Pirates of the Caribbean (attraction)
|Pirates of the Caribbean|
The attraction entrance at Disneyland.
|Attraction type||Boat voyage|
|Theme||Pirates in the 18th-19th Century|
|Music||"Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" by George Bruns and Xavier Atencio|
|Riders per vehicle||23-24|
|Height restriction||48 in (122 cm)|
|Number of drops||Disneyland and Disneyland Paris
Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland
Disney's Fastpass Not available
Single rider line Not available
Must transfer from wheelchair
Closed captioning available
Pirates of the Caribbean is a dark ride at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Park in Paris. The original version at Disneyland, which opened in 1967, was the last attraction whose construction was overseen by Walt Disney himself; he died three months before it opened. The ride, which originally told the story of a band of pirates including their troubles and their exploits, was replicated at the Magic Kingdom in 1973, at Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, and at Disneyland Paris in 1992. Each version of the ride has a different façade, but has a similar ride experience.
The ride is known for giving rise to the song "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" written by George Bruns and Xavier Atencio. It also became the basis for the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, which debuted in 2003. Since 2006, Disney has incrementally incorporated characters from the film series into the Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the rides.
The Disneyland version was the last attraction which Walt Disney himself participated in designing; it opened three months after his death, in the spring of 1967. It was originally envisioned to be a walk-through wax museum attraction. It is located within the New Orleans Square portion of Disneyland, its facade evoking antebellum era New Orleans, topped by a 31-star United States flag (which would indicate the 1850s). The ornate initials of Walt Disney and Roy Disney[disambiguation needed] (W.D. and R.D.) can be seen entwined in the wrought iron railings above the attraction's entrance at Disneyland. An overhead sign at the boat dock names it for the famous pirate Jean Lafitte (although his name is spelled Laffite as the pirate himself originally spelled it, rather than with the English spelling which has now become standard), who fought alongside the U.S. Army at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. The second floor of the facade was originally designed to be a private Disney family apartment. Instead it later opened as an art-related retail/museum space called the Disney Gallery until late 2007 when it was replaced by the Disneyland Dream Suite.
Attraction description 
||This section may contain original research. (December 2011)|
The ride begins amid glimmering fireflies during an evening in a Louisiana bayou. Riders board their boats at Laffite's Landing and are at once afloat in the heart of bayou country, after the safety spiel given by Blackbeard. On one side is a working restaurant, The Blue Bayou, made to look like the backyard dinner party of a southern plantation. It takes three days to empty and refill the "bayou" for renovations. There are 630,000 gallons of water, 53 audio-animatronic animals and birds, and 75 audio-animatronic pirates and villagers in the attraction.
Once past several rickety houseboats, the soft strumming of banjo melodies (including "Oh! Susanna" and "Camptown Races") can be heard over the peaceful sounds of nature as guests pass by one houseboat on whose porch an old man calmly rocks back and forth in his rocking chair. Above an archway, a talking skull and crossbones voiced by songwriter Xavier Atencio provides this taunting warning:
- Psst! Avast there! It be too late to alter course, mateys. And there be plundering pirates lurkin' in ev'ry cove, waitin' to board. Sit closer together and keep your ruddy hands in board. That be the best way to repel boarders. And mark well me words, mateys: Dead men tell no tales! Ye come seekin' adventure with salty old pirates, eh? Sure you've come to the proper place. But keep a weather eye open, mates, and hold on tight. With both hands, if you please. Thar be squalls ahead, and Davy Jones waiting for them what don't obey.
A more chilling sound becomes audible from the darkness ahead: the thundering of a waterfall. The guests' boat takes a hair-raising plunge down the waterfall into a dimly lit cavernous passage, where a high-spirited version of the theme music plays.
After a second plunge further into the depths of an underground grotto known as Dead Man's Cove, guests behold the skeletal remains of an unfortunate band of pirates, guarding their loot and treasure with macabre delight.
The boats glide gently past a violent thunderstorm tossing an old pirate ship about, though the ship's pilot is nothing more than a skeleton. The boats pass through the crew's quarters, complete with skeletal pirates frozen in time - playing chess, the captain examining a treasure map, an old harpsichord playing the theme song, and a huge amount of treasure being guarded by another skeleton pirate. The Aztec chest from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl sits in the corner of the Treasure Room and is the last thing guests see before entering a dark tunnel.
A version of the main theme on a pipe organ echoes through the dark tunnel. A curtain of mist appears in the darkness. Images of Davy Jones and Blackbeard are alternately projected onto the mist and invite guests to proceed if "they be brave or fool enough to face a pirate's curse". The riders pass beneath the mist curtain, presumably traveling back through time, and emerge into the next scene.
