Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland is one of the best dark rides at the park! In my opinion. I think it is the opinion of most guests that visit the park each year, because of how long the lines are anymore. Today I would like to talk about this wildly popular attraction that has managed to stay popular for the last 51 years!
Pirates of the Caribbean Disneyland Turns 51
Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland opened March 18, 1967. It was the last attraction that Walt Disney oversaw. Sadly, Walt Disney passed before it was completed.
Pirates of the Caribbean is in a southern style building in the French Quarter of New Orleans. (Disneyland version). Once you enter the building, you see paintings on the wall of some of the pirates that you may encounter on your adventure. The line goes by a brick canal that the boats float by in. Across the way, a sandbar can be seen with a pirate flag, map, treasure, and a parrot that keeps watch.
As you continue through the line, you end up on the loading dock called “Laffite”. Here you board a boat to take you to find treasure and Captain Jack Sparrow.
First of all, you start out in the Blue Bayou Lagoon. As you pass through, listen for the croaking bullfrogs and the chirping crickets. At the same time, keep an eye out for fireflies! The lagoon also has flickering lamps, water lapping, and a banjo playing. This scene is so relaxing.
In addition to all the sights and sounds, there is also the smell! When the Blue Bayou Restaurant is open, it smells wonderful!
Interesting Fact: The Bayou section is only two feet deep.
Next, you are given a warning about proceeding by a skull up above. Then down into the caves you go!
Another Interesting Fact: There are 2 drops. The first one is 52ft and the second is 37ft.
Once you are in the caves, you will start to see old pirates of the past that were after the treasure, however, they did not succeed. Or did they?
Next is the search for Captain Jack Sparrow. Along the way, you encounter a lot of pirates, cannon fire, singing and even a burning city! You will need to ride this classic attraction to see if Captain Jack Sparrow makes it out!
Marc Davis (who joined Walt Disney in 1934 to work on the animated movies) helped to design the scenes in a lot of the Disneyland attractions. The burning scenes were a part of the attraction’s design from the beginning and it was an idea that Imagineer Marc Davis had. A fellow Imagineer Yale Gracey started trying different special effects for the burning scenes. He used Mylar, a light, and a fan. When it was all put together in the city scenes, it made for a very realistic result. So much so, the Anaheim fire chief at the time asked Disney to program an auto shut off in the event of a real fire.
Pirates of the Caribbean was originally designed to be a wax museum. It was also going to be a walk-through attraction. However, after the 64/65 World’s Fair and the popularity of It’s a Small World and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Walt Disney decided it should be a water and boat attraction with audio-animatronic figures. What a great idea that turned out to be!
For the 64/65 World’s Fair, Walt Disney committed to making four attractions. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Carousel of Progress from General Electrics Progressland, The Magic Skyway with Ford Motor Company, and It’s a Small World for Pepsi Cola on behalf of UNICEF.
All four attractions were the hit of the 64/65 World’s Fair. As a result of the success of the World’s Fair, Walt Disney and his staff realized they could greatly increase the capacity of the attractions back home. Ultimately all four attractions were moved to Disneyland at the end of the fair.
Pirates of the Caribbean has gone through a lot of changes over the years. By 1987, to help with the line blocking the walking area out front of the Pirates of the Caribbean building, Disneyland made a bridge out front and designed the lower area underneath to have two lines winding around and then up a ramp to the main doors. When it is really busy the lines even wind around the left side of the building. It goes between the Pirates building and Tarzan’s Treehouse. I have to admit, I like when this happens. Especially when it is at night. The area is dimly lit on the side area. It is peaceful in a way. Even with all the people in line with you.
Pirates of the Caribbean is considered a high capacity attraction. In fact, it is the highest capacity ride in Disneyland. Per hour this attraction can have 3,400 people ride. That is a lot of people enjoying this attraction every hour!
Another change came in 2006. During the refurbishment that year, Disney added characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Most notably, Johnny Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow.
Pirates of the Caribbean has 53 audio-animatronic animals and birds, and 75 pirates and villagers.
There are 630,000 gallons of water inside of Pirates of the Caribbean. When they need to do renovations on the attraction, it takes 3 days to empty all the water. That is a lot of water!
Blue Bayou is a restaurant inside of Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, it is the only ride at Disneyland that has a restaurant inside. Blue Bayou is next to the lagoon scene at the beginning of the ride. When you dine here you can see the boats pass by and hear the crickets and frogs. It is a nice place to eat, but, it is one of the more expensive restaurants. However, if you are looking for one meal to treat yourselves during your trip, then Blue Bayou is a great choice!
If you are interested in finding out more about Blue Bayou Restaurant, here is a recent article I did on Blue Bayou Restaurant.
There is so much more about Pirate’s of the Caribbean that I could mention here, however, I think I will wait for another blog. So much information, so little time. Pirates of the Caribbean has been a guest favorite for 51 years! Be sure to check it out on your next trip!
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