The slow transformation from the hometown nostalgia of Main Street USA to Aventureland begins around the Crystal Palace. The transition continues as you cross over the wooden bridge and start to hear the distinctive drumbeats. The vegetation is lush, tiki statues dot the walkway, and the music is now a tropical melody. As you journey deeper into Aventureland, you will notice the Spanish architecture and all the details of a Caribbean island. You have arrived at the Caribbean Plaza, home to one of Walt Disney World’s most loved attractions, Pirates of the Caribbean. As you enter the cool, dark fortress and walk through the amazingly detailed queue down to the loading dock, the stage is set for an encounter on the high seas with the adventurous pirates. A great ride to escape the heat of the day, your journey will take you past 65 pirates and villagers and 60 different animals. Check out these fun facts and secrets about Pirates of the Caribbean before you set off on your next voyage.
7. Not an original
Even though Pirates of the Caribbean is a wildly popular attraction now, it wasn’t present for guests to experience on Opening Day of the Magic Kingdom in 1971. While this was one of the original attractions when Disneyland opened in 1955, the company didn’t think it would be popular in the Florida park due to the close proximity of the actual Caribbean. However, guests requested a version of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Walt Disney World as well, so the ride was added in December of 1973 and has remained dear to guests ever since.
6. Hidden Mickeys
Hidden Mickeys can be found all over Walt Disney World if you know where to look, and Pirates of the Caribbean is no exception. Enter the queue on the left-hand side and look for the tall gun cabinets. The cabinets have hidden Mickey-shaped locks. As you float past the Treasure Room at the end of the ride, there is a hidden Mickey on the lock in the middle of the open wooden door, as well as on the cabinet locks behind Captain Jack Sparrow.
5. Dungeon Chess Game
One of the scenes in the queue area is of two skeletons playing chess in a dungeon cell. If you look closely, you might notice that no one will win this chess game; the pieces are arranged in a forever stalemate.
4. A drop in the dark
Shortly after you begin your pirate cruise, your boat floats past a stormy ocean scene and a beach where a few pirates met an untimely end. A ghostly apparition appears of either Davy Jones or Blackbeard, and suddenly your boat plunges down a hidden waterfall. The Disneyland version of the ride features two drops, but due to the high water table in Florida, guests in Walt Disney World will only plunge down once.
3. Famous voices
As your boat enters the town scene where the pirates are holding an auction to find a bride, the voice of the auctioneer is Paul Frees. Mr. Frees’s voice also serves as the Ghost Host, the narrator for the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square.
2. That pirate’s leg
Towards the end of the town scene as guests witness the auction, the boat floats under a bridge. Look up at the pirate sitting on the bridge with a dangling leg. Knowing how close guests would be to this particular pirate and aiming to be as authentic as possible, the Imagineers ensured that the hair on his leg and dirt on his foot are real.
1. The famous Imagineer
One of the major creative influences for this attraction was Imagineer and animator Marc Davis. In the Treasure Room at the end of the ride, a nod to Mr. Davis can be seen with the Davis Family Coat of Arms on the wall.
When your pirate adventure is over, the fun doesn’t have to end. Continue exploring the Caribbean Plaza and enjoy a meal at Tortuga Tavern. Guests can get a pirate makeover at the Pirates League, complete with makeup, costume, and a pirate name. A Pirate Tutorial takes place on the stage directly across from the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance daily. Guests ready to take on more pirate quests can sign up for “A Pirate’s Adventure-Treasure of the Seven Seas”. Five different missions get everyone involved as a member of the crew, using maps to unlock interactive clues scattered around Adventureland.