Magic Kingdom

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the best-known attractions at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris theme parks.

Its setting is loosely based on the more romantic side of piracy in the Caribbean. The first ride opened at Disneyland on March 18, 1967, was the largest audio-animatronic project to date and was the last attraction which Walt Disney was involved in designing. During the course of the indoor boat ride, guests experience an immersive, larger-than-life pirate experience – complete with gunshots, cannon blasts, explosions and fire. Since the Disneyland attraction was constructed before the advent of life-like research skeletons, the original skeletons that made up parts of the show were genuine medical specimens; most still remain today. It is widely rumored that the skull and crossbones mounted on the headboard of the bed featured in the "Captain's Quarters" are genuine as well, given to Walt Disney as a gift.

Another interesting feature may be seen above the bar in that same scene: the portrait of the lady pirate is an original work by Marc Davis. In addition, the pirate captain in the scene where captured women are auctioned as brides is also a test bed for updates and developments to audio-animatronic technology; many innovations are tried on him first. As a result, his movements are far more lifelike and expressive than virtually any other audio-animatronic in all of Disneyland.

The ride was never intended to be part of Magic Kingdom out of fear that it would not be exotic enough to Floridians, due to its geographic proximity to the Caribbean. Instead, planners intended Magic Kingdom to have a Pirates-type ride called the Western River Expedition, which would featured cowboys and Indians instead. However, guest demand forced the Florida resort to build the ride, although it is shorter than its counterpart in Disneyland. The ride opened in Florida on December 15, 1973, more than two years after the Florida resort opened. It is an original to both Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, having both opened with their parks' opening days of April 15, 1983 and April 12, 1992, respectively. There is no ride yet at Hong Kong Disneyland, but there are plans to add this ride to that park in the near future, but with some Splash Mountain-style elments.


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