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Disney World Prepares to Overhaul Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction

pirates of the caribbean ride
Credit: Disney

Pirates of the Caribbean is gearing up to make a major shift at Walt Disney World Resort, and we have the latest news on all of the changes that the ride is about to see.

A wax figure of captain jack sparrow peering from behind a barrel next to a character with a wide-brimmed hat, resembling a scene from a pirate-themed setting.

Credit: Polygon, X

Walt Disney World’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction holds a special place in the park’s history. It actually predates the $4.5 billion film franchise we know today! The ride first set sail in 1973, and while it was not an opening day attraction due to The Walt Disney Company thinking Floridians would not want a Caribbean attraction due to their already hot climate, it was quickly proven that the East Coast wanted a ride similar to what Walt Disney worked on for Disneyland.

The inclusion of Pirates of the Caribbean stemmed from Walt Disney’s own fascination with pirates and swashbuckling tales. He envisioned a ride that would transport guests to a world of adventure on the high seas.

Fast-forward to the 2000s, when the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise exploded in popularity. To capitalize on this newfound obsession with all things pirate-related, Disney incorporated Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), the films’ quirky and iconic protagonist, into the ride in 2006. This addition breathed new life into the classic attraction, seamlessly blending the original storyline with elements from the movies. Jack Sparrow’s inclusion not only boosted the ride’s popularity but also established a delightful synergy between the theme park attraction and the blockbuster films.

The auctioneer in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort holding a whip in his hand with a woman from the town holding a hen and a basked of eggs and a pirate beside him

Credit: Ed Aguila

During the Halloween season, guests have gotten used to seeing the ride change yet again.

During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, guests who ride Pirates of the Caribbean have been surprised in the past with live actors and performers hidden within the queue and the ride itself. These actors fit into the storyline and interact with guests as they head towards the attraction. Since this is not something that we get to see often, it is a major plus in terms of added offerings from Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Last year, the performers were removed from the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party lineup at Pirates of the Caribbean. While official details of this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party have not been announced yet, we can see that on the Disney Auditions page, the interactive characters are currently being cast for Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Frontierland. 

Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow on ride

Credit: Disney

The post reads, “Disney Live Entertainment is accepting Online Submissions from Actors of all ethnicities and gender identities who are local to Central Florida for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party performed at the Walt Disney World® Resort near Orlando, Florida.”

It seems that Friendly Francis/Frances and Ducky will be a part of the Pirates of the Caribbean performer crew this year, with both of their audition monologues referring to the attraction and written as if it were a pirate speaking the words.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has been beginning in August year after year, so we would expect the same in 2024, meaning this ride overhaul will commence in August. One thing to remember is that the changes will only be available in the evening during the party.

Future of Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World and Beyond

Many have wondered what will happen to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction after Johnny Depp leaves the franchise. 

As we touched on earlier, Jack Sparrow was added to all Pirates of the Caribbean attractions after the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. In order to integrate the ride with the film, Disney added Jack Sparrow animatronics that look identical to the man who brought the character to life, Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow with the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction entrance in the background at Walt Disney World

Credit: Inside The Magic

Depp is easily the single most popular reason that the franchise has such a massive fandom and success, but after the Amber Heard trial and allegations, Disney dropped Depp from the film franchise before a verdict was even called. Now, even though Depp was proven not guilty, he is out of the Pirates of the Caribbean family.

Many fans of the franchise decided to boycott any future films, as Depp promised that not even $300 million would bring him back for Pirates of the Caribbean 6. 

Disney is still moving forward with the project despite fans being against the idea. 

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has said that the next film will be a reboot, therefore, none of the original cast will be required to move forward as the story will have a directional shift. Craig Mazin is working on the script, and Disney is reportedly loving his direction.

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

As for Sparrow’s presence in the parks, for now, it will certainly remain despite Disney’s controversy with Johnny Depp, but if the franchise moves forward with a new cast after multiple films, it would not be shocking to see Disney incorporate a different character outside of Sparrow into the attractions.

We do know that the Pirate lore will live on in Magic Kingdom, as a new Pirate tavern was recently confirmed to be coming to Adventureland. 

Do you plan on attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this year? 

This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic

About Alessia Dunn

Orlando theme park lover who loves thrills and theming, with a side of entertainment. You can often catch me at Disney or Universal sipping a cocktail, or crying during Happily Ever After or Fantasmic.

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