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Pirates of the Caribbean reviews

Theme Park Insider readers offer their ratings and reviews for Pirates of the Caribbean, a dark ride in Adventureland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

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Written by
Theme Park Insider Editor
Posted: December 12, 2013

Walt Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1973, two years after the rest of the Magic Kingdom. Originally, Disney Imagineers had planned to build an elaborate "Western River Expedition" dark ride in the Magic Kingdom, figuring that Floridians would have no interest in a Caribbean-themed boat ride, since the Caribbean is practically next door.

They were wrong. Disney World visitors demanded their own version of Pirates of the Caribbean, and Disney obliged. Walk through the Spanish fortress and step into a bateau for your ride into a mysterious cavern. Be sure to "keep your ruddy hands in board," though, for "there be rough seas ahead," ones that will drop you into a musical pirate adventure.

The Magic Kingdom's 10-minute Pirates ride omits several scenes from the Disneyland original but retains its most famous moments, including the attack on the Spanish Fort, the auction, the chase scene, and the burning city. Not to mention X Atencio's and George Bruns' famous theme song, "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me." In 2006, Disney added Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean films to the ride. Keep your eyes peeled — he appears in several scenes throughout the ride.

If you're curious, the plans for Western River Expedition made their way into two other Disney attractions. Some of the scenes from that indoor boat ride were incorporated into the Phantom Manor ride at Disneyland Paris. And the roller coaster planned for atop the Western River Expedition "mesa" building evolved into Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which you'll find just around the corner in the Magic Kingdom's Frontierland.

Readers' rating:

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170 votes, so far

A wonderful classic! One of the original rides at the park, it was updated with new characters after the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies- help Jack Sparrow escape the clutches of Captain Barbosa! Great for everyone. - Emily Kramer

Classic disney ride and love that they keep it up to par and the effects ! 9/10 - Owen Scott

A great water ride that takes you through the life of a pirate and even includes Captain Jack Sparrow. This ride that cannot be missed when you visit. 9/10 - Peter Lorme

Even when all of the effects are working, it's still a pretty slow and anti-clamitic ride. Last time I rode it there were entire scenes that didn't have anything (effects, sound)happening. Disney fans considers this the weakest of the Pirates rides so why not completely redo the ride since it's one of the most popular franchises in the world's most popular theme park. - Aaron McMahon

The Pirates of the Caribbean was a strange experience. At Disneyland the caves with the skeleton pirates are first, in Paris they are the final scenes. At WDW they do not exist. Also, the ride ends after the final Capt. Sparrow room. No going up the waterfall. This is the moment I realized that Walt was not around to see to the little details. There was a TV special (Disneyland’s 10 anniversary?) that previewed “the pirate ride” and Walt was very excited about going up the waterfall. It is too bad that wasn't included here. - Jeff Krinock

One of the few rides that makes me feel the magic of Disney. So much fun, great theming, great music, and with an updated queue and animatronics it's just great. 9/10. - Nick McKaig

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