Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean is 50-years-old

Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 9:34 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Fifty years ago this week, the Pirates of The Caribbean ride opened at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, and five decades later it remains one of the theme park’s most popular classic attractions. The attraction has given more than 400 million rides.

Read more from The San Diego Union-Tribune.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 10:26 AM
matt.'s avatar

For me, this is still Disney Park's greatest achievement.

I remember the first time I rode the DL version (after having been on the WDW version many times) and just being utterly blown away.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 12:21 PM

On my first visit to Disneyland I enjoyed comparing like attractions to those I knew well at Magic Kingdom. Along with a few others, Pirates at DL was the clear winner.

Fifty years doesn't even seem possible. I know many (most) of you here weren't even born yet, but I'm sitting here marveling over the realization that I was only twelve when Pirates gave its first ride. I remember it was big news.

Pirates have always been popular in film and literature, but I believe this ride kicked off a resurgence of interest. I remember in the 60's cheesy pirate themed ride-throughs started popping up, either as stand-alone tourist traps or in amusement parks. Some were water trough rides and some had motorized boats on a track. The ones at Crystal Beach and, of course, Cedar Point come to mind.

After all of it, Pirates of the Caribbean still endures. I ride it every time I go.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 11:01 PM
LJEdge's avatar

Much of Disneyland eclipses much of the counterparts in Orlando. Pirates in Anaheim blows Orlando's version out of the water.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 1:36 AM

Grew up with the Orlando version, then moved to Socal and it's my "home" version now.

Always thought DL was better of course but went back to WDW for the first time in 8 years and was blown away by the differences. I would love to know more of the backstory for the Florida version, and why some parts were omitted, why the lift happens after you exit, etc. What were the constraints (should have been NONE given what a greenfield the Magic Kingdom was when it was built in '73.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 8:15 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

Taking a stab...

....Pirates was not initially going to be at the Florida park; executives thought that with the park being so close to the Caribbean, guests wouldn't be interested in the attraction.

....the drop and lift at Disneyland were necessary to move the ride vehicles under the berm and into and out of the show building. That wasn't necessary at WDW but was included because the original ride had them. (Likewise, the stretching room in Orlando's Haunted Mansion is there for the same reason.)


Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 8:50 AM
Morté615's avatar

There used to be a website by the same folks who made http://doombuggies.com for Pirates of the Caribbean but it seems to have disappeared :(

But if I remember right the only reason for the drop at the DL version at all was to get under the berm, at WDW that was not needed. So they placed it where it made more sense for the story.


Morté aka Matt, Ego sum nex
Dragon's Fire Design: http://www.dragonsfiredesign.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mattdrake

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:15 AM

I always found the Florida version to be awesome enough, but then when I finally rode the original it just blew me away.
The drop on it seems deeper, darker, and is more of a surprise.

I thought DL's Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Tea Party, small world, and the dark rides (Toad, etc) were all better. As for the other two Mountains, and I may be in the minority here, I prefer the Florida versions.
DL also hands you Indiana Jones, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and a Main Street that's beyond adorable. I wish that park was closer.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:55 AM

Morté615 said:

There used to be a website by the same folks who made http://doombuggies.com for Pirates of the Caribbean but it seems to have disappeared :(

It still exists. http://www.tellnotales.com


Dave Dragon, go Dave Dragon, and the Star Force Five!

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 2:06 PM
Morté615's avatar

Yay! I was disappointing so glad to see it is still there. I was looking for Dead Men Tell No Tales and with the new movie it just gets buried in Google


Morté aka Matt, Ego sum nex
Dragon's Fire Design: http://www.dragonsfiredesign.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mattdrake

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Thursday, March 16, 2017 9:45 AM

In addition to extended length, drop and overall scale, the attraction's integration with Blue Bayou (the restaurant is literally inside the ride) creates - at least from what I've seen - one of the best theme park experiences anywhere. Disney at its best.

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