by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Ahoy, me hearties! Today, one of the most beloved attractions in Disney history, Pirates of the Caribbean, marks its 50th anniversary at Walt Disney World Resort! And to celebrate, we’re diggin’ in our Blog archive full o’ treasure to spy a few classic photos of the attraction in Magic Kingdom Park and more.

Pirates of the Caribbean construction at Magic Kingdom Park

As many of you know, Pirates of the Caribbean debuted at Florida’s Magic Kingdom Park in 1973 and was one of the park’s first major additions after its 1971 opening. Look closely at the first rare photo from our archives and you’ll see what future Disney World adventurers saw – the chance to sail the high seas with pirates “Opening Christmas 1973.”

Construction walls around the making of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Magic Kingdom Parks in 1973

Behind the walls in the image above, history was in the making at the spot where riders would board a weathered barge for a treacherous voyage to the 17th century when rowdy rogues and rapscallions ransacked Caribbean seaport towns.

Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom Park

Once the attraction opened, Disney World guests would find themselves sailing past Dead Man’s Cove, navigating cannon fire between a Caribbean fort, singing along with pirates to their anthem, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” and enjoying other unforgettable pirate experiences.

Walt Disney and an Imagineer working on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride

The first Pirates of the Caribbean attraction opened at Disneyland park in 1967. And as we shared here on the Disney Parks Blog a decade ago, it was one of the last attractions Walt personally oversaw the creation of back in the 1960s. It remains one of the most immersive attractions ever created for a theme park!

Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom Park

Of course, we’re just touching on some of the attraction’s history today but if you’re as big a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean as we are, then you’ll want to check out the Pirates of the Caribbean episode of the Original series “Behind the Attraction,” now streaming on Disney+.

Pirates of the Caribbean attraction

The Disney+ episode explores how Walt loved adventure stories, especially those that featured swashbuckling pirates. It features interesting stories like a look at how the attraction was initially conceived as a wax museum but technological advances convinced Walt that a more sophisticated attraction could be created using state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics figures.

A new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge is coming to Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park

Also, there’s more to come at Disney World with a first-of-its-kind experience that’ll extend the story of Pirates of the Caribbean. At Destination D23, we shared the exciting update that a special Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge is coming to Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park.

So, Pirates of the Caribbean fans – be sure to keep ye eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more on the new Disney World experience and other treasures in the future.

The Main Street Mouse