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Captain Jack Sparrow Joins Crew of Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction at Walt Disney World Resort

First the theme park attraction inspired the movie. Now the movie has inspired the attraction.

Pirates of the Caribbean, the classic Disney theme park adventure brought to the big screen in "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," reopened July 7 at Walt Disney World Resort following a three-month closure to add characters and features from the blockbuster motion picture franchise. The Florida attraction's reopening coincided with the opening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Both the Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida closed the attraction in March for the updates. The attraction re-opened to the public at Disneyland on June 26.

The Walt Disney World attraction features the addition of two of Hollywood's most infamous buccaneers, Captain Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Barbossa. Joining the wildest crew that ever sacked the Spanish Main, Captain Jack and Barbossa add an exciting new twist to the attraction's original storyline as they race to be the first to claim a cache of plundered treasure.

Woven into some of the attraction's most memorable scenes, the rival swashbucklers are seen interacting with some of the more familiar Audio-Animatronics buccaneers found inside the ride-thru adventure. Also making a guest appearance is the ghostly Davy Jones from the second movie in the series, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." But new characters are only the beginning. New special effects have been added to enhance the Pirates of the Caribbean theme park experience.

"Successfully adding the popular characters from the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films with the mythology of our classic attraction is an example of Disney synergy and Walt Disney Imagineering at its finest," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "These additions will result in an exciting new chapter for the attraction and an unforgettable experience for our guests, giving them another reason to come and be a part of our continuing 50th anniversary celebration."

Created under the direct creative supervision of Walt Disney himself, Pirates of the Caribbean is the quintessential Disney theme park adventure, a swashbuckling voyage that transports guests back to the days when pirates and privateers roamed the Spanish Main.

Starring a comical cast of rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves, the world-famous attraction sends guests of all ages on a boat ride through mysterious caverns where "Dead men tell no tales" and then into a colonial era Caribbean seaport under siege by a band of fun-loving pirates. The attraction's jaunty theme song, "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)," sets the show's light tone with its tongue-in-cheek depiction of high-seas lawlessness.

The original incarnation of Pirates of the Caribbean premiered on March 18, 1967, in New Orleans Square at Disneyland in California. Featuring more than 120 Audio-Animatronics performers, lavishly decorated sets and special effects, it's considered to be one of the most spectacular and enduring attractions ever created for a theme park.

With its setting revised slightly to fit a Caribbean Plaza location in Adventureland, the attraction opened to guests at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom on Dec. 15, 1973. More than 500 million people have experienced the rollicking fun of Pirates of the Caribbean in California and Florida over the past 39 years.

"Enhancing the classic Pirates attractions with new characters and new technology will ensure their relevance and place in Disney theme parks as timeless adventures," said Tom Fitzgerald, senior creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering. "We're adding a layer of storytelling from the films to the attraction while retaining all the familiar elements that make it vibrant and exciting for every age group."

The Pirates of the Caribbean additions are one part of the "Happiest Celebration on Earth," a salute which began May 5, 2005, and continues in 2006, to 50 years of Disney park magic around the globe that started with the opening of Walt Disney's original park, Disneyland, in 1955.

Pirates of the Caribbean Takes Walt Disney World Guests On Swashbuckling Adventure in Sacked Seaport

Listen up, hardies -- there be squalls ahead…

Pirates of the Caribbean has entertained millions of Walt Disney World guests on a thrilling adventure through dark, mysterious caverns where "dead men tell no tales" since it opened at Magic Kingdom on Dec. 15, 1973.

Starring a comical cast of rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves, the eight-and-a-half minute Adventureland attraction sends guests of all ages on a rollicking boat ride to a Caribbean seaport under siege by a swashbuckling band of pirates.


  • Pirates of the Caribbean first opened at Disneyland in 1967 and continues to delight guests today. According to Disney archivist Dave Smith, many guests still consider it their favorite theme park attraction.
  • The Disneyland attraction originally was conceived by Walt Disney as a walk-through exhibit until the 1964 World's Fair presentations created by WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) paved the way for a more sophisticated kind of three-dimensional storytelling known as Audio-Animatronics.
  • Veteran Disney animator and Imagineer Marc Davis created hundreds of humorous pirate drawings during the attraction's development in the early 1960s, sketches that Disney sculptor Blaine Gibson helped bring to life as Audio-Animatronics figures.
  • The jaunty theme song by lyricist X. Atencio and composer George Bruns, "Yo Ho, Yo Ho; a Pirate's Life for Me," sets the attraction's light tone with its tongue-in-cheek depiction of high-seas lawlessness:
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage, plunder, we rifle and loot
Drink up me 'earties yo ho
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot
Drink up me 'earties yo ho
  • Pirates of the Caribbean wasn’t included in the original plans for Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort -- the Disney Imagineers thought that since Florida sits in the middle of the real Caribbean there would be little interest in a pirates-themed adventure.
  • Soon after opening in the fall of 1971, Walt Disney World Resort was inundated with guest comments expressing disappointment that the renowned Disneyland attraction was nowhere to be found in Magic Kingdom. By fall of 1972 Pirates of the Caribbean was under construction in Florida.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean opened in Florida’s Magic Kingdom on Dec. 15, 1973. It was one of the first major additions to the park following its grand opening in 1971.
  • Due to the hit motion picture “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and the follow-up “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” the attraction was updated in summer 2006 with the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Barbossa, from the feature films.
  • Audio enhancements, new special effects and the addition of the ghostly Davy Jones, from “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” also anchor the reopened attraction.

Fun Facts

  • The Walt Disney World attraction features 125 Audio-Animatronics figures -- 65 pirates and villagers and 60 animals and birds.
  • Caribbean Plaza in Adventureland, where the attraction is located, features the Spanish and English architectural styles of the 18th century West Indies.
  • Paul Frees and Thurl Ravenscroft provided the voices for many of the attraction’s colorful characters. The prolific voice artists also can be heard throughout The Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom.
  • Lyricist X. Atencio supplied the voice for the talking skull and crossbones that delivers an ominous warning to passing guests: “Dead men tell no tales.”
  • Flat-bottomed boats that seat 15-18 passengers take guests on a gentle journey through a flume containing approximately 155,000 gallons of water, but beware -- there’s a single plunge down a 14-foot chute in darkness, followed by a mild splash.
  • The Florida version differs from its California counterpart by featuring a shortened sequence of haunted grotto scenes, but is highlighted by an entirely different finale featuring the sacked village’s Treasure Room.
  • Hanging above the entrance to that scene is a coat of arms -- “Marco Daviso” -- a sly tribute to Imagineer Marc Davis.
  • Sharp-eyed guests at the attraction will notice two chess-playing skeletons, their eerie match deadlocked in a tie.
  • Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World - The Official Guide depicts Pirates of the Caribbean as “One of the very best of the Magic Kingdom’s classic adventures” and honors the attraction with a “Birnbaum’s Best” endorsement.


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Video: Pirates of the Caribbean

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