Pros: Great theme, fun soundtrack, nice queue area with fast-moving line, realistic pirates/animals
Cons: May scare some children, boats sometimes get bunched up at the end
Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the best-loved Disney World attractions. It has inspired the recent (and very good) movie starring Johnny Depp, and the theme song A Pirates Life for Me can be heard throughout all the theme parks and resorts. This attraction is located in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom.
The Pirates of the Caribbean queue does not use FASTPASS, so you will definitely have to wait in line. However, I think this was a good choice because the waiting area is one of my favorites at the park, and the line moves rather quickly. I have rarely encountered a wait of more than twenty minutes in recent years.
Guests enter into a Spanish style pavilion, and will make their way through a dungeon to board. If you have a minute, check out the talking and singing parrot at the buildings entrance. He sits on a sign above the attraction. The waiting area is always very cool and comfortable on a hot summer day. You can look through peepholes and windows to view various cannons and other artillery equipment. Slowly, the queue circles downward. Eventually, you will arrive at a boat dock where guests board 15 passenger boats. Between 2-4 people are seated in each row, depending on age and party size. And then off you go!
Yo ho ho!
The first scene of the ride takes the boats past some eerie skeletons on a beach, and at least one of which looks to be the victim of foul play. A voice in the background repeats over and over again, Dead men tell no tales. It actually took me a while to figure out what the voice is saying, but thats what it is. The wind blows, and ships go down a short drop in the dark, which is actually only 14 feet long. Parents might want to warn children this is coming, because I remember when I was young being frightened and thinking that there would be more, deeper, drops after this. Thats the only one, though, and its very mild.
At the bottom of the drop, the boats travel between two large ships firing cannons at each other, and then into a Caribbean town under attack by pirates. The Pirates Life for Me song plays in the background as the boats sail by dozens of scenes of audio-animatronic pirates ramsack the town. You will see drunk pirates singing in front of a burning building, an auction of some of the women the pirates have taken captive, and a man taken hostage and being dunked in a well by the pirates.
Although these scenes sound violent and graphic, somehow the attraction manages to stay all in good fun. These are some of Disneys best animatronic figures, and there is so much going on that the ride has a very high repeat value. The animated animals are particularly impressive. You can see a pig wallowing in the mud with a drunken pirate, and a cat hissing at a pirate who attempts to convince her to drink from his beer mug. My favorite is the dog in the jail scene who is not at all interested in giving the keys to the men in the cell.
My only complaint about the whole attraction is that the boats have a tendency to get bunched up at the end. Often I have been stuck near the ride's final scene for several moments in a pile-up of sorts. On one hand, it is nice to have a couple extra minutes to look around, on the other it kind of disrupts the flow of the attraction.
Suitability for children
Although this is a fun ride and a Disney classic, parents should explain to kids that the ride will be in the dark and have a small drop. I dont remember being afraid of the pirates as a child, I think the concept that pirates were scary went right over my head because of the fun music and atmosphere. However, a friend I was with cried the whole time after the skeletons at the beginning and the small drop. The ride is dark inside, so these are things to keep in mind. I would rate the intensity of the whole experience as more child friendly than, for example, Maelstrom in Norway at Epcot or the Haunted Mansion.
In a marketing move common with many attractions, Pirates dumps guests out inside a gift shop with merchandise relating to the ride. As gift shops go, though, I actually enjoy this one as it offers some items unavailable elsewhere. There is a nice assortment of pirate accessories ranging from hats and bandanas to swords. The shop now features tie in merchandise to the recently released Pirates movie as well.
Good to Know
-This ride lasts about nine minutes.
-Pirates of the Caribbean is wheelchair accessible.
-Handheld Captioning devices are available for this attraction.
This is a wonderful, not to be missed Disney classic and fun for the whole family, provided your little one can handle a few skeletons. The line is fast-moving, and the queuing area is cool and comfortable. I look forward to visiting the Disneyland version one day, which is supposed to be even better!
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