After yesterday’s tribute to Country Bear Jamboree turned out to be quite popular, we are back today with a look at another classic Walt Disney World attraction. Pirates of the Caribbean opened in December of 1973 and has been delights Magic Kingdom guests ever since!
In this post, we are going to take a photo tour of the full ride through, as well as present some fun and interesting facts about the ride. I was actually unsure if I wanted to write this post at this time, as I’m not happy overall with the photo quality. This ride is a bit of a white whale for me in terms of photography. It’s very dark and features and artificial orange light that seems to give my camera sensor a heck of a tough time.
In the end, I decided to write the post anyway. While I don’t love the photos, they still do the job of getting the ride across. Hopefully during a future visit, I’ll have better luck shooting the ride and can do a follow up at that time.
The exterior or the attraction was inspired by Castillo de San Felipe del Morrow, located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. We actually visited that very fortress which you can take a look at in this previous post here.
The entire city of Old San Juan has a very PoTC vibe (makes sense), and is a very cool place for any fan of the attraction to visit.
Originally, PoTC at WDW was supposed to be a western themed boat ride (titled Western River Expdition) to go along with Frontierland. When WDW opened in 1971, so many people were disappointed by the absence of Pirates, which opened at Disneyland in 1967, that Disney revised their plans and scrapped the Western River plan in order to create a replica of Pirates instead.
Unfortunately, the ride was shortened significantly in order to fit into the planned space of the western boat ride. This lead to a version opening in Florida which was far inferior to the classic Disneyland ride. That being said, it was still a great attraction, enough to land it on our Top 11 Rides at Walt Disney World list.
With that bit of backstory out of the way, lets take a ride on Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean!
The WDW version starts in the grotto, completely omitting the Bayou portion ride. This does make a bit of sense since the ride is not located in New Orleans like the DL version.
The mermaid skeleton was missing on this day but has since returned.
This guy is one of the single hardest animatronics to photograph in WDW, rivaled only by the Haunted Mansion care taker.
This is probably the best photo I’ve ever taken of him, and its still pretty bad.
After taking the plunge down the small waterfall, you are thrown right into the action of a battle between the “Wicked Wench” pirate ship and a nearby fortress. As of 2006, the ship is captained by Barbossa of the film series. I’m not sure if the ship was supposed to be renamed as the Black Pearl or not.
Here is about the only portion of the ride you may get wet as the cannonballs hitting the water cause quite the splash.
Up ahead, Carlos is being interrogated. His wife urges him not to give anything up to his captors.
As I mentioned above, a 2006 refurbishment added the Jack (3 times) and Barbossa from the film franchise to the ride. We did not, and still do not approve of these changes. The Jack Sparrow animatronic is seriously impressive though. It looks crazy realistic.
The other big, more recent change was the changing of the bridal auction scene. We were not outraged that this scene was changed as some others were, but do admit that the new dialog is pretty terrible. That being said, my young nieces loved meeting Redd when we were out in California!
It kind of gets lost in the controversy, but scene changes like this had already taken place earlier in the ride’s history when the men chasing the women with their groping hands out was reversed to have the women trying to beat up the guys.
Here we see Old Bill hanging out with his kitty cat friends. This was one of the only scenes designed first for the WDW version, then later added to the DL version.
The town being attacked is Puerto Dorado. Carlos from earlier in the ride was the head of the sea port. This is the part of the ride with the iconic “A Pirates Life For Me” song.
The song was written by George Bruns (music) and X Atencio (lyrics). Atencio also co-wrote the Haunted Mansion’s “Grim Grinning Ghosts” song.
The pirate seen above, unofficially named Scalawag by the PoTC toy line, is the inspiration for the scene in The Curse of the Black Pearl where Gibbs is doused with water after waking up in a pig sty.
Another scene recreated in the film is when the prisoners are trying to lure the dog to bring them the keys for their jail cells.
This is probably the most iconic scene of the ride and has been recreated through various pieces of art, statues and other merch.
“You can keep doing that forever, the dog is never going to move.”
The WDW version also omits the final armory scene found in the original. After jail cell scene its right past the treasure room and back to the unload area.
Overall, while not nearly as strong as its Disneyland counterpart, Magic Kingdom’s Pirates is still a world class attraction. No trip to the Magic Kingdom should be without a visit to the Caribbean!
Let us know about your experiences on PoTC in the comments below.
Thanks for reading and bye for now!