7 Insider Secrets from The Pirates of The Caribbean Ride

7 Secrets Hidden Inside Pirates of The Caribbean

“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.” The Pirates of The Caribbean was the last ride that Walt Disney himself oversaw. Unfortunately he died 3 months before it opened in Disneyland in 1967. The iconic ride was replicated at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in 1973 and renovated in 2006 to include character Jack Sparrow from the Disney movie series Pirates of The Caribbean. I’m sure you have ridden this ride hundreds of times, but you will never look at it the same once you know these fascinating secrets!

Note that these secrets are describing the ride at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL.


1. There are two separate waiting queues.

Whether or not you will wind your way through the soldier’s living quarters or embark on a journey through the castle’s dungeon is all dependent on if you have a FastPass+ or not. If you possess a FastPass+ for this ride you will walk through the castle’s dungeon (where a few of the secrets are), while if you ride StandBy you will journey through the soldier’s living quarters. Keep in mind this ride is based in the West Indies during the 1700s, a time when the Spanish were finding gold in what would become the USA. Therefore no matter which queue you journey through there is plenty of exciting things to look at.


2. Imagineer Marc Davis has many signatures on this ride.

Disney’s Nine Old Men Core Animator Marc Davis

Marc Davis, a member of Disney’s Nine Old Men (Disney’s core animators) has a keen eye for detail and a love of chess. When you walk toward the boarding area (on the dungeon side) take notice to the window with bars on your right hand side, below you will see two skeletons playing chess. Davis put them in a no-win situation so that the skeletons look like they are thinking of their next move for eternity. When you enter the last scene look for a crest marked with two rooks in the upper right and lower left corners as well as the name Marci Daviso (as close to his actual name as he could get) written on the crest.


3. The Disneyland version is twice as long as the WDW version.

The Disneyland version of Pirates of The Caribbean lasts a staggering 15 and a half minutes, while the Walt Disney World attraction lasts only 8 and a half minutes. From what I can gather the Disneyland version of the attraction spends more time setting up a story instead of throwing you right in the middle of a sea battle. Pirates of The Caribbean is one of my favorite rides at Magic Kingdom and would love to ride the Disneyland version to see the differences for myself.


4. Mermaids follow you around.

In 2012 the mermaids from the Pirates of The Caribbean movies were added. While riding in your boat look over the side you may see a green shimmering light (the effect doesn’t always work), those are the mermaids following your boat attempting to lure you in. A mermaid skeleton is also seen lying in a shipwrecked boat.


5. By the numbers:

This attraction is home to 66 pirates, 57 animal and bird Animatronic Figures, 750,000 gallons of water, and 50 boats that hold 22 adults each. The one drop in the ride is 15 feet long.


6. Cannonballs!

In the classic sea fight scene cannonballs are being fired from ship to ship. The reason there is an orange splash is because they are blazing when they hit the water. To increase the attraction’s effects and to stimulate more of our senses air cannons were added to fire at the same time as the cannons to give the appearance of unseen cannonballs zooming by.


7. The first ride with a gift shop

Pirates of the Caribbean is the first ride to empty into a gift shop. Since then almost all of the rides dump ups off into a wonderland of things we don’t need but desperately desire.


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