Pirates of the Caribbean, A Classic Disneyland Attraction

Filed in: Disneyland Park

Beloved Attraction Inspires Popular Movie Franchise and Disney Attractions Worldwide

Millions of Disneyland guests have experienced the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction since its 1967 opening. The ever-popular Disneyland icon, the last one created under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself, launched a wave of pirate mania that has circled the globe:

•Generated Pirate-themed attractions at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. (1973), at Tokyo Disneyland (1983) and at Disneyland Paris (1992).
•Inspired a movie franchise with the Walt Disney Company’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), and the forthcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
•In 2006, this inspiration came full circle when film characters Captain Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones and Barbossa were added to the attraction. Initiated the creation of “Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island” in Disneyland’s Frontierland.
•The Island provides guests with interactive Pirates-related experiences, new special effects, and other atmospheric elements.

The fun-loving tone of Pirates of the Caribbean is set by its jaunty theme song, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).” Guests hear the memorable tune as they sail through mysterious caverns where “dead men tell no tales,” and then journey into the heart of a colonial era Caribbean seaport under siege by a band of fun-loving pirates.

“Yo Ho’s” songwriter X Atencio, who was involved as a creative contributor from the beginning of the attraction’s inception, said: “After the script was done, I said to Walt that I thought we should have a little song in there…I had an idea for a lyric and a melody…”

Pirates of the Caribbean was first conceived by Walt Disney in the late 1950s when he wanted to create an attraction based on pirate adventures. Initially, it was envisioned to be a wax museum and then as a walk-through adventure as part of a new land themed to New Orleans. But ultimately, it was actualized as a ride-through adventure that utilizes the type of boat system that the “it’s a small world” attraction employs. Pirates of the Caribbean was the last theme park attraction that was personally supervised by Walt Disney before his passing a few months prior to its official opening.

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