The original intent of the attraction was for guests to fly through the ride as if they were Peter Pan. Audiences did not quite grasp this concept and were left wondering why Peter Pan was not in the Peter Pan attraction. The Walt Disney World version of the ride, which opened in 1971, expanded on the original Disneyland attraction. While the overall theme and format of the ride was consistent with the original in California, the Magic Kingdom ride, as with the other dark rides, would feature its characters in Audio-Animatronic style.
In 1983, Disneyland's Fantasyland was in a phase of major overhaul. Some of Fantasyland's rides were relocated to make way for expanded versions of existing dark rides, as well as the addition of a new one. The posh redo of Fantasyland now resembled a rustic European village in the Alps, rather than a medieval fair. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Snow White's Scary Adventures moved their respective loading areas and partial murals indoors. Peter Pan's Flight continued to feature a colorful mural which depicted the characters from the film. During this renovation, the original Pirate Ship Restaurant and Skull Rock were removed and closed permanently. The riggings, lanterns, and other props from the restaurant were added to Peter Pan's Flight. An Audio-Animatronic Peter Pan was added to the ride.
The original ride featured the ride vehicles flying through scenes of the nursery, over London, onward to Neverland, and finally through Skull Rock, where riders saw Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Princess Tiger Lily and the Crocodile before unloading. The exterior of the attraction had a medieval design and the queue was outside.
Departing from the station, but before entering the actual ride building, guests fly over the rooftops of London. The new version of the ride includes Audio-Animatronic versions of the characters, like at the Magic Kingdom in Florida. As part of the new remodel, scenes from the Florida ride were added to Disneyland, including the pirate ship deck where Peter and Hook duel on the tip of the ship's bowsprit (at the Magic Kingdom Peter and Hook duel on the ship's mainsail). Few scenes are identical between the two versions, but they are very similar nonetheless.
The new Disneyland ride opened as part of New Fantasyland on May 25, 1983. After winding through the queue, guests board a three-passenger miniature galleon, which is suspended from a track on the ceiling above to enhance the sensation of flying through the air. The ship leaves the load area and winds through the Darlings' nursery, passing Nana the Nursemaid next to some toy blocks which spell "D1SN3Y" when read backwards. Wendy, Michael and John Darling are on the bed and Peter Pan's shadow is on the wall.
Guests hear Peter Pan saying, "Come on, everybody! Here we go!" At this point, the ship flies out the nursery window and over moonlit London. Lights twinkle all around. Below guests are miniature versions of some of London's famous landmarks, including St. Paul's Cathedral, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and the River Thames.
Then, going past "the second star to the right and straight on 'til morning," the flying ships reach Neverland, where guests pass some of its landmarks, including the Indian village, a glowing volcano, Mermaid Lagoon and Skull Rock. It is here that guests encounter some of Neverland's most famous residents, including Princess Tiger Lily, Mr. Smee, Tick-Tock the Crocodile and Peter's arch rival, Captain Hook, in addition to Peter and the Darlings.
The load/unload area features Omnimover-style moving ramps, like those found at the Haunted Mansion, to allow for a smoother flow of traffic. The scenes in the ride are on a larger scale and feature Audio-Animatronic figures. Upon entering the very beginning of the nursery, a play tea party featuring two famous toys, Raggedy Ann and Andy, can be seen. The Lost Boys camp and Mermaid Lagoon are now a part of the Never Land scene. Also, Hook's 48-foot pirate ship is included, complete with deck, masts, sails and rigging. Guests see Hook and Peter engaged in hand-to-hand combat on the mainsail, while the boys are lashed to the mast and Wendy is about to walk the plank. Then, guests see Peter and the Darlings posed victoriously on the ship, poised to sail into the sky, back to London.
Peter Pan's Flight at Disneyland Park in Disneyland Paris is nearly identical to the expanded Disneyland version, but is 3 minutes long, while the other versions are about 2:30 minutes long. It also has the largest capacity per boat, with at least four guests riding compared to 2 or 3. The Paris version also tends to suffer frequent breakdowns. Disney's Fastpass reduces typically long wait times at this attraction.