Orlando/SoCal Theme Park Showdown: Pirates of the Caribbean vs. Pirates of the Caribbean
Written by Robert Niles
Our first match-up on day two of the Theme Park Insider Orlando/Southern California Showdown matches Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean versus the Magic Kingdom's Pirates of the Caribbean. Which is your favorite between the two versions? Consider whatever details you'd like - setting, decor, ride, narrative, or whatever petty individual bias you'd like to throw into the mix. The vote will be open for 24 hours.Tweet
Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean: New Orleans Square
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom's Pirates of the Caribbean: Adventureland
The differences? Pirates of the Caribbean opened the New Orleans Square expansion of Disneyland park in March 1967, just three months after Walt Disney's death. The ride remains one of the most impressive musical animatronic displays in the theme park industry. And at more than 15 minutes, it's also one of the longest theme park rides in the world. Pirates has spawned an entertainment empire, with four films that have grossed billions of dollars, not to mention video games, books and YouTube parodies (lyrics NSFW, BTW).
Disneyland's original version of the ride sends guests down two waterfalls into a misty realm where "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.)
Walt Disney World wasn't supposed to get Pirates. Instead, Disney Imagineers contemplated a massive "Western River Expedition" indoor boat ride through scenes from the American west. (A western-themed coaster that became Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was to be built on top of the Western River Expedition.) But early Disney World visitors demanded their Pirates and Disney rushed an abbreviated version of the ride into the park by Christmas 1973.
Disney World's version of Pirates of the Caribbean offers a much more elaborate queue, themed to a Spanish fortress. Once on board, guests sail immediately into the grotto, then drop down a single waterfall into the battle scene. The Blue Bayou and scenes of cursed treasure that follow the waterfall in Disneyland's version are omitted in Florida, as is about half of the interior of the burning city. Disney World visitors exit the ride after the jail and final treasure scene, and boats are transported up the final lift backstage. At Disneyland, riders stay in the boats for the entire circuit, exiting at the loading station.
Feel free to further break down the match-up in the comments.
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