Pirates within the Disney Archives

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Disneyland attraction Pirates of the Caribbean. And with that, the Walt Disney Archives decided that their exhibit at D23 would be dedicated to pirates of all sorts! From early shorts to the latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. And since this was an amazing exhibit, thar be plenty o’ pictures ahead! Ye been warned!

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Pirates Turns 50!

Over the weekend Disneyland’s beloved attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean turned 50. Yes, believe it or not, the pirates have been pillaging and plundering for a whole half of a century and the attraction has been reimagined across the globe. To celebrate, I whipped up a Pirates parasol featuring the mural of Anne Bonny and Mary Read that is painted on the walls of the attraction shortly after entering. I have a soft spot for these ladies, as they were pretty bad ass, and I wrote a paper about them in high school. You can learn about these amazing women with this article written by one of my favorite historians, Karen Abbott. I also wore a pirate inspired ensemble for the occasion.

I feel like an anniversary such as this is a wonderful occasion to talk about the history of the attraction. Could you ever imagine Pirates of the Caribbean without riding in those little boats? It just seems perfect, doesn’t it? Well, it was almost a plain ol’ wax museum! But by 1963, the wax museum was put on the back burner as Walt Disney looked ahead to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, where he committed to building four attractions, all of would find homes at Disneyland after the closing of the World’s Fair. They were Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, “it’s a small world”, the Magic Skyway with Ford Motor Company, where guests rode in a new Mustang and witness the progression of history, and this included the Primeval World that would land along the Disneyland Railroad after, and the Carousel of Progress, which left Disneyland in 1973, but still exists in Walt Disney World. But it was “it’s a small world” and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln that really changed the game for Pirates. The success of the boats in “it’s a small world” meant that an ocean voyage type ride was possible. And President Lincoln was the first successful human Audio-Animatronic, leading to giving these would be static pirates, a life all their own!

The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction has seen a series of changes over the years. In 1997 many of the “sexist” elements were changed. Originally pirates chased women, with the exception of a larger woman chasing a scrawny older pirate, this changed to the women chasing the pirates, and the pirates had armfuls of food, to make it seem they were stealing. There was another pirate, dubbed the “Pooped Pirate”, who held a piece of woman’s clothing, and a woman popping out of a barrel behind him. The pirate said some rather lewd things, and he too got a more PC makeover. He became the “Gluttonous Pirate” holding a chicken leg, and a cat replaced the woman. He then talked about how full he was. But after the massive success of the 2003 film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, based on the attraction, film characters such as Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa joined the attraction in 2006. And the “Gluttonous Pirate” receive yet another change, Jack replaced the cat, and the chicken leg was replaced with a map, and then the pirate shared how excited he was to have the treasure map, and how Jack will never get his hands on it. Captain Jack joined some other scenes, Captain Barbossa takes the helm of the large pirate ship that is firing its cannons, Davy Jones speaks to Guests through a waterfall, and other lines in the attraction have seen change to accommodate a Jack Sparrow plot.

To learn more about Pirates of the Caribbean, I highly recommend the book Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies by Jason Surrell.

Below you’ll find one of my favorite videos about Pirates, from the Wonderful World of Disney, it gives you a behind the scenes look at the creation of the attraction, its opening day festivities, and a float through, so you can see the original scenes that have since changed.

Pirate Hat: Target (during Halloween)
Blouse: Buffalo Exchange
Skirt: Pinup Girl Clothing
Shoes: Re-Mix
Earrings: Aquanetta
Brooch: I honestly don’t remember…
Rings: Belonged to my grandmother
Parasol: Made by Me

Family Disneyland Pictures

Recently I was granted permission from my dad to begin scanning our family’s large slide collection.  The first carousel I took back to Portland with me was one marked “Disneyland ’79 & ’81”. How could I resist? Also, we are going to Disneyland in a month! So I’m getting pretty excited!

While I don’t think I’ll be sharing too many family photos, I simply had to share these ones from Disneyland! Especially since they contain images of lost attractions.  So sit back and enjoy a trip back in time to Disneyland in the late 1970s and early 80s along with a little history lesson here and there on changes…

Loads of pictures after the cut!

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Yo Ho! Yo Ho!

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.

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Disneyland: Then and Now

Yesterday I returned home from a week long trip to California. Three of those days were spent at the always enjoyable Disneyland. My family has a long history of attending Disneyland. My dad actually went opening week, and I’ve been so often that I know how to get around without a map.

The three days in the park were some of my best yet, the longest line I stood for was 45-50 minutes, which was for Roger Rabbit in Toontown, followed by 35 minutes for the new Submarine Voyage, featuring the cast from Finding Nemo.There are endless topics about Disneyland, and this is the first in at least two entries about Disneyland.

Disneyland: Then and Now

Disneyland welcomes its first guests in 1955In Walt Disney’s Opening Day speech, he said “Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination in the world”. That phrase has held true, and for the past fifty-four years, Disneyland has been under constant change. The first big changes happened in 1959, with the additions of the Monorail, the motor boat cruise, Skyway, Fantasyland Autopia, Matterhorn, and Submarine Voyage. And in 1967, New Orleans Square opened, with the new attraction Pirates of the Caribbean, and in ’69, the Haunted Mansion finally opened its doors, after standing empty since 1963. Tomorrowland has gone through the most changes, with total remodels and additions and removals of attractions. Adventureland has even had it’s fair share of change.  The Jungle Cruise has seen a few additions, Indiana Jones joined the adventure, and the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse turned into Tarzan’s. Frontierland got rid of the slow moving mine train and pack mules, and Big Thunder Railroad replaced it, offering up “the wildest ride in the wilderness!” Fantasyland saw more rides, and an facade facelift in 1983, just before the ’84 summer Olympics. I could go on and on about Disneyland history, but today I would like to talk about the most recent changes made to Disneyland…

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