Located in Adventureland, Pirates of the Caribbean: Treasures of the Seven Seas opened on December 15, 1973, at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The original attraction made its debut at Disneyland in 1967. It is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential theme park attractions ever constructed. The ride is equally famous for its signature song “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” written by Xavier Atencio and George Bruns.
When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, guests were both surprised and disappointed to discover there was no Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Due to Florida’s close proximity to the Caribbean and the area’s rich pirate history, Disney didn’t anticipate the interest in a pirate attraction from its East Coast guests. Therefore, to meet demand, the Magic Kingdom’s version of Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1973 with an elaborate queue but a shorter ride time and without several scenes and elements from Disneyland’s version.
The entrance to the indoor ride is through a Caribbean-style watchtower named Torre del Sol, said to be part of a golden Spanish fort called Castillo Del Morro. Disney Imagineers took inspiration for the building from El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico. All pictures by Seth Kubersky
Aboard the ride, guests sail back in time where pirates raid a town and wreak all kinds of havoc. The ride experience is, for the most part, that of a slow-moving boat ride where guests take in the detailed sets and the antics of audio-animatronic pirates. Little kids might find the queuing area slightly intimidating. The ride has some gruesome sights, though humorously presented, and there is a short, unexpected slide down a flume. The ride time spans around 7½ minutes.
In 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, debuted in theaters to great acclaim and success. The film, inspired by the classic attraction, launched a franchise that then re-inspired the attraction when Disney began to incorporate the film’s characters into the ride’s show scenes in 2006.
This change was not the first or the last for the attraction. Despite its popularity and influence in the theme park world, it has long been a problematic attraction because it is about pirates and their actions. Through the years, Disney has altered specific scenes and characters that were considered inappropriate. For instance, in a scene where pirates once chased women, women now chase the pirates.
The most significant change occurred in 2018 when the famous auctioneer scene was changed from pirates auctioning women to now auctioning hens; and the famous “redhead” that was once being auctioned off is now a pirate herself named “Redd.”
To see if this ride is for you, check out the full POV of Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World.
So far, four more movies have been made: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017). The popularity of the attraction has soared to new heights ever since. There have been rumors of a sixth installment for a while now, but so far the tale has not materialized.
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids.