduled to take place between July 8 and August 20, 2024, the popular Peter Pan’s Flight will shut down to all guests. The six-week closure was announced earlier this week and will likely cause disruption to the Disney park thanks to the busy summer break.

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Peter Pan’s Flight is known to be one of the resort’s busiest attractions, with the longest wait times. Rarely does the queue for this Fantasyland ride drop below 45 minutes, and with it closing, those guests have to head somewhere else. But that’s not all. New information has come to light this week that will change the very core of the Disney experience in Florida.

Almost three years after it debuted, guests will officially say goodbye to Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections on July 24. In its place will be a new system based around the Lightning Lane: the Multi Pass and the Single Pass.

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The former will act almost like the old FastPass+ in that guests can pre-book three experiences (one from Tier 1 and two from Tier 2) up to seven days in advance of their vacation if they are staying at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. All other guests will have three days to book. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the only Disney World park that does not have two tiers.

It is not quite the same as FastPass+ because the offering is still behind a per-guest per-day paywall.

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When looking at the Tier 1 and Tier 2 lists, it is clear that Disney is spreading out the crowds for its biggest attractions. Take Magic Kingdom Park, for example. From Tier 1, guests can choose from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and the new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

As for Tier 2, guests can select two from the following: The Barnstormer, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Haunted Mansion, “it’s a small world,” Mad Tea Party, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Under the Sea–Journey of The Little Mermaid.

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With Peter Pan’s Flight out of action from July 8 and not reopening until late August, demand for the other four attractions in Tier 1 will be significantly heightened. This means selections will get booked quicker, and queues will be longer for those who manage to book.

It should be noted here that guests can also opt to book three options from Tier 2 instead of one from Tier 1 and two from Tier 2. This should give guests flexibility, and, of course, standby lines for most attractions will still be available.

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Peter Pan’s Flight may be a historic and beloved part of the Disney World mythos, but that doesn’t mean it has evaded criticisms. In fact, the family-friendly ride has been deemed controversial thanks to its connection to 1953’s Peter Pan animated film.

In 2020, Disney added the following to the introduction of Peter Pan on its Disney+ streaming service:

“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”

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Disclaimers were also placed before Dumbo (1941), The Aristocats (1970), and Aladdin (1992). The notice directs viewers to an official Disney webpage called Stories Matter, which explores why these films have warranted this treatment.

“The film portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions,” writes The Walt Disney Company on Peter Pan. “It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as “redskins,” an offensive term. Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.”

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Related: Disney Notifies Millions of International Guests: Major Service Downgrade, Extra Fees Implemented

This diversity and inclusion initiative hit the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction in 2022, with the “Indian Camp” reference on the wall mural being changed to “Never Land Tribe.”

Again, the representation of Native peoples was addressed in 2023 in Walt Disney Pictures’ live-action remake of Peter Pan, Peter Pan & Wendy (2023).

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Prior to the movie’s release on Disney+, Tinker Bell actress Yara Shahidi said that director David Lowery’s version “subtly corrects the kinds of stereotypes that are unfortunately passed along through those fairy tales; correcting the Indigenous representation that was mistaken in the animated and in some of the past versions.”

There is a greater conversation when it comes to so-called controversial attractions. On one side, some want Disney to amend its past mistakes by updating in the name of diversity and inclusion, while others think the time capsule should be preserved.

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Related: Amid Widespread Genie+ Removal, Disney World Indefinitely Eliminates Rise of the Resistance Ride Element

This argument was no more prevalent than when the House of Mouse announced the complete closure and retheme of Splash Mountain. The former Frontierland ride will reopen on June 28, 2024, as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, when Princess Tiana and the musical alligator Louis will replace the Br’er animals of old.

Peter Pan’s Flight will be closed to guests from July 8 through August 20 and is scheduled to reopen on August 21.

Do you think the closure of Peter Pan’s Flight during the summer months at Disney World is a bad move? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

Disney Closes Controversial Peter Pan Attraction as New Information Comes To Light - Inside the Magic (2024)

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