Pirates of the Caribbean has always ranked among our family's favorite rides at Walt Disney World. When they decided to make a movie based on this attraction, we were so excited to see it! Johnny Depp was brilliant as Captain Jack Sparrow in the film, but Sparrow was still nowhere to be found in the classic version of the theme park ride. So Disney updated the magic!
Last month we spent 2 days at the parks, working through Epcot and MGM Studios the first day, and then devoting our second day to The Magic Kingdom, overall my favorite park. Lines weren't bad, so our family went on the newly re-opened, refurbished Pirates of the Caribbean twice in a row! Loyalists to all things Disney can relax. Some avid fans were concerned that updating the ride to include the movie characters would detract from Walt's vision. Not so! Wasn't "Innovention" what Walt was all about, me hearties? I think he would have been proud of the meshing of tradition and modern characters.
Our entry into the ride started as it always does, with our goofy family skipping into the line singing the popular theme song, "A Pirate's Life for Me" -- yes, if you ever see a corny group of six doing this, it's probably us. "Drink up, me hearties, yo-ho!" Lines were short, so a quick hop into the boats and we were off. As a side note, the lines for this ride are not usually long at all, unless the park is jammed packed, so if you see it's busy, maybe come back around to it later in the day for a shorter wait.
Davy Jones, a scurvy seaman who is pursuing Captain Jack in the 2nd of the "Pirates" film trilogy, greets new sailors with a warning. The special effects here are fantastic -- not like anything I have ever seen. I will not spoil it for you, but Walt would have been so proud of his Imagineers! It was really an amazing experience.
"Dead Men Tell No Tales" is the first segment of the ride, which showcases pirates who are now done with any plundering and adventure -- it's a tad dark and there are spooky skeletons, but nothing too bad. Our kids are fine on this ride -- our youngest has ridden on it since he was 3 and never got scared.
The famous scene of the pirate ship bombing the town is next, updated now to match the film. Salty old Captain Barbosa is in charge of the attack on Port Royal. Sounds and lights have been rewired for better theatrics, and it's very well done. Charges of light and water sprays go off around your own vessel, but it's all part of the magic and is completely safe (and dry).
Sailing on, we see that the pirates have made landfall, and are hunting for our friend Jack Sparrow in the town. Do you see him hiding? I won't tell where he is! Meanwhile, further on other pirates are auctioning off the women of the town. "No rum, only gold!" proclaims the auctioneer to the greedy men trying to barter for one.
During your voyage, you'll also see some drunken sailors singing -- along with a donkey who got into the booze, too! There's a pirate who sleeps with the pigs -- a scene you've seen in the film that was borrowed from the ride. And who can forget the hopeful fellows who are trying to goad the jail guard dog into bringing them the keys to their cell, which he carries on a ring? But the town is burning now, and the hunt is still on for Jack. He's right under Barbosa's nose, but in a new hiding place!
Will Barbosa catch the elusive Sparrow? Or will Jack's luck hold, so he can make a getaway with the booty? You'll just have to visit the Pirates of the Caribbean yourself and find out! But keep an eye out for the last turn of the ride, which has been completely refurbished to capture the spirit of the new film trilogy. It's very amusing!
Always a favorite and a classic pirate adventure, the recent but subtle changes to this ride do nothing but add to the fun. Don't forget to stop by the souvenir shop on your way out to check out the pirate loot!
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