Disneyland Resort’s Famed Pirates of the Caribbean Celebrates 40 Years of Swashbuckling Fun on March 18, 2007

Filed in: Disneyland Park

The Attraction that Inspired a Worldwide Movie Phenomenon Has Hosted Nearly 315,000,000 Guests

(Anaheim, Calif. ­- March 16, 2007) Disneyland Resort will mark a 40-year milestone of swashbuckling adventure Sunday, March 18, when the classic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction celebrates its 40th anniversary.

In addition to entertaining several generations of would-be buccaneers, the original Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean has inspired versions in other Disney theme parks as well as a worldwide movie phenomenon. The Sunday anniversary will be observed with in-park autograph signings by Walt Disney Imagineers involved in the creation of the attraction, and with the debut of some new collectible Pirates-themed items.

Nearly 315,000,000 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) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006). The franchise’s third film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, will open in May.
  • Came full circle last summer when the attraction that inspired the successful films was inspired, in turn, to add movie characters, including Captain Jack Sparrow, Davey Jones and Barbossa.
  • Initiated the creation of “Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer’s Island” in Disneyland’s Frontierland. The reopening of the Island in May, timed to the next film’s opening, will provide guests with interactive Pirates-related experiences, new special effects, live entertainment 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 will be one of the guests at the Sunday celebration, was involved as a creative contributor from the beginning of the attraction’s inception. “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…” In marveling about the impact of the Pirates franchise over time, Atencio said, “It’s amazing to me how the show has lived for 40 years. It gets stronger every year. It just blows my mind.”

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.

The celebration of the Pirates of the Caribbean’s 40th anniversary coincides with Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort’s “Year of a Million Dreams,” which runs through 2007.

For more information about new attractions, the “Year of a Million Dreams,” and vacations at Disneyland Resort visit www.disneyland.com or call (866) 60-DISNEY or by visiting local travel agents.

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