This Day in History: Yo ho! Yo ho! It’s a Pirate’s Anniversary at Disneyland Park!

Blimey! Has it really been 44 years since Pirates of the Caribbean opened at Disneyland park? Well, me hearties, it’s true. This classic attraction has been a guest favorite since it opened on March 18, 1967. That’s when the dead men who “tell no tales” started talking. Opening day kicked off with pirates invading New Orleans Square, sword fights and some poor scallywag walking the plank.

The attraction is so popular that it inspired the “Pirates of the Caribbean” blockbuster movie series. Those films led to the 2006 addition of the Audio-Animatronics figures of Captain Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Captain Barbossa. There’s also a special effect image of Davey Jones.

This video will take you back in time and behind the scenes. You’ll see Walt Disney Imagineers installing the pirates and their hidden treasure in the first mega-scale indoor ride-through attraction at the park. (It’s also fun to see all those ‘60s hairstyles and clothes.) Enjoy!


  • I love watching these videos! I wish Disney would release more park specific DVD/BD content. The Walt Disney Treasures collections are fantastic, but I would like to know more about creation/history of the park.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean is the best ride at Disneyland hands down. Yo Ho Yo Ho a Pirates Life For Me!!!!

  • …sorry for the misspelling, I meant “Corina-” 🙂

  • Cornia–
    Actually, while its true that Leota Toombs is the face of Madame Leota, she is NOT the voice. The voice of Madame Leota is Eleanor Audley. 🙂
    Also, Leota Toombs is BOTH the face and voice of Little Leota.
    During Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland, her daughter is the face of Madame Leota.

  • for anyome who is actually mildly into this: the woman that you see working on the Pirate animatronic head at 00:05 in the clip is THE face AND voice of Madame Leota (the floating head in the crystal ball) in the Haunted Mansion!
    another little trivia, her actual name is Leota and after she passed away she got her own headstone (the one with the head that blinks in 1-2 minutes) in the waiting line.
    last bit of trivia, her daughter is the face and voice of Little Leota the mini bride that asks you to hurry back. 😀

  • Philip–
    I agree. Most of the ride is the same and still feels classic. The enhancements gave the ride a breath of fresh air. I love how the new additions blend in with what was already there.

  • Cory–I wouldn’t get your hopes up. I highly doubt that Jack Sparrow is going to get removed from the ride anytime soon. (If ever).

    The ride, (at least at Disneyland) did not get changed very much. It still has a classic feel. At Disneyland, most of the ride is the same as it always was. All of the enhancements blend in with what is already there.
    For example, the talking skull always mentioned Davey Jones even before the enhancements.

    So, at Disneyland, the imagineers clearly used a light touch with the changes. I’m fine with it. The ride still feels classic, because most things are the same and all of the new additions blend in with what was already there.

    I love Pirates of the Caribbean! 🙂

  • @ Brian, was the Monorail possibly in another location at that time? Perhaps it has been moved since then to go around the entire park. Could be…just a thought

  • Re: Claire and Cory, I respectfully disagree.

    The additions of Jack Sparrow, et al. made the ride so much better and keep it new and fresh. They don’t ruin it at all. The attraction is pretty much still the same and Jack and company are not going to be leaving the attraction anytime in the future anyway.

  • Yo ho! Yo ho!
    What a happy moment to build up Pirate of the Carribean! Just imaging~

    Will it be located in Shanghai Disney as well?

  • My very favorite attraction, and my daughter’s too. And yet, the word hasn’t completely spread — I’ll never forget a young fellow tugging on his dad’s arm to try to drag him into Pirates not too long before closing one night, and his dad said, “Nah, it’s just another boat ride,” and hauled his son away. My mouth dropped open in astonishment.

  • Sweet! I used to love this ride… Gorgeously spooky atmosphere in the caverns and rollicking fun in the town. I can’t wait until Jack Sparrow and company are removed so it can go back to its more original form!

  • …And one more thing 😉 ;

    the phrase “Dead men tell no tales” is still heard at the beginning of the ride in the grotto, that did not change.

  • …Also, as I understand it from watching that footage on an old tv special, the pirates attacking the Columbia was only done once, that one time. Members of the media were on board, and the pirates hijacked the ship to take them to the ride opening ceremony.

  • It should be noted that the previous audio of “Dead men tell no tales” at the END of the ride, was only added in a 1997 refurbishment. So when the ride originally opened in 1967, there was no moral message to the ride.

    Also, since the 2006 enhancements, the pirates in the chase scene are holding treasure, (not food anymore) and the women are chasing them to get the treasure back.

  • Mary from Santa Barbara, CA
    I love this ride!!! It has always been one of my favorites beside my youngest son’s favorite since he was 2 yrs old. Back in the mid 1990’s when I work for Disney I had the privilege meeting Harriet Burns who was one of the Imagineering Staff and the first female in Imagineering who work on all, the first rides for Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Paris Disney as well. She was telling me that the, would first design the rides in the back yard at Walt Disney’s home. I loved hearing her stories on how the parks got their start. Pirates of the Caribbean Happy 44th Anniversary and Imagineering Staff thanks for making this ride possible!!!

  • Happy Anniversary me Hearties! May your journeys continue to inspire and delight us for many generations to come! YO HO!

  • Jim, I agree. The women chasing the pirates was a change made prior to the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow, and I think it should be reversed.

  • Brian, the entrance to this attraction was remodeled several years ago to have the bridge area. This was done at the same time that the Indiana Jones attraction went in, as the line used to go to the side of the Pirates building; that area was built over when Indiana Jones was created. Prior to that, the bridge wasn’t there and the whole area was a flat line-up at the level of the entrance doors, with the ropes guiding you along from the front to the side and back and forth.

    I don’t know for sure about the monorail, but I believe that the picture shown is from the back of Pirates and that the monorail track is from what was the outside of the park at the time.

  • Yeah the pirates chasing the wenches scene was a lot better before where the wenches were getting chased until the end where the last one was chasing the guy. Much funnier. Oh and I miss the spiel in the middle of the ride and at the end. Dead men tell NO tales! The ones that do are UNDEAD not dead 😉

  • I miss the old attraction! I love the movies but the ride was so much better before! The whole moral of the story changed with the addition of Captain Jack.

    I LOVE the pirates boarding the Sailing Ship Columbia! That would be fantastic to see!

  • That video was great! More please!

  • Remember taking my first solo road trip after graduating from high school and took the ride several times the summer of ’67…I would like the state that it’s not believable that the “wenches” chase the pirates and it should be returned to the original as designed by Walt. Other than that I do appreciate the changes made to capitalize on the success of the “Jack Sparrow” character…but please change the circling chases to the pirates chasing the wenches…

  • Pirates used to board the Columbia? That’s fantastic! You have GOT to bring that back 🙂

  • Yo ho, yoho………… loved this ride then, love this ride now. I do however miss the distinct smell, as you would enter the ships firing scene. What was that? And why is it gone, now that it’s redone?

  • Yo ho, Yo ho a pirates life for me. … If you notice in the video that there is no line que on opening day… well the line que that goes under the bridge. Question: why is the monrail track in the shot on one of the construction photos?

  • Happy Anniversary to a ride so dear to my heart!! I got engaged while on the ride back in 2007 🙂

  • OMG I absolutely love this ride and haunted mansion. I have five daughters and last year we finally got to take three of them. I love Disneyland. The world thanks you Mr. Walt Disney…

  • I love this ride!

    And incidentally, I think that they did a great job with the enhancements in 2006. They used a light touch. The new additions blend in with what was already there. 🙂

  • Happy Anniversary! Definitely one of my favorite rides!:)

  • Happy Anniversary! Love this ride! 🙂

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