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Happy 44th Birthday Pirates of the Caribbean!
DisneyDan  Friday, March 18, 2011 11:41:06 AM
Hi all,

Today marks the 44th anniversary of the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Disneyland Park at the Disneyland Resort in California.

A lot has happened over the last four decades, and the attraction has inspired an entire movie franchise, brand new characters, and multiple sister attractions around the globe. The success of the attraction and its offspring is phenomenal, and will undoubtedly continue to grow over the years.
Let’s take a photographic tour of what the attraction has given us over the years…

Wandering around the Magic Kingdom

To begin with, the original attraction led to similar, but unique in their own right, attractions being opened across the parks of the world:

Disneyland’s original version

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Magic Kingdom in Florida

Pirates of the Caribbean

Tokyo Disneyland Park

Pirates of the Caribbean

Parc Disneyland in Paris.


The attraction later inspired what would become one of Disney’s most popular movie franchises, which led to the attractions receiving a movie make over. The attractions in both US Parks and Tokyo were refurbished to include Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa as animatronics and Davy Jones as a projection. Paris’s version remains unchanged (for now…).

WDW Dec 2008 - Riding Pirates of the Caribbean

WDW Sept 2008 - Riding Pirates of the Caribbean

WDW April 2009 - Davey Jones

There have been other additions and changes over the years to the parks, too. At all the Parks, there have been boutiques open next to or near the attractions selling a wide variety of Pirates merchandise, and of course in most of the stores across the Resorts now, and indeed the Disney Store, Pirates things can be found.

The boutique at the end of the attraction in Florida:

The Pirates Bazaar

Arcade machine in a store near the attraction in California:

Pirate arcade machine

Other changes include Tom Sawyer Island in California becoming Pirates Lair and the Blockbuster Café in Disneyland Paris being re-themed to have a Pirates of the Caribbean room.

Pirate's Lair:

Pirate Lair entrance sign on the Rivers of America

Blockbuster Cafe:

Pirates of the Caribbean room in Disney's Blockbuster Cafe

Pirates of the Caribbean room in Disney's Blockbuster Cafe

Pirates of the Caribbean room in Disney's Blockbuster Cafe

Pirates room in Disney Blockbuster Cafe

Of course, who could forget that on the same day the attraction opened in California, the restaurant that overlooks the ride opened too. The Blue Bayou has been a favourite ever since, and inspired a similar restaurant to open with the Paris and Tokyo versions too (although named the Blue Lagoon in Paris).

Disneyland Aug 09 - Wandering around New Orleans Square

DLP Feb 2009 - Exploring Adventureland

But this is a character site, and what we love the most is of course the characters, and Pirates of the Caribbean is no exception. Let’s take a look at the character influences…

Disney On Ice – Disneyland Adventure features a scene set inside the popular attraction, complete with pirate characters (though not the movie ones).

Disney on Ice: Disneyland Adventure

Disney on Ice: Disneyland Adventure

In the Parks themselves, Jack Sparrow has become a meet ‘n’ greet character. He does not currently meet his fans in the US Parks on a regular basis, but he does in Paris and Tokyo, and rumour has it that he will be back alongside a brand new character from the upcoming fourth movie, later this year!

Meeting Jack Sparrow

Captain Barbossa also has made it into living form, but only featured in the Boo To You Parade, and the now defunct Enchanted Adventures Parade (both in the Magic Kingdom).

WDW Sept 2008 - Boo to You Parade Take 2

Jack Sparrow also performs a small Pirate Tutorial show on a regular basis in the Magic Kingdom.

Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial

The Pirates movies have also provided a good framework for the (now dead, sadly) Pirates and Princess Parties in the Magic Kingdom, where Jack Sparrow was a main feature for meets and in the parade (mentioned above), and also for some of the Fab 5 friends to dress in their Pirates best!

WDW Sept 2008 - 1st Boo To You Halloween Parade

WDW 2008 June

WDW 2008 June

Pirate Goofy recently reappeared, and can currently be met in regular park hours at the attraction in Florida.

Pirate Goofy

Despite the Party’s failure in the US, this year for the first time Disneyland Paris will be holding a similar event, again with Jack Sparrow hosting a Pirates Academy in Adventureland. Mickey, Donald and Goofy will also feature in Pirates costumes.

Finally, Jack Sparrow made his debut in Disneyland Paris’s Halloween post-parade last year, featuring on a specially designed boat alongside some of the Disney Villains.

DLP Halloween 2010 - Dreams of Trick or Treat

DLP Halloween 2010 - Dreams of Trick or Treat

So as you can see, from its start in life as what was intended to be a walk-thru attraction at the original Park in California, has now become an international phenomenon. Here’s to another 44 years of the crew of the most swashbuckling adventure ever to sail the Seven Seas!


DLP Feb 2008 - The Main Street Train Station

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