Pirates of the Caribbean

From Academic Kids

This article is about the Disney theme park attraction. For other uses, see Pirates of the Caribbean (disambiguation).

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the best-known attractions at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. It opened at Disneyland in 1967, was the largest Audio-Animatronic project to date and was the last attraction of which Walt Disney was involved in the design. During the course of the 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 make up parts of the show were genuine medical specimens and most 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 Marc Davis. Visitors to the Disneyland attraction should pay particular attention to the pirate captain in the scene where he auctions captured women as brides. The "captain" is a test bed for updates and developments to Audio-Animatronic technology and 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 attraction

The ride begins amid glimmering fireflies during an evening abuzz with the croaking of bullfrogs. Daring adventurers board their boats at Lafitte's Landing, and are at once afloat in the heart of bayou country. Once past several rickety houseboats, the soft strumming of a banjo melody can be heard over the peaceful symphony of nature. But, then a more chilling sound becomes audible: the thundering of a waterfall, and the frightening echo of "Dead men tell no tales!"

After a hair-raising plunge into the depths of an underground grotto, guests behold the skeletal remains of an unfortunate band of pirates, guarding their loot and treasure with macabre delight.

Suddenly, cannonballs whistle overhead and explosions throw water into the air – a fierce battle between a marauding pirate galleon and a Caribbean fortress is in full swing. The village beyond is overrun with sinister pirates, looking for treasures to steal, wenches to auction, and rum to drink. Carefree, tipsy pirates succeed in ravaging the town and setting it aflame, filling the night air with an orange glow, while a rollicking tune echoes over the rooftops: "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me!"

Your boat then takes you through a jail, where imprisoned pirates are doing their best to escape. There are sound of popping and crackling wood, and an orange and red glow can be seen all around. This can mean only one thing – the pirates have set fire to the town. Timbers are smoldering and cracking overhead as you sail through a storage room filled with gun powder, cannon balls and whiskey-filled, gun-shooting pirates.

The final shoot-out between the inebriated crew and captain of the pirate ship in a flaming ammunition warehouse threatens to demolish the entire village at any second. Somehow, you manage to slip by, undetected, and return to the sleepy bayou where you started your journey.


At one point in the ride, a pirate is seen chasing around a woman. The intent of the pirate must be inferred; many interpreted it as attempted rape. The woman now carries a plate of food with her to suggest that the pirate is after the food, not her.

As of 1996 at Disneyland and 2004 at the Magic Kingdom, the woman now chases the pirate instead, wielding a broom or another household object as a weapon. This may have been done in response to the criticism referred to above.

Some have criticized the perceived glorification of the pirate lifestyle. However, the ride is filled with depictions of the unpleasant lives and violent deaths of pirates, which suggests that its message is not one of glorification but of condemnation.


Missing image
The prison scene in Monkey Island 2.

In 2003, a film based on the ride was released: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, as well as two sequels Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean 3. A computer game (by Akella), loosely connected to the movie's plot, was also made.

Ron Gilbert has often been quoted for having said that his inspiration for making Monkey Island came from the ride (this has since be refuted to 'merely' being a source of ambience [1] ( The ride has left its mark however, the best example of this being the prison scene in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge with the key-carrying dog, who is named Walt after of course, Walt Disney.

Disneyland specifications

  • Opening day - March 18 1967
  • Ride time - 14.5 minutes
  • Capacity - 3400 guests per hour
  • Audio-Animatronics figures - 66 pirates; 57 animals and birds
  • Total amount of water - 750,000 gallons
  • Main lift pumps - Pump number one is rated at a maximum of 20,000 gallons per minute while Pump Number Two is rated at a maximum of 18,000 gallons per minute
  • First drop length - 52'
  • First drop angle - 21°
  • Second drop length - 37'
  • Second drop angle - 21 degrees
  • Length of final lift back to Lafitte's Landing - 90'
  • Angle of final lift back to Lafitte's Landing - 16 degrees
  • Number of buildings - 2
  • Number of levels - 3 (Blue Bayou, upper caverns and main show in basement)
  • Maximum ceiling height - 40'

See also

sv:Pirates of the Caribbean


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