5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pirates of the Caribbean

Yo-ho, yo-ho is a Pirate’s Life for you? Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most popular and iconic attractions in Walt Disney World. And just like fellow classics The Haunted Mansion and The Jungle Cruise there are lots of secrets, history, and details to look for! Here are five of our favorites bit of trivia.

1. Too Close to the Caribbean?

That’s right! Originally, the Imagineers thought Pirates of the Caribbean wouldn’t be popular at Walt Disney World because it’s too close to the actual Caribbean. Plus, there were already lots of hokey pirate-themed tourist attractions in the area. Therefore, even though Pirates debuted in Disneyland in 1967, it was missing from Magic Kingdom when it opened in 1971.

But visitors to Disney World