In 1966 Disneyland debuted its first new land since the park opened in 1955 with New Orleans Square. Inspired by New Orleans of the 1800s, it features gorgeous wrought iron, convincing forced perspective, and originally was going to feature a larger in-park apartment for Walt Disney.
From 1966 until 1996 there was the One-of-a-Kind Shop, which offered unique antiques for Guests to purchase.
The shop space today is known as Port Royale, and sells Nightmare Before Christmas and Haunted Mansion souvenirs.
At the time of opening Guests just roamed the crooked alleys of New Orleans Square with no attractions to ride, and had to wait until 1967 to set sail on Pirates of the Caribbean.
You may notice there isn’t a bridge in front of Pirates. That didn’t arrive until 1987, which also then allowed access to the new Disney Gallery, which opened the same year in the space above Pirates that was originally going to be Walt Disney’s new apartment, but with Walt’s passing in 1966, the plans for his apartment were abandoned. The Disney Gallery (one of my favorite places in Disneyland) closed in 2007 and became the Disneyland Dream Suite. Recently it closed and the area is now home to 21 Royal.
The next big change for Pirates of the Caribbean came in 1997. Originally three pirates chased women for what many assumed were less than gentlemanly reasons. A fourth, older pirate with a beard, was chased by a larger woman. Two of the pairings were changes so that the women now chased the pirates, but the pirates were laden with food and the women given items such as brooms, implying the pirates were stealing food. The larger woman chasing the pirate was only changed to feature her holding a rolling pin and the pirate with a tray of food. One pairing remained with a pirate chasing a maiden, although she carries a tray of beer, so it implies he is after the beer. In between all of the chasing a large pirate sat near a barrel, a pink petticoat in his hand, and a woman popped in and out of the barrel behind him. He was very clear in his unsavory intentions, lamenting about a woman who disappeared, and how he would like “to hoist me colors on the likes of that shy little wench” and that he “be willin’ to share” if she is found! Yikes! Don’t believe me? Listen here! He was known as the “Pooped Pirate” and in 1997 became the “Gluttonous Pirate” when the petticoat was swapped for a chicken leg, and the woman replaced by a cat, and he talked about food.
In 2006, after the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, elements from the films were integrated, such as Jack Sparrow, Barbossa, Davy Jones, and several audio changes, including another change to the former “Pooped Pirate” where he now holds a key and a map, and speaks of thinking Jack Sparrow will never find the treasure, little does he know Jack Sparrow in the barrel behind him.
This year, Pirates saw yet another change, with the alteration of the auction scene. Since 1966 the pirates had, literally, roped the town’s women, including a vivacious redhead, into being auctioned off, and pirates leered and yelled “We wants the redhead!” But today the pirates now force the townsfolk to auction off their goods such as clocks, paintings, and chickens. The redhead is now a pirate, and the men now shout “We wants the rum!”
After disembarking from Pirates of the Caribbean, guests could visit the Pirates Arcade, where there was a machine to purchase a variety of postcards featuring concept art from the attraction.
In 1963, three years before New Orleans Square even opened, the exterior of the Haunted Mansion was completed. It sat empty until 1969 when it finally opened to Guests. Sadly I have very few Haunted Mansion postcards.
Next time we will blast off into the future with Tomorrowland.