First the theme park attraction inspired the movie — now the movie is inspiring the attraction.
Pirates of the Caribbean, the classic Disney theme park adventure brought to the big screen in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, is adding new characters and features from the blockbuster entertainment franchise and debuting when the next adventure begins in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
Both the Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will close the attraction in March to complete the updates in time for the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on July 7. The attraction will re-open at Disneyland on June 24 and in Florida’s Magic Kingdom on July 7.
The attraction will feature the addition of two of Hollywood’s most infamous buccaneers, Captain Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Barbossa. Joining the wildest crew that ever sacked the Spanish Main, Captain Jack and Barbossa add an exciting new twist to the attraction’s original storyline as they race to be the first to claim a cache of plundered treasure.
“Successfully adding the popular characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean films with the mythology of our classic attraction is an example of Disney synergy and Walt Disney Imagineering at its finest,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “These additions will result in an exciting new chapter for the attraction and an unforgettable experience for our guests, giving them another reason to come and be a part of our continuing 50th anniversary celebration.”
Woven into some of the attraction’s most memorable scenes, the rival swashbucklers will be seen interacting with some of the more familiar Audio-Animatronics buccaneers found inside the ride-thru adventure. Also making a guest appearance is the ghostly Davy Jones from the second movie in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. But new characters are only the beginning. New special effects will also be added to enhance the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme park experience.
“The creative legacy of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ has come full circle with the attraction initially inspiring our highly successful film franchise and now the films inspiring exciting additions to the attraction itself,” said Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. “The attraction enhancements capture the same spirit, swashbuckling humor and action that moviegoers loved in the first ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ which will continue with the highly anticipated new tales this summer and beyond.”
Created under the direct creative supervision of Walt Disney himself, Pirates of the Caribbean is the quintessential Disney theme park adventure, a swashbuckling voyage that transports guests back to the days when pirates and privateers roamed the Spanish Main. Starring a comical cast of rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves, the world-famous attraction sends guests of all ages on a boat ride through mysterious caverns where “Dead men tell no tales” and then into a colonial era Caribbean seaport under siege by a band of fun-loving pirates. The attraction’s jaunty theme song, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” sets the show’s light tone with its tongue-in-cheek depiction of high-seas lawlessness.
The original incarnation of Pirates of the Caribbean premiered on March 18, 1967, in New Orleans Square at Disneyland in California. Featuring more than 120 Audio-Animatronics performers, lavishly decorated sets and special effects, it’s considered to be one of the most spectacular and enduring attractions ever created for a theme park. With its setting revised slightly to fit a Caribbean Plaza location in Adventureland, the attraction opened to guests at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on December 15, 1973. More than 500 million people have experienced the rollicking fun of Pirates of the Caribbean in California and Florida over the past 39 years.
“Enhancing the classic Pirates attractions with new characters and new technology will ensure their relevance and place in Disney theme parks as timeless adventures,” said Tom Fitzgerald, senior creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering. “We’re adding a layer of storytelling from the films to the attraction while retaining all the familiar elements that make it vibrant and exciting for every age group.”
The Pirates of the Caribbean additions are one part of the “Happiest Celebration on Earth,” an 18-month salute (continuing through 2006) to 50 years of Disney park magic around the globe that started with the opening of Walt Disney’s original park, Disneyland, in 1955.