Pros: great use of animatronics, calm ride for the whole family
Cons: darkness may scare some children, pressure to make this ride "PC"
Pirates of the Caribbean, located in the Adventureland section of the Magic Kingdom in Florida's Walt Disney World is one of the classic attractions of the parks. The ride was not in operation when the Magic Kingdom opened, but opened more than two years later in December 1973. It is another relatively tame boat ride (one small dip) that winds its way through a variety of indoor sets depicting scenes of pirates on an island in the Caribbean.
This is one of the rides that I have a memory of going on when my parents took me back when it first opened. Only 7 at the time, I can so distinctly remember seeing the cannon ball effects in the water - it made such a lasting impression on me.
The Imagineers (Disney's term for the creative forces at work who dream up these wonderful attractions) who created this ride did an amazing job with the animatronics. The details in the movement of the pirates and other human figures are incredible. Even more amazing are the small animals such as cats and dogs that complement each scene. This ride is a must for repeat rides. Every time I ride it I see new details to appreciate.
Every time I've taken my kids on it, they come out singing "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate's life for me.." which is the song accompanying this attraction. They really enjoy it as well, since it really romanticizes pirates in a way we don't usually see anymore. Their lives come off looking rowdy and fun.
Disney has been under pressure recently to make this ride "Politically Correct" by eliminating the scene of the bride auction in particular. Now, while I would never advocate someone using such a method to find a spouse, this is a scene that does have a place in history. The men screaming "We want the redhead" is a sore point with some groups, but it's all in fun - lighten up!
Part of this attraction's dialog was already cleaned up to make some people happy, I don't want any more taken away from it. The next scene was also changed from the men chasing the women to the other way around. While this gives the ride a more light-hearted tone, I think it's unfortunate that some people feel the need to make everything succumb to revisionist history.
As you leave the attraction, there is a gift shop offering a wide variety of merchandise related to the attraction, as well as pirate merchandise in general. This was the first attraction to empty into a gift shop, a practice which has become common not just at Walt Disney World, but in many other amusement parks throughout the world.
A Parrot's Life for Me
Fun Facts about Pirates of the Caribbean
© 2001 Patti Aliventi