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HISTORY

    Originally intended to be a walk through attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean evolved out of the technological advances made by Disney imagineers and the ingenuity of Walt Disney himself.  A new expansion was being designed for Disneyland, it would be called New Orleans Square.  A sophisticated themed land to compliment the high energy of fantasy land and tomorrow land. 

    With limited space the plans called for two attractions and a restaurant.  The attractions included The Haunted House (later to be named the Haunted Mansion) and The Rouges Gallery.  The Rouges Gallery was a wax museum planned to utilize "basement" space underneath New Orleans Square.  Visitors would walk through a self guided tour viewing various pirates and scenes. 

    What wasn't considered in the planning was the growth factor that Disneyland was experiencing.  A walk through attraction would be limiting in that it would only accommodate a small number of guests at any given time.  In addition the park would have no control over the speed at which these guests would view the attraction leaving the possibility for congestions to occur.

    A new vision called for an attraction that steadily carried guests through the attraction by some mode of transport.  In the early 1960's Walt Disney and company took venture at the 1964 New York Worlds Fair contributing to 4 attractions:  Progressland (Now called The Carousel of Progress found in WDW's tommorowland), The sets and scenes for The Magic Highway (a Ford sponsored ride through), Great moments with Mr. Lincoln, and of course It's a Small World.  Then answer to the guest transport problem would be found by using the same boats used for Its a Small World. .  These boats propelled by air cannon propulsion and roller system were designed originally by Arrow Manufacturing based in Mountain View California.

    Also at the New York World's Fair WED enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) created the first Audio-Animatronic  character.   The “Magic Skyway,” was Walt Disney's 12-minute Audio-Animatronics journey from the pre-historic era into the space age.  Marc Davis was one of the primary creators of this new entertainment technology and would go on to use his talents for Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.  In actuality the technology of Audio-Animatronics began with the Enchanted Tiki room, however it wasn't until the 1964 Worlds Fair that a human animated figure was made possible... that attraction was Great moments with Mr. Lincoln. 

    A second building was added to the plan to accommodate the space needed for the ride.  Audio-Animatronic figures were used to their fullest potential to make for a total immersing entertainment experience.  And in early 1967 Pirates of the Caribbean opened to wow guests in a manner that only Disney magic can conjure up.  The rest is history... here are a few more facts about the ride:

  • This was the last theme park attraction that Walt Disney worked on. 
  • The character design for the majority of the pirates and villagers was done by Marc Davis.  His wife Alice designed some of the costumes.
  • Set work for Pirates was designed by Claude Coats.
  • The reason for the drops at the start of the ride is due to the fact that the majority of the ride exists outside of the Magic Kingdom Railroad perimeter.

 


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