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Character in “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction forced to walk the plank at Disney World

Captain Jack Sparrow played by the incomparable and uber-talented Johnny Depp is perhaps one of the most recognizable characters from a Disney ride experience and film franchise outside of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and he’s only been around for about 20 years.

Johnny Depp in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales'

Captain Jack is the star of The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort, but he wasn’t always a part of the ride. Neither the Disneyland version nor the Disney World version of the attraction featured the “savvy” Jack Sparrow when they first debuted in March 1967 and December 1973, respectively.

The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Adventureland was the first Disney attraction to ever inspire a film franchise. Inside the Wonderful World of Disney, it’s usually the other way around: a film is released, fans go wild, an attraction is created at a Disney Park. (So, where is our Encanto attraction?)

On July 7, 2006, the second film in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest debuted at the box office, and exceptionally life-like animatronic Captain Jack Sparrows debuted at Disneyland and Disney World.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Filming Locations

Credit: Disney

But the attraction is a first for other reasons as well, unfortunately. To date, Disney Parks has yet to host an attraction other than Pirates of the Caribbean in which the actor portrayed on the ride was canceled by The Walt Disney Company (and might this writer add, canceled prematurely).

Oddly enough, though Disney has reportedly scrapped plans to keep Johnny Depp on as Captain Jack Sparrow in any future installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, the House of Mouse has not pulled Depp’s likeness from its Disney Parks attractions, and merchandise inspired by the films continued to roll off the shelves, as if on a conveyor belt.

Johnny Depp takes the stand in Amber Heard defamation trial

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“[Disney] didn’t remove my character from the rides,” Depp said. “They didn’t stop selling dolls of Captain Jack Sparrow. They didn’t stop selling anything. They just didn’t want there to be something trailing behind me that they’d find.”

During his testimony, Johnny Depp said that The Walt Disney Company parted ways with him in 2018, shortly after Amber Heard’s allegations of abuse.

amber heard and attorneys

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“Two years had gone by of constant worldwide talk about me being this wife-beater,” Depp said from the stand. “So I’m sure that Disney was trying to cut ties to be safe. The #MeToo movement was in full swing at that point.”

Depp’s likeness as Captain Jack Sparrow remains a part of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disney Parks, and at this time, there’s been no mention of extracting the animatronic Johnny Depp/Captain Jacks from the rides.

Depp has recently spoken publicly about the fallout of cancel culture, gleaning from his own personal experience. But Captain Jack isn’t the only character from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction that has faced cancel culture.

Per Disney Fandom, the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland Resort “was originally conceived as a wax museum and a walk-through adventure. But following the success of Walt Disney‘s Carousel of Progress at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Walt Disney and his team of Imagineers decided that audio-animatronics, his latest animation technology, was the most imaginative way to tell a rousing pirate story.”

Disney to Remove Pirates of the Caribbean Ride's Auction | POPSUGAR Smart Living

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When the attraction opened at Walt Disney World in December 1973, it did so with a myriad of scurvy pirates singing “Yo Ho Ho,” just like they do today. But Disney forced one of the original swashbuckling buccaneers to walk the plank after only two years on the ship.

His name was Peg Leg Pete, and he walked the plank in 1975.

No word on how he earned his peg leg or why Disney removed him from the attraction.

pirates of the caribbean disney world

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And though we’re sorry the pirate birdy was forced off the plank, we are grateful that Captain Jack remains in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and we are very hopeful that his likeness will remain!

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!