Cannonballs whistle overhead and explosions throw water into the air — a fierce battle between a marauding pirate galleon and a Caribbean fortress is in full swing. Captain Barbossa leads the assault from the deck of a pirate vessel named the Wicked Wench. A musical theme from the Pirates of the Caribbean films plays. From the deck of the Wicked Wench, Barbossa yells: "Strike yer colors, ye bloomin cockroachers, by thunder we'll see ya to Davy Jones! They need persuasion mates. Fire at will! Pound 'em lads! Pound 'em!" When a cannon is shot, guests may feel a powerful blast of air coming from the cannon, followed by a large splash and underwater lighting effects to simulate cannon fire.
The village of Puerto Dorado on Isla Tesoro is overrun with pirates in search of treasure. The first sight is the town square, where some pirates have kidnapped the mayor, Carlos, and threaten to drown him in a well if he doesn't divulge the location of the treasure. Carlos' wife tells him to be brave and not talk; she is shot at as Carlos is repeatedly dunked in the water while several other captive city officials look on. Captain Jack Sparrow is seen hiding behind some dresses. An auction scene follows, where a pirate auctions off the sobbing women of the town to other pirates. Drunken bidders hoot and holler for a redhead who is next in line, while ignoring an overweight but chipper woman currently offered for bidding.
In the next scene pirates run around chasing women holding trays of food, and two foolish buccaneers who have stolen snacks are chased by an angry woman holding a rolling pin. Just beyond is the "Pooped Pirate" drunkenly waving a map and key to a treasure vault, boasting that Captain Jack Sparrow will never see it. Jack is hiding in a barrel just behind him, popping out and getting a good look at the map over the pirate's shoulder. Off to the side, a pirate by the name of "Old Bill" wants to share rum with a group of terrified alley cats.
Carefree, tipsy pirates succeed in ravaging the town and setting it aflame, filling the night air with an orange glow. Riders next float past a jail where imprisoned pirates are doing their best to escape as flames draw near. A small dog just out of the prisoners' reach holds the key to their escape in his teeth; he seems all but immune to the pleas of the pirates trying to coax him closer. One of the pirates holds a noose, hoping to trap the dog.
Timbers are smoldering and cracking overhead as riders sail through a storage room filled with gunpowder, cannon balls, and rum-filled, gun-shooting pirates singing "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me". A shootout between the inebriated crew and captain of the pirate ship in a flaming ammunition warehouse threatens to demolish the entire village.
Finally, Jack Sparrow is seen in a room full of the hidden treasure (possibly the "Treasure Vault" as mentioned by the Pooped Pirate). He is draped over a large throne-like chair and waves his new treasures around happily while chattering to himself and to passing guests. Every once in a while he sings, "Drink up, me hearties. Yo ho!". At Tokyo and Florida a small parrot talks with him. The boats proceed up a lift hill, and Davy Jones' and Blackbeard's voices are alternatively heard once more, encouraging riders to come back soon. The boats reach the top of the hill and spill back into the sleepy bayou where the journey began, passing by a parrot on a sandbar that can be seen from the queue.
Magic Kingdom 
The attraction, guarded by the Caribbean watchtower Torre del Sol, is housed in a golden Spanish fort called Castillo Del Morro, inspired by Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in the Old San Juan in San Juan.
Inside, the Blue Bayou has been replaced by Pirate's Cove and into a short grotto with Blackbeard, mermaids swimming in the water and singing their melody, skeletons of dead pirates and Mermaids, the hurricane lagoon, and an echoing "Dead men tell no tales". There is no treasure room sequence as found in other parks. Following the plunge down one waterfall, the remainder of the ride is similar to Tokyo and California. Unlike in California, however, riders do not return to ground level in their boat; instead, they exit the boat immediately after the Jack Sparrow in the treasure room scene, then take a speed ramp up to the ground floor gift shop. The Florida version also does not include the scene past the powder room with the intoxicated pirates firing cannons.
The exterior of the attraction was slightly altered during the 2006 modifications. Included in the changes were the removal of the barker bird and original attraction sign. A new sign was placed on the outside corner of the fort facing toward the entrance of Adventureland. The design of the new sign is a ship's mast with the attraction name written in its black sails, and a skeleton of a pirate up in its crow's nest. The barker bird was eventually moved to the Pirates of the Caribbean section of the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney.
