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Pirates of the Caribbean Marks 40 Years at Magic Kingdom Park

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


Pirates of the Caribbean, a guest-favorite attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, will mark its 40th anniversary at Magic Kingdom Park on Sunday, December 15.

The first Pirates of the Caribbean, which transports guests back to a Caribbean filled with pirate treasure, blasting cannons, swordfights and songs, opened at Disneyland park in 1967. The attraction debuted at Magic Kingdom Park in 1973, serving as one of the park’s first major additions after its 1971 opening.

Over the years, only a few changes have been made to the attraction here at Walt Disney World Resort, notably the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise in 2006. Villains Davy Jones and Black Beard were also added later on in the form of ghostly apparitions.

Did you know that Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the last attractions Walt Disney personally oversaw the creation of back in the 1960s? During planning, Walt constructed a team Walt Disney Imagineers that included (now Disney Legends) Claude Coats, Blaine Gibson, X. Atencio and Marc Davis. In honor of the attraction’s anniversary, check out the video clip above, in which Walt himself shares his excitement on plans for Pirates of the Caribbean.


  • I love this ride! And was so disappointed to see it is going down for rehab in Disneyland next year whe we are going to be there. Not a good way to mark the milestone.

  • That Disneyland 10th-anniversary episode is a great image of seeing Walt at work near the end playing with his favorite toy. (“Saving Captain Blackheart”?)
    Don’t think we ever got that “Walking the plank” scene in the final ride, though, did we? Or just in the west coast version?

  • My first role at the Walt Disney Resort, and one I remember fondly!

    Happy birthday to the most notorious crew who ever sacked the Spanish Main!

  • I loved that clip. The old clips of Walt are great. I already loved POTC but seeing him explain it gives me a renewed appreciation for it. Thank you!

  • I really love this ride but I hope that at some point in the future Disney World considers expanding it to match the quality of experience that the Disneyland ride offers.

  • Congratulations! I can’t wait to see these attractions restored (maybe for the 50th anniversary in Disneyland? *fingers crossed*).

  • Fascinating video. I learned even more about my very favorite attraction in any Disney park!

  • YOHO! Congrats on 4o years! I am glad they decided to build Pirates at wdw. It is one of my favorite rides!

  • Jennifer, do you think they deliberately set the opening date of December 15th to coincide with the anniversary of Walt’s passing? I’m thinking they did, but would love to hear a confirmation either way.

    Thanks! Great post!

  • I can’t believe it! I will be in the Magic Kingdom this Sunday!! Pirates is one of my favorite rides and I am so excited to be there on the 40th anniversary!

  • Another piece of interesting trivia about Pirates at the MK is that it was not in the original plans for the park. The Imagineers planned to build a different attraction called Western River Expedition in MK’s Frontierland. Due to guest demand, Pirates was built, and WRE was shelved. No good idea truly dies at Imagineering, and parts of WRE were incorporated into Big Thunder Mountain and Disneyland Paris.

  • I just love those old sequences with Walt. I would love to see the entire thing. Was that part of an old Wonderful World of Color?

  • proper refurb please!

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