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.
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I am very proud of our version, but I'll say no more because last time I made a comment, everyone in here became a pirate. Urrrrh!
1. Nice queue
2. More detailed scenes
3. You get off underground and dont have to wait a while
The DL version has more waterfall drops
The DL version has the trip back up a waterfall (yeah, I know its a cheesy excuse to cover the need for a lift hill, but somehow the speedramp a the end of the WDW version really takes me out of the experience).
The city burning scene is much more elaborate in DL (those glowing embers in the rafters always amaze me).
DL still has the talking skull at the start of the ride with X Atencio's original voice work ("Thar be falls ahead!") I had no problem with them adding the Barbosa water screen effect, but why did they have to put it where the talking skull was in Florida?
When boats get backed up at the unloading dock in the DL version, they do so after you have climbed the waterfall. In the WDW version, they tend to back up into the last scene of the ride, leaving you doomed to hear that #%!@#! parrot sing "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A pirate's life for me" over and over and over. Its like being stuck on a Pirate version of Its a Small World.
The only advantage that the WDW Pirates has is its queue, and even that is canceled by the loss of the Blue Bayou. In all other aspects, the Disneyland version is superior
People point to the length of the experience as the big indicator that it's better, but much of the extended length at Disneyland is long empty bits of nothing, and the fact the boats go slower.
I honestly prefer WDW's, because it makes sense - Caribbean Plaza, Pirate Bunker, Cave, Pirate Ride. Disneyland's is the one that makes little sense - New Orleans, enter fancy pants mansion, a bayou...then, a Pirate Ride? The NO connection is light, at best, and unknown to most who weren't born in the 1800's.
It's a great ride at both parks - but the myth that somehow Disneyland's is a far better experience is just that, a myth. WDW's is faster, and more exciting - Disneyland's is like the "directors cut", but when you see a lot of "directors cuts" with "deleted scenes", you realize why they were cut in the first place. They bog down the ride. I'm all for slow attractions (SpaceShip Earth and Great Movie Ride are my favorites), but Disneyland's isn't superior, if anything, they are equal. They both have +'s and -'s, and end up being (pun intended) a wash.
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There is one thing I do fault DLR for is that there is maybe too much empty cave in the beginning.
One thing I do love about WDW's is that at the end of the drop, bam! you're in the action of cannon fire. It's nice timing effect that Disneyland's doesn't have.