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Robert Niles

2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean

Published: February 19, 2010 at 1:10 AM

Theme Park Insider readers have voted Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean as the fifth seed in the Best Themed Ride bracket of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament.

Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean debuted in the then-new New Orleans Square section of Disneyland in March 1967 and since then has spawned a multi-billion-dollar entertainment empire. The story of a pirate raid on a Spanish port has grown into three (soon to be four) movies, video games and theme park rides around the world.

Pirates takes riders on a 15-minute trip from New Orleans Square's Blue Bayou down two waterfalls into a misty realm where Davy Jones challenges you with a pirate's curse and "dead men tell no tales." Disney's Imagineers have tweaked the ride several times since its 1967 debut, most recently in 2007, with the addition of characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean films, including Davy Jones and Johnny Depp's Capt. Jack Sparrow.

The show's burning city finale features the rousing theme "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me" by X. Atencio and George Bruns, followed by a coda in the city's crumbling prison, where the pirates face their comeuppance. (Except for Jack Sparrow, of course.)

If you've ridden only the Walt Disney World version of this ride... you're missing quite a bit. With two waterfalls, a much longer lower grotto and a backstory that provided the backbone for the first movie, the Anaheim original easily outscores the Florida copy. You'll also find Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.

Pirates of the Caribbean set a standard for theme park attractions that few other rides have been able to meet over the past 40-some years. We'll find out how far Pirates can go in this year's tournament when voting begins next month.

Replies (13)

James Rao

Published: February 19, 2010 at 3:55 AM

The Disneyland version of POTC is quite possibly the greatest theme park attraction of all time.
Mark Kausch

Published: February 19, 2010 at 6:14 AM

And if it isn't, it comes a close second to its next door (almost - at DLR) neighbor, the Haunted Mansion.
Joshua Counsil

Published: February 19, 2010 at 6:55 AM

I love this attraction, but find the boats pile up too often. I don't think I've ridden once without colliding with another boat ahead... multiple times.

Still a 9-Outstanding, but the pile-up issue needs to be addressed.

Sylvain Comeau

Published: February 19, 2010 at 7:03 AM

My favorite Disneyland ride. Still a masterpiece. Unlike the Haunted Mansion, the West Coast version is clearly superior, and definitely belongs in this tourament.
Anthony Murphy

Published: February 19, 2010 at 7:42 AM

I have to say, I think it is the greatest Dark Ride out there because it still stays at the top of everybody's list after 40 years. It also showcases all of Walt Disney's specialties: Adventure, Animatronics, Scenery, and funny/scary moments.

I will second what Robert mentioned, the DL version is a visual treat and makes all others look like a kiddie pools. The DLP one is the shortest one I think I have been on, but they are all more or less the same, but the DL one is the wonder of them all!

Published: February 19, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Great video. I had forgotten that Disneyland's version is far more superior that WDW. I need to get out to the west coast more often.
Ray Schroeder

Published: February 19, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Great Video. I had forgotten that Disneyland's version is far more superior that WDW's. I need to visit DL more often.
Brian Bauer

Published: February 19, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Pirates is one of my top two all time attractions. And i've never even seen the Disneyland version.
mark evans

Published: February 19, 2010 at 12:13 PM

I agree with Mr. Rao. The best theme park attraction anywhere bar none. I enjoy Pirates as much now as the first time I rode it in the summer of 1967. Disney imagineers finest hour.
Rod Whitenack

Published: February 19, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Even though I've always loved POTC, I've only ever experienced the WDW version, as I've never been to the West Coast. You're right, however, based on the video, the DL version is much better. The WDW version doesn't include anything in the first 5 minutes. There's no New Orleans setup and the only skeleton pirate is the one at the wheel of the boat in the storm. I'd love to ride this someday.
Manny Barron

Published: February 20, 2010 at 12:41 AM

Now the real powerhouses are showing up for this tourney. Pirates is great as we all know and the fact that it is four decades old is amazing. The additions a couple of years back were controversial but it is what it is and Pirates is still a legendary ride.
Sylvain Comeau

Published: February 21, 2010 at 6:50 AM

For those of you who have never ridden Disneyland's POTC, the ride is definitely one of the key reasons for visiting the West Coast resort (Indiana Jones Adventure is one of the others). I'm not knocking the WDW version, but Disneyland's Pirates is one of the greatest rides anywhere.

Published: February 22, 2010 at 3:11 PM

This summer, I will finally be able to visit Disneyland! I am beyond excited to finally get to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. From everything I've seen and heard, it's such a brilliantly-designed ride.

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