Inspired by the Disney film series, The Pirates of the Caribbean, the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride located at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris has become the favorite of many adventure-loving park-goers over the years. Originally developed at Disneyland, the ride takes passengers from the beginnings of a breezy boat trip to the depths of a pirates journey in search of damsels in distress and treasure.
However, even the most prideful of Disney lovers might not know everything there is to know about the ride. Here are 10 things you didn't know about The Pirates of the Caribbean.
10 There's an apartment on the second floor
Originally, the floor above the Pirates ride at Disneyland was meant to be an apartment made especially for Walt and Roy Disney to use for entertaining their friends or unwinding whenever they visited the park. Walt Disney passed away before it was ever finished, and Roy had decided later that he didn't want to use it himself.
Today, the space is used for entertaining VIP guests and was even turned into an art gallery for a time. Most people know it now as the "Disneyland Dream Suite," where guests can occasionally stay.
9 The ride received a bit of backlash at first
When the ride first opened, many guests and critics alike stated that Disney may have taken the idea of "Magic is real," a little too seriously. Many people said that the ride reflected the harsh reality of the pirate life and gave families with young children the wrong ideas. Some of the effects first put into place, such as a pirate lighting a town on fire also posed as a safety threat.
After many modifications, these things were changed, and the ride remains today. Though the pirate life may not be for everybody, what the ride does is remind passengers of the thrill of adventure, which is what everyone hopes to find on a trip to Disneyland.
8 Tony the Tiger just became a pirate
One thing that many frequent Disneyland goers may not know about the ride is that many of the voices of the characters that you can hear throughout the ride actually belong to professional voice actors. One of these actors is Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony the Tiger from the Frost Flakes commercials.
You can catch Ravenscroft's signature voice when you pass by the pirate hanging off the lamppost and also the pirate playing the accordion. See if you or your kids can recognize the voice the next time you ride by.
7 Real human bones were once part of the ride
Believe it or not, when the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was first being built, designers and creatives wanted the ride to mirror the scenes and sets of the movies. In an effort to do so, human skeletal remains and bones taken from the UCLA medical center were once used to decorate the scenery of the ride to make it look as realistic as possible.
Today, Disney has said they've returned all real human bones to UCLA and they are no longer present on the ride. Though not very in line with Disney's family-friendly branding, it seems pretty perfect for the pirate life.
6 This was the last ride Walt Disney personally supervised
Dedicated to every creative aspect of the building of his amusement park, The Pirates of the Carribean ride was the last ride that Walt Disney ever supervised. He was very committed and invested in working closely with artists and designers when building Disneyland, and the Pirates ride was no exception.
The original version of the ride was first opened in 1967, however, Walt passed away just three months before on December 15, 1966. His passion for creativity and drive to make the Disney magic feel real still lives on throughout the ride, as modifications are constantly made to it to make it as believable as possible.
5 New Orleans Square cost $15 million to build
First created at the original Disneyland, New Orleans Square is a themeland based on 19th-century Louisiana and sits in line with the aesthetic of the period of old-time pirates and adventurers. New Orleans Square is where the Pirates ride is located, and it cost $15 million to create ($8 million went to the ride's creation).
At the square, you can hear period music such as New Orleans jazz or enjoy classic foods like sourdough bread bowls for dinner after getting off of the Pirates ride. The three-acre square is exclusively located at Disneyland, but a similar setup can also be found in Adventureland Tokyo.
4 The ride was originally supposed to be a walk-through museum
When plans for a Pirates of the Caribbean ride were first brought up, it was originally planned to be a walk-through museum. It was going to be called the "Pirate Wax Museum," that extended from a large complex that designers aimed to call "Blue Bayou Mart."
Building for the ride began in 1961, but creative plans were put on hold while Walt Disney went to attend the New York World's Fair. After his time at the fair, he decided that the museum should be more of an interactive and intricate attraction. The idea of a boat ride and audio-animated pirates came directly from him.
3 The cannonballs are all just an illusion
At Disneyland and Disney World, both versions of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride feature a battle between a pirate ship and the town's fortress where both sides fire cannonballs in war. To keep everyone safe, Disney construction planners and designers decided against the use of real cannons and cannonballs very early on. So how do they make it look and sound so real?
The cannons move under fast flashes of light, and blasts from beneath the water passengers are riding their boat on give off the illusion that things have been launched into the air and are landing into the water below. Most recently, the effects of cannons blasting passengers with air have been added for the full effect.
2 Johnny Depp once posed as Jack Sparrow on the ride
In May 2017, Johnny Depp paid a visit to the Disneyland theme park and dressed up in full costume and make-up to sport his signature Jack Sparrow character. He stood on the platforms of the ride and posed with the automated pirates. Many passengers gasped at how realistic he looked, with one guest convinced, "That's a robot."
However, when Depp began moving and speaking directly to the ride-goers, many people were surprised and thrilled that the actor had brought his on-screen role to life. Though this was a way for Disney to promote the upcoming movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, it didn't go unnoticed that Depp had as much fun playing Sparrow on the ride as the guests did seeing him.
1 The ride is constantly updated to mirror the latest Pirates movies
Though built and constructed in the 1960s, what many people don't know about the Pirates ride is that it is constantly being renovated and redone as many more Pirates of the Caribbean movies are being made and released to theaters.
Over the years, the ride has experienced many modifications from set design to voice overs. In 2006, after the release of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, scenic changes were made to match the sets seen in the film. Automated mermaids were also added into the water at the Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom to mimic the ones in the movies. Next time you're on the ride, try to see how similar they look to the ones on screen!