Of all the attractions in Walt Disney World, there is one which remains a classic with many guests. Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square brings guests into the heart of a seaside village being ransacked by swashbuckling pirates. Guests board boats and head to the high seas passing through eerie caves, skeletal remains, a raging battle at a fort, and a burning village running amok on their epic journey. Since the attraction is so popular, guests are very familiar with the theme song, scenes, and characters, but they might be surprised to know that there are plenty of secrets pertaining to the attraction. Here are five secrets about Pirates of the Caribbean in Walt Disney World that many guests don’t know.
5. A Late Start –
While Pirates of the Caribbean is a fixture in the Magic Kingdom today, it did not always exist in the park! The attraction was originally built in Disneyland and was a smash hit, but Imagineers did not think that guests in Florida would find it appealing since they were already so close to the Caribbean. After the Magic Kingdom opened in October 1971, guests endlessly asked where the famous pirates were located, inspiring Imagineers to bring the attraction to the Magic Kingdom. Since construction started after the park was already open to the public, Pirates of the Caribbean did not make its debut until December 1973, but it has been a guest favorite and classic ever since.
4. A Regal Crest –
After the popular film franchise Pirates of the Caribbean had such great success, the attraction was updated to include several Audio-Animatronic figures of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Throughout the attraction, Captain Jack is constantly on the hunt for a treasure map to lead him to a huge fortune. The very last scene of the attraction features Captain Jack singing merrily on a throne amongst the fabled treasure, and nearby there is a hidden tribute to an Imagineer who helped make the attraction possible. Located above the door into the treasure room there is a crest emblazoned with the name Marco Daviso. While the name might seem like a local nobleman in the town, it actually pays homage to Imagineer Marc Davis who created many of the scenes, characters, and sight gags found throughout Pirates of the Caribbean.
3. An Endless Game –
One of Marc Davis’ famous additions to the attraction can be found along the queue. Guests who are on the FastPass+ side of the queue pass by a series of windows with bars overlooking dungeons and other rooms below. One window in particular overlooks a game of chess that has been locked in a stalemate for so long that the players have become skeletons. Marc Davis came up with the concept for this scene, going so far as researching a professional chess game which did ultimately end up in a stalemate to make the scene as realistic as possible.
2. A Necessary Drop –
After boarding their boats, guests enjoying Pirates of the Caribbean enter into an eerie cave full of singing mermaids, strange lights, skeletal remains of pirates past, and a shipwreck still being steered by a skeletal pirate. Suddenly guests enter into a dark tunnel and find themselves plummeting down a slippery hill into the middle of an epic battle between a pirate ship and a seaside fort. While this drop might seem like an element added solely to thrill guests, it was a structural necessity for the attraction! Since Pirates of the Caribbean opened two years after the Magic Kingdom, many other areas of the park were already complete and operating for the public. This included the Walt Disney World Railroad which was operating on a loop around the perimeter of the park. Since the show building for Pirates of the Caribbean needed to be massive, Imagineers had to construct it outside of the park’s original border, and thus needed to come up with a way for the boats to pass through the Walt Disney World Railroad’s tracks. The solution to the logistical issue came when Imagineers decided to add the drop into the attraction in order for guests to move underneath the railroad’s tracks and gain access to the show building.
1. A Familiar Voice –
Guests who are fans of Pirates of the Caribbean are very familiar with the Auctioneer who in one scene is selling off wives to the highest bidder. The Auctioneer is trying his best to make a deal, seeking out gold from the lonely pirates. What many guests might not realize is that the voice behind the Auctioneer can actually be heard elsewhere in the Magic Kingdom. Voice talent Paul Frees worked with Disney numerous times and provided his talent to be the voice of the Auctioneer on Pirates of the Caribbean. Frees can also be heard as the disembodied Ghost Host on the Haunted Mansion, in old cartoons as Professor Ludwig Von Drake, and was also the original narrator of The Hall of Presidents. With so much talent it is no wonder that Paul Frees’ voice is familiar to Disney fans! NOTE… Enjoy the Auctioneer/Wench scene while you can as it’s schedule to be re-imagined during the Pirates refurbishment closure from February 26 – March 18, 2018. The redhead will return, but she is said to become a pirate and heading up the auction of stolen loot.