Pirates Returns!

After a refurbishment that seemed to last forever, Pirates of the Caribbean has reopened at the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland!  Going to Disneyland without the most beloved attraction in Disney history was tough.  Pirates is the one attraction that I have to go on every time I visit the park.  Maybe I’m a bit too attached to what some people might call a “simple amusement park ride”, but it is so much more than that.  It is the single greatest attraction ever created and it showcases the talents of many including Walt Disney himself.  So come with me as I take you on a journey to the newly reopened Pirates of the Caribbean and I will describe to you some changes I noticed.

Back from Under the Tarps!


The first thing I noticed was how fresh and clean the talking skull now looks.  For the longest time, the talking skull had several spit balls on his hat.  Boy would I be mad if I saw some kid spitting spit balls at him!  Well, all of those balls of spit have been removed and he has been freshly repainted.  He looks great.

Pre-Refurbishment. Notice the Spitballs!


Once we enter the caves after the waterfall, I noticed that the cave looks better than ever.  For the last couple of years, there has been holes and wires showing and those are now all covered up and it looks great.

Inside the Caves


After the second waterfall, we come to the island full of skeletons.  Here I noticed some substantial changes.  First of all, the island itself has been re-sculpted on its edges.  The edges look steeper and natural sand no longer goes to the water’s edge.  It is now a carved surface, most likely to withstand waves of water crashing against it.

The skeletons themselves have been updated too.  The first skeleton we come upon has a new hat and eyepatch, along with a Jolly Roger flag.  The skeleton in the middle seems to be pretty much the same complete with his crab companion, but the skeleton with the sword through his chest has an all new skull.  It is a totally different sculpt than what had been used to.  The skull looks smaller and a little less lifelike.  He still looks great, however.  Also, this skeleton’s sword has been cut in half as if he were in an epic sword battle before his death.







Then we come to the Skeleton at the wheel.  He now sports a huge wig that looks like a 1980s Rock Star.  It’s a strange choice of hair, but his scene still looks amazing.



As we came upon the mist screen, I found another substantial change.  The mist screen now alternates between Davey Jones and Blackbeard.

Davey Jones Alternates With...




Our boats then slowly approached the cannonball fight and Barbossa’s animation is better than ever.  His body really exaggerates the words he is speaking and it’s great.  Barbossa also seems to have a bigger hat with a lot more feathers.



The next change came in the Auction scene.  It is pretty much exactly the same, except the Auctioneer seems to have a new paint job on his face that is just remarkable.  He looks so good.  The only thing that was kind of weird was that his head was down the whole time.  He doesn’t seem to be interacting with the pirates as much because it looks like he’s talking into his chest.  I’m sure that will be fixed one of these days.



The Pooped Pirate scene came up next and that tired old Pirate looks great.  He has a new wig of curly hair and a thick mustache.  I just wish he had his old hat with the long top.



The Original Pooped Pirate - Complete with Top Hat!


In the burning city, all of the pirates looked remarkable, except I noticed that one was missing.  The pirate that is leaning against a lamp post was gone and so was the lamp post!  What was even stranger was that his vocals were still being played.  I hope they are just refurbishing him.  I would hate for him to be gone permanently.  He is one of my favorites.

Where Could He Be?


I didn’t really notice any changes from then on until the final Jack Sparrow scene.  He looked pretty much the same, except much cleaner with a fresh coat of paint.  I’m really not impressed with that animatronic at all though.  It just doesn’t fit in with the other pirates and their exaggerated features.  How I miss the old Pirates…



As we go up the waterfall, we get one last word of warning and the audio now alternates between Davey Jones and Blackbeard like the mist screen earlier in the attraction.

When we finally disembark, a keen eye will notice one final change.  The unloading dock has been refurbished and expanded to help accommodate more handicapped people.

The Dock!


A few weeks before Pirates of the Caribbean reopened, a rumor was going around that mermaids from the fourth film would be added to the attraction.  I was upset by this as I think the attraction should stay away from film references.  Fortunately, it was only rumor and those mermaids never made an appearance.  So overall, this long refurbishment was worthwhile.  The Pirates look better than ever and the whole ride seems new and fresh.  So next time you are at Disneyland, ride Pirates and see what you think.  Let us know how you feel about these changes.

*A special thanks to Daveland for use of their pictures!*