Both stateside Disney resorts, Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, have an iteration of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Many similarities connect these two attractions, but there are many differences that make them separately enjoyable.
With the news of Disneyland’s version set to close on March 14 for an indefinite amount of time, Walt Disney World’s version will be the only operational version in North America. Note: there are also versions of this iconic attraction at Shanghai Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris.
No doubt that the attraction is a staple of the Disney parks, but which one in North America is better? I’ll be pleading my case here for the Disneyland version.
Full disclosure: I live about 40 minutes from Walt Disney World, have been an Annual Passholder for nearly twenty years, and worked at Walt Disney World for a time. I have only been to Anaheim’s Disneyland six times in my lifetime.
Disneyland’s version opened in 1967 in the New Orleans Square section of the park. Like the Walt Disney World version, which opened in 1973, the attraction follows a similar storyline. Pirates plunder and sing about their conquests. Additions of Johnny Depp’s infamous Jack Sparrow have been added at both parks. The Redhead is now a villainous pirate lady in both versions due to a change in storyline being her from prize to pirate.
However, the Disneyland version is the superior of the two attractions for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, it is longer and more immersive. There are several more drops in the Disneyland version as well whereas the Magic Kingdom version just has the one drop.
Allegedly, there were originally human skeletons used on the Disneyland attraction due to the technology of skeleton making at the time. Therefore, Disney procured some of the remains from UCLA. As for now, Disney claims that all real skeletal remains have been removed from the attraction. That just ups the creepiness factor of the attraction.
There is also a restaurant stationed inside the attraction called, Blue Bayou. This restaurant overlooks the loading area and beginning part of the attraction before the first drop. It boasts a delicious Monte Crisco sandwich and beautiful surroundings. Reservations for this restaurant are highly recommended.
The Disneyland version has an extensive beginning to the attraction complete with scenes of skeletal pirates and jewels of conquest as opposed to the shorter version in Florida. After the drop, you are brought to the same scene of Barbossa firing from his ship. This part of the ride is nearly identical to the Florida iteration.
Walt Disney had a hand in the construction of the Pirates attraction in Disneyland as well. It opened after his death, but it was his idea to make it a boat based attraction based on the success of It’s a Small World. Apparently, Pirates was supposed to be like a wax museum of sorts, but Walt imagined it differently. The nostalgia factor of Walt’s touch on this attraction must raise the likability of this version as well.
In the end, I know I am not alone in this belief that the Disneyland version of Pirates of the Caribbean far exceeds its sister attraction at the Magic Kingdom. With news of its indefinite closure, I am saddened to know that if I was going to Disneyland any time soon, I would not be able to partake in the experience. It’s usually a ride that I never miss when I visit Disneyland.
Here is a ride through video from Laughing Place if you would like to see the differences:
What are your thoughts? Is the Disneyland version of Pirates of the Caribbean the superior stateside version of the attraction? Let us know in the comments.
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