The Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most popular and beloved Disney rides. It has undergone many versions through the years, but most Disney resorts have one form or another of the classic pirate attraction.
The Pirates of the Caribbean
The original concept of the Disneyland ride was to be a walk-through wax museum that displayed various pirates and scenes. However, after the success of boat rides like “it’s a small world”, it was changed. In 1967, Disneyland Park guests were transported back in time to witness the antics, crimes, and mayhem of a group of pirates.
When Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971 (without Pirates of the Caribbean), the decision was made by the Walt Disney Company to build it (instead of their planned western-themed attraction).
But what about other Disney parks around the globe? Many of them have fascinating stories about their Pirates of the Caribbean attractions, too.
In fact, one Disney resort has no Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Which one? Hong Kong Disneyland. But this wasn’t always the case.
The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride That Never Was
Once upon a time, there were ambitious plans for the Hong Kong Disney Park to have its own version of Pirates of the Caribbean.
Retired Disney Imagineer Jim Shull recently shed new light on the concept on X (formerly known as Twitter). He shared a post that depicted a foam model of the once-planned E-ticket attraction.
This never-built version of Pirates of the Caribbean was to be a water flume ride. It would have included a journey through a rocky mountain and concluded with a large drop, just like Splash Mountain.
It would have been unlike any other Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in the world. Although they each contain a drop of some kind, this version would have had a drop taller than any of the others.
This is a fine example of work WDI dimensional design produces using a soft carving foam or ‘yellow foam’. The foam turns dark and brittle upon exposer to UV light and air. This discovered image shows a concept for a Pirates of the Caribbean ride. #HongKongDisneyland pic.twitter.com/UvuklR17Oa
— Jim Shull (@JimShull) October 9, 2023
Although this project was eventually scrapped for the Hong Kong Disneyland theme park, the model shared by Jim Shull largely matches some of the previously discovered concept art of the attraction.
Several years ago, the In Sights and Sound blog shared several pieces of concept art for the attraction. The art that was shared appears to be from several development stages, but one matches up with the newly revealed foam model.
Other Imagineering Secrets?
The newly shared model and images may make many Disney guests wonder what other surprises Disney and Imagineering have dreamt up through the years but never materialized.
It’s also not hard to imagine that the Splash Mountain-like design of the Pirates of the Caribbean could have been implemented in Disneyland Park or even Magic Kingdom Park. Especially if they wanted to do away with the Song of the South-inspired version of the ride.
Although we still look forward to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, it’s interesting to imagine a Pirate-themed Splash Mountain…