The position of the pieces on the chess board in the attraction's pre-show is not random. Marc Davis carefully arranged the pieces so that any move will result in a stalemate; thus, the skeletons have been playing the same game since 1973. The pieces were accidentally moved during a minor refurbishment and were not returned to their proper positions until someone found Marc Davis's original sketches.
Tokyo Disneyland 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2011)|
The edition of the ride at Tokyo Disneyland is near identical, but much shorter, to the original at Disneyland in California. It lacks the second plunge near the beginning of the ride. Like the US editions, but unlike the Paris version, it has been updated to include characters from the film series.
Disneyland Paris 
The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland Paris is the only installation that remains without the addition of the characters from the films. It is housed in a battle-scarred fortress at the back of the park.
The queuing area winds through several courtyards outside before entering the actual fortress show building. Inside, the queue passes through the dungeons of the fort, offering glimpses of several skeleton pirates, along with a view of the crew's quarters scene from a balcony looking down. The queue then enters the Blue Lagoon area inside the show building, made to feel as though guests are outside at nighttime. After boarding boats from a dock at the base of the fort, riders are sent under an archway and out into the Blue Lagoon, passing by the dining area on the left side and a jungle setting on the right. The boats pass through a shipwreck and enter an old fortress nearby. Inside the fort, gun noises and sword clanking are heard in the back as the boats climb up a large lift hill used to haul cargo throughout the building. At the top, riders are given a brief view of the Wicked Wench pirate ship in the harbor below before entering into the depths of the fort. Inside, flames are engulfing the fort, and the shadows of fighting pirates and soldiers are seen. Up ahead, guests see the pirates in jail trying to coax the key from the naughty guard dog.
The boats go down a waterfall in the side of the fort caused by a cannon ball and pass the bombarding-the-fort scene, which riders have just previously seen from above, where the soldiers and the pirates fire at guests. Entering the relative safety of the town, guests see all the original scenes from the Disneyland version, as well as a new pair of sword-fighting men who duel for a girl in the chase scene, and a projection effect of two pirates chasing a girl around in an upstairs window. The main dialogue of the scenes is in French, with the minor parts in English. The boats then enter the burning town scene, where the original English vocal tracks are present, singing the attraction's theme song.
The boats pass under an archway and enter the arsenal. The supplies are ignited by the fire and explode. There is a flashing of lights (as an on-ride photo is taken), and the boats go down another drop into darkness. They emerge into the grotto scenes, passing all the skeleton pirate vintages seen at Disneyland, and a new shipwreck scene. This part of the ride can be seen from the railroad as it passes through the show building (similar to Splash Mountain at the other parks). The skull and crossbones from the original are seen over an archway, issuing a bilingual safety spiel. The boats return to the dock, and riders exit into a themed gift shop where they can purchase their on-ride-photo.
||This section may contain original research. (May 2011)|
In its original form, the Disneyland attraction contained a scene in which pirates were shown chasing women in circles (achieved by simply placing figures on rotating platforms hidden below guests' view), along with a "comical" reversal in which an overweight woman was seen chasing a pirate. When guests were offended by this depiction, Disney initially changed the tableau of the woman chasing the pirate by having her try to hit him with a rolling pin. In 1997, this scene was changed so that the pirates pursued women holding pies, and the large woman is chasing a pirate with a stolen ham. However, the audio of the women's giggles while being chased remained despite complaints. Sometime after this the audio was also removed.
Originally, one overweight pirate (sometimes known as the "Pooped Pirate") was shown exhausted from his pursuit of an unwilling teenaged female. He brandished a petticoat as guests floated past and uttered suggestive dialogue, including: "It's sore I be to hoist me colors upon the likes of that shy little wench", and "I be willing to share, I be". Behind him, the woman he had been pursuing would anxiously peer out from her hiding place inside a barrel. This scene was altered in the American parks, but it remains unchanged in the version at Disneyland Paris. In the 1997 refurbishment, the "Pooped Pirate" was recast as the Gluttonous Pirate, a rogue in search of food. His dialogue included lines such as: "Me belly be feeling like galleon with a load of treasure", and "I be looking for a fine pork loin, I be". The woman hiding in the barrel was replaced by a cat.
At the Magic Kingdom, the chase scene was altered to show the pirates making off with various treasure as the formerly "chased" women attempt to thwart them. The "Pooped Pirate" here holds a treasure map in his lap and a magnifying glass in one hand. His lines include: "This map says X marks the spot, but I be seein' no X's afore me". The woman in the barrel remains, although this time she is hiding a small treasure chest in the barrel with her.
