Opening in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom more than two years after official park opening, Pirates of the Caribbean was the attraction what was never suppose to be here. Originally to have the Western River Expedition in Frontierland as the ‘Western Pirates’, after many complaints, an abbreviated version, from the Disneyland version, opened on December 15, 1973.
The attraction, guarded by the Caribbean watchtower Torre del Sol, is housed in a golden Spanish fort called Castillo Del Morro, inspired by Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Inside the Blue Bayou has been replaced by Pirate's Cove and into a short grotto with Davy Jones, skeletons of dead pirates, the hurricane lagoon, and an echoing "Dead men tell no tales". There is no treasure room sequence as found in other parks. Following the plunge down one waterfall the remainder of the ride is similar to Tokyo and California. Unlike in California however, you do not return to ground level in your boat. Instead you exit the boat immediately after the Jack Sparrow in the treasure room scene, then take a speed ramp up to the ground floor gift shop. The Florida version also does not include the scene past the powder room with the intoxicated pirates firing cannons.
The exterior of the attraction was slightly altered during the 2006 modifications. Included in the changes were the removal of the barker bird, and original attraction sign. A new sign was placed on the outside corner of the fort facing towards the entrance of Adventureland. The design of the new sign is a ships mast with the attraction name written in its black sails, and a skeleton of a pirate up in its crow's nest. The barker bird was eventually moved to the Pirates of the Caribbean section of the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney.
The position of the pieces on the chess board in the attraction's pre-show is not random. Marc Davis carefully arranged the pieces so that any move will result in a never-ending game - hence the skeletons who have been playing the same game since 1973. The pieces were accidentally moved during a minor refurbishment and were not returned to their proper positions until someone found Marc Davis's original sketches.
The ride begins with your boat passing through a cave and an image of Davy Jones appears. You then pass an island on your left with skeletons of pirates while hearing a disembodied voice saying "Dead Man Tell No Tales." You continue and pass by the wreckage of a ship in a storm with a skeleton at the wheel. The ride drops and you go down 14 feet, in the process, passing under the Walt Disney World Railroad and dropping down to ground level (the ride actually begins on a second level, and the surrounding Caribbean Plaza is graded to match the rest of the park).
At the bottom you pass through a dark passage and pass a battle between a pirate ship and an island fortress. The ride continues as you pass through a town being ransacked and see a woman screaming down to her husband who is being dunked multiple times into a well in an attempt to get information from him on the location of Jack Sparrow. You then see Jack Sparrow hiding against a wall looking back over his shoulder at the pirates who are searching for him. The boat next passes a scene you see women being auctioned off as brides. You will hear a pirate yell, "Me wants the red-head!" You go under a bridge and see pirates stealing a treasure chest, and an old lady chasing a pirate with a broom. A pirate sitting on the left holding a map says that Jack Sparrow will not be able to find the treasure without his map and key. You then see that Jack Sparrow is behind him hiding in a keg and looking right at him. On the right is a very drunk pirate surrounded by and talking to cats. You then pass under another bridge and see that the town is on fire. There are three singing men, a donkey and a dog who are singing along to the song "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me.)" You see more pirates stealing treasure, singing, and carrying the torches which set the city alight. You then begin to pass under a bridge, there is a pirate on the right passed out and surrounded by pigs. Above a pirate dangles his hairy, dirty leg down.
As in the Disneyland version you see prisoners trying to escape from their jail cell by attempting to lure a dog who has keys in his mouth over to them. On the left you see the key from the prior scene in an opened door, and Jack Sparrow, drunk as usual surrounded by treasure rocking in a large chair and speaking about his exploits, and singing bits of "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me.)" The ride then ends as you exit to your left.
The chase scene was altered to show the pirates making off with various treasure as the formerly "chased" ladies attempt to thwart them. The "Pooped Pirate" here holds a treasure map in his lap and a magnifying glass in one hand. His lines include: "This map says X marks the spot, but I be seein' no X's afore me." The woman in the barrel remains, although this time she is hiding a small treasure chest in the barrel with her.
In 2006, the ride had a major overhaul as it added new figures coinciding with the opening of the second Pirates film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. This overhaul was similar to Disneyland’s with the addition of Barbossa, Davy Jones, and several Jack Sparrow figures.
Onto the Pins!!
Some logos for the attraction, pre-movie tie ins.
Our final set of pins feature Jack, Barbossa, and Davy Jones with WDI ID Badges, in one of the many ID Badge series, these were released after the addition of the characters to the classic Pirates attraction.