Today In Disney History ~ June 26th
Pirates of the Caribbean is a dark ride at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Park in Paris. The original version at Disneyland, which opened in 1967, was the last attraction whose construction was overseen by Walt Disney; he died three months before it opened. The ride, which tells the story of a band of pirates and their troubles and exploits, was replicated at the Magic Kingdom in 1973, at Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, and at Disneyland Paris in 1992. Each of the initial four versions of the ride has a different façade, but a similar ride experience. A reimagined version of the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, opened at the Shanghai Disneyland Park in 2016.
The ride gave rise to the song “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” written by George Bruns and Xavier Atencio. It also became the basis for the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, which debuted in 2003. Since 2006, Disney has incorporated characters from the film series into the Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the rides.
The Disneyland version was the last attraction that Walt Disney himself participated in designing; it opened on March 18, 1967, three months after his death. It was originally envisioned as a walk-through wax museum attraction; however, with the success of the boat ride concept of It’s a Small World at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Disney decided to employ a similar concept on Pirates of the Caribbean. It is located within the New Orleans Square portion of Disneyland, its facade evoking antebellum era New Orleans, topped by a 31-star United States flag (which would indicate the 1850s). The ornate initials of Walt Disney and Roy Disney (W.D. and R.D.) can be seen entwined in the wrought iron railings above the attraction’s entrance at Disneyland. An overhead sign at the boat dock names it for the famous pirate Jean Lafitte (although his name is spelled Laffite as the pirate himself originally spelled it, rather than with the English spelling which has now become standard), who fought alongside the U.S. Army at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. The second floor of the facade was originally designed to be a private Disney family apartment. Instead it later opened in spring 1987 as an art-related retail/museum space called the Disney Gallery until late 2007 when it was replaced by the Disneyland Dream Suite. The opening of The Disney Gallery in 1987 also coincided with the attraction’s outside queue area being completely redone to improve traffic flows. A bridge walkway was built in front of the attraction entrance to allow crowds to pass through New Orleans Square without causing traffic jams with the guests waiting in line for the attraction. The original installation at Disneyland was manufactured by Arrow Development. The attraction’s passenger carrying boats are very similar to those in a patent assigned to Walt Disney Productions, but filed by Edgar A. Morgan, one of the founders of Arrow Development. Arrow participated in the design and development of many attractions at Disneyland from 1953. The Blue Bayou Restaurant within the ride opened the same day as the attraction, and is considered one of the original theme restaurants.
TMSM Today in Graphic by Sherry Rinaldi DeHart; Wiki
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