Forty-four years ago, Disneyland opened up the waters of the Caribbean to those brave enough to come face to face with pirates. Yes this day, 44 years ago Pirates of the Caribbean opened in Disneyland.
Originally, Pirates was suppose to be a walk-through attraction with wax figures, that also included vampires and voodoo, as outlined in very early notes for the New Orleans Square expansion. This later turned to more of a pirate centric attraction after Marc Davis had a conversation with Disney, but still maintained the idea that it would be a walk-through attraction that would be located underneath the new land. But in typical Disney tradition, it would not be all that passive, and the figures would be displayed in detailed scenes including a tavern, burning seaport among other locations. But then Disney decided he would like to incorporate movement, akin to what was going on in The Jungle Cruise and the Mine Train Though Nature’s Wonderland. The idea would reach new heights after the debut of Audio-Animatronics through The Enchanted Tiki Room and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
The projects for New Orleans Square (and most notibly the Haunted Mansion) were put on hold again as Disney shifted his focus to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. For the World’s Fair Disney shared his vision of the world with the boat-ride It’s a Small World. This ride gave the Pirates attraction exactly what it was missing and added a lot to the ride’s atmosphere. Heading up the design for the ride and its motley crew was legendary artist and Imagineer Marc Davis who also teamed up with Claude Coats to bring the ride to life. X Atencio also joined to write the lyrics for the now beloved song “Yo Ho” which was then teamed up with George Bruns music.