Location: At the juncture of New Orleans Square and Adventureland.
Date Opened: 3/18/1967
# of Ride Units:
Ride Capacity: Each boat can hold 22 adults.
Restraint Method: None
Ticket Rating: E Ticket
Ride Photo: No
Open/Close: Opens and closes with the park.
Wait Times: On busy days the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean can easily top 45 minutes, even with its massive capacity (more than 3400 people an hour when all goes smoothly).
Length of Ride: 16 minutes
Single Rider: No
Queue Description: Considering how elaborate the theming on the ride is, the queue theming is scant. The exterior queue winds through a small courtyard and then once inside you walk alongside the flume with returning boats.
Health Restriction: There are a couple of short drops, but it should be fine for just about everyone.
Ride Access: The main queue is not wheelchair or ECV accessible. Enter through the exit, which can be found between the Pieces of Eight shop and the Blue Bayou restaurant. The disabled waiting area is found on the left. The waiting area is small and using this route may require a lengthy wait to board.
Wheelchair Transfer: Transfer from wheelchairs and ECVs is required. You will generally be loaded into the back row(s) of the boat. If mobility is an issue, ask to be seated in the fifth row or forward. The last row has a much higher, wider lip that must be traversed to load, not always an easy proposition. You are much better going with the next to the last row. The boat has an eight inch edge on the dock side, and you must step 12-14 inches (from dock level) down into the boat itself.
Service Animals: Yes
Audio: Audio is used throughout the ride for atmospheric and narrative purposes. Assistive listening devices are available.
Weight and Size Issues: The number of people in a row can be easily adjusted to accommodate larger passengers. The tallest riders may find the legroom to be restricted and uncomfortable.
Height Restriction: No
Child Swap: No
Other Issues: There are two drops at the beginning of this ride. You may get wet. Early scenes feature skeletons that may scare young children. One scene features cannonball explosions. The last scene has a gun fight between pirates.
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History and Trivia
- At this location: Though it open until 1967, Pirates of the Caribbean was the first use of this land. What eventually become the Pirates of the Caribbean we know today was originally proposed in the 1950s as a walkthrough wax-museum type attraction where guests would view pirates scenes with still figures.
- This Attraction's history: Pirates of the Caribbean has undergone several modifications since opening in 1967. In 1997 Imagineers added food to a scene of pirates chasing women in circles so that pirates were chasing them for the food rather than anything more prurient. Replacing food for sexual innuendo elsewhere, a pirate that was heard to proclaim "It's sore I be to hoist me colors upon the likes of that shy little wench" while searching for a girl hidden in a barrel was changed to "Me belly be feeling like a galleon with a load of treasure" and the woman in the barrel was replaced by a cat.
Some attraction purists and past Imagineers criticized the changes to the ride at the time, but it was nothing like the furor over the changes made in 2006, when Disney added characters and show elements from the Pirates of the Caribbean feature films. Captain Barbossa now mans the Wicked Wench, Jack Sparrow appears in three scenes, and Davy Jones appears in a ghostly fog effect. The score from the film is used in parts of the attraction, as well as the original actor's voices for the new characters.
- Other Trivia:
- Differences in execution: Unlike its counterpart attraction at Walt Disney World, Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland is set in southern Louisiana. It is also several minutes longer, and sports two waterfall drops to Florida's one. The two drops were a necessity to send the ride to a lower level in order to pass beneath the berm surrounding Disneyland.
- Yo Ho: "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" is one of the most recognizable pieces of music ever produced for Disneyland. The music was composed by George Bruns with lyrics by X Atencio.
- Fastpass Failure: Pirates of the Caribbean started using Fastpass in 1999 with half of the courtyard at the entrance given over to Fastpass machines. This resulted in lines that regularly extended well out into New Orleans Square towards Frontierland and created significant traffic jams at the three-way intersection of New Orleans Square, Frontierland, and Adventureland. Fastpass was discontinued and the queue returned to its previous condition in 2004.
- We'll See You in the Movies: After the recent failure of movies based on Country Bear Jamboree and Haunted Mansion, park fans really didn't have any high hopes for the 2003 release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. The movie was a sensation however, even resulting in an Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. Two sequels were quickly approved and released in 2006 (Dead Man's Chest) and 2007 (At World's End). The world premiere's of all three movies were held at Disneyland with invited guests seeing the movie projected onto a giant screen built on Tom Sawyer Island and viewed from risers built along the waterfront.