These modifications garnered criticism from longtime fans and some of the attraction's original Imagineers; in Jason Surrell's book Pirates of the Caribbean: From The Magic Kingdom to the Movies, showwriter Francis Xavier "X" Atencio referred to these "softening" touches as "Boy Scouts of the Caribbean".
In 2006, Walt Disney Imagineering debuted refurbishments at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean feature films to coincide with the release of the second movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. With the recent revisions of the ride to incorporate features from the movie, Disney has completely done away with the sequence of women being chased by pirates. Instead, one turntable features two pirates running in a circle, each holding one end of a treasure chest. In another, a woman is chasing a pirate who is making off with some stolen pies (taken from the aforementioned Magic Kingdom modification). In the third, a woman is chasing a pirate while menacing him with a weapon. The "Pooped Pirate" character is now brandishing a map and the key to the town's Treasure Room, while Captain Jack Sparrow stealthily observes him from inside the barrel.
The refurbishments also included other Audio-Animatronic figures of Jack Sparrow, and one of Hector Barbossa (who replaced the original captain of the Wicked Wench ship), along with new special effects, improved lighting and audio, and an appearance by the films' supernatural character Davy Jones, all voiced by the original actors (Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, and Bill Nighy, respectively). The skeleton beach and hurricane scenes are now accompanied by a quiet, mysterious instrumental version of "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)", and a re-recorded part of a cue from Klaus Badelt's score to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl now underscores the Battle Scene. The Disneyland version also features a new final "lift scene". When the boats are being lifted back to ground level, guests pass by an Audio-Animatronic figure of a tipsy Jack Sparrow relaxing and humming bits of the theme song amongst a collection of treasure. A similar scene replaces the Treasure Room scene at the end of the Magic Kingdom version of the ride. Smaller modifications have been made to coincide with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. In the first treasure room, in the pirate's grotto, the chest of cursed Aztec gold from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl can be seen at the far right. In the skeletal bar room, in the very back of the room, Elizabeth Swann's discarded dress from Dead Man's Chest is visible. Also, portraits of Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa have been added to the pirate portraits that line the inside walls of the lobby at the Disneyland attraction.
In addition, the outdoor portion queue has been substantially changed since the Disneyland attraction's opening. The queue was originally all indoors, beginning at the doors that enter the ride's first show building. Lines of people frequently spread out into the entire walkway, creating a human barrier separating New Orleans Square, Tom Sawyer Island, and Critter Country from the remainder of Disneyland, the walkway in front of Pirates of the Caribbean being the only access to these areas except for the Disneyland Railroad. In 1987, Disney decided that the ride's popularity necessitated a reorganized, permanent collection of switchbacks outside. A hole was dug in the original walkway, forming a lower patio for the queue's switchbacks. A bridge was then built over the patio so that passersby could continue past the attraction without having to fight their way through people in line on crowded days. Today, guests in line for the attraction walk through an archway beneath the bridge, through switchbacks in the patio, and eventually continue up curved ramps that lead back up to ground level and the building entrance itself. Severe crowding can result in the queue being rerouted into the small courtyard east of the main entrance, adjacent to the jungles of Adventureland, and/or into additional temporary switchbacks along the front of the bridge on the Haunted Mansion side of the arch. During the 1997 refurbishment, a 30th anniversary plaque and decorative fountain were installed against the back wall of the courtyard.
To coincide with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, a projection of Captain Blackbeard from the film (voiced by original actor Ian McShane) temporarily replaced the 2006 projection of Davy Jones in the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom version of the attraction beginning on May 20, 2011.
On November 24, 2011, the Disneyland version reopened after a heavy rehab which involved cleaning the props, replacing the cavern walls, repairing Dead Man's Grotto, repairing electrical systems, and cleaning mildew. Rumors floated that mermaids (as seen in On Stranger Tides) would be added. The only major alteration, however, is the mist screen projection. Now it is randomized, meaning riders can see both Davy Jones and Blackbeard. Also, boxes have been added in the famous jail scene, and the treasure room at the end with Jack Sparrow now has a sparkling effect.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2011)|
In 2003, Disney released Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, a feature film inspired by the attraction starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, an Oscar-nominated performance. It is currently followed by three sequels: Dead Man's Chest (2006), At World's End (2007), and On Stranger Tides (2011), with the second installment winning an Oscar for Best Special Effects in 2007. The trilogy has grossed over US$3.7 billion worldwide. These films included numerous allusions to the ride, most notably the attack on the fort, the famous jail scene, the namesake song, and a few lines from the characters.
At Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom Park of Walt Disney World, the character of Captain Jack Sparrow is occasionally available for photos and autographs, and is further featured in the short show Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial based loosely upon the film series. The show is presented in front of or adjacent to the respective park's Pirates of the Caribbean attractions and features Captain Jack holding court and enlisting budding pirates to join his crew. Alongside Captain Jack is Mack, his faithful crewman; together they teach the audience how to be a pirate. Veteran Disney actor and performer Mark Priest was fatally injured in an accidental fall while performing in Pirate Tutorial in Florida in July 2009.
A video game by Akella, loosely connected to the first movie's plot, was released to coincide with the film. Port Royal, a world based on the Pirates of the Caribbean films, appears in the Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts II.
In 2000, Pirates of the Caribbean II: Battle for Buccaneer Gold, opened at DisneyQuest at Florida's Walt Disney World Resort. On this attraction, up to five players board a virtual pirate ship to sail around a small 3-D world. Players may fire cannons at other virtual pirate ships; if opposing ships are sunk, their treasure will be "stolen".
Video game developer Ron Gilbert has often said that the ambience for the Monkey Island video game series was partially inspired by the Disney attraction. One obvious homage is the prison scene in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, in which the player needs to retrieve the cell key from a dog using a bone. Although the dog in the scene is named Walt, it is named after game artist Steve Purcell's dog and not after Walt Disney.
On May 25, 2007, Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island opened at the Disneyland park on the existing Tom Sawyer's Island section of the park. It features new caves and a Captain Jack Sparrow meeting area. The island also features a 20-minute stunt show featuring character Captain Jack Sparrow.
Popular culture 
A long-standing urban legend maintains that Disney was cryogenically frozen and his frozen corpse stored beneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. However, in addition to the fact that Disney was cremated, the first known cryogenic freezing of a human corpse did not occur until January 1967, more than a month after his death.
The Clive Cussler thriller "Iceberg" has the finale of hero Dirk Pitt stopping a killer going after a pair of Latin American leaders at the ride in Disneyland. Pitt defeats the man and his helpers, disguised as robot pirates and, asked how he knew they were real, quotes Walt Disney: "I was standing eyeball to eyeball and I swear I saw the other fella blink."
- The Music of Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Epcot Center "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)"
- Classic Disney Volume 5
- Walt Disney World Resort: The Official Album (1999) "Overture" & "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)"
- Walt Disney World Resort: Official Album (2000) "Overture" & "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)"
- Pirates of the Caribbean (2000) 16 minute "float through," many audio elements from the attraction, plus unused music and dialogue
- Walt Disney World Resort Celebrating 100 Years of Magic (2001) "Overture" & "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)"
- A Musical History of Disneyland (2005) 16 minute "float through"
- The Official Album of the Disneyland Resort (2005) 5:45
- Disney Sing Along Songs series
A version of "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" can be heard in several Disney theme park fireworks shows:
See also 
- List of current Disneyland attractions
- Magic Kingdom attraction and entertainment history
- Tokyo Disneyland attraction and entertainment history
- The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
- Surrell, Jason. (2005). Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. New York: Disney Editions. ISBN 0-7868-5630-0. Describes the origins of the attraction, its incarnations at Disney parks around the world, and the first two films inspired by it.
- Jim Fanning. Disneyland Challenge. Disney Editions, 2009. p.28 ISBN 978-1-4231-0675-3
- Puerto Rico "Pirates of the Caribbean" Disney Reporter - Where the Magic Lives
- Posted by Strange and Frightening Sounds (2011-12-25). "Strange & Frightening Sounds Blog: Pirates at Disneyland Paris". Strangefrighteningsoundsblog.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
- Fitzgerald, Tom (May 6, 2011). "Blackbeard Comes Aboard at Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom Park May 20". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
- Scumm Bar (March 7, 2003). "Monkey Island - The Revelation". Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- Mikkelson, B & DP (August 24, 2007). "Suspended Animation". Snopes.com. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
Further reading 
- Theme Park Adventure (Special Pirates of the Caribbean issue) 
- The "E" Ticket #32 (Pirates of the Caribbean issue) [Fall 1999]
- Pirates of the Caribbean (theme park ride) on the Pirates of the Caribbean wiki, an external wiki
- Pirates of the Caribbean Official Website for Disneyland and Walt Disney World
- DisneyQuest: The Official Website
- Tell No Tales: A tribute fan website to the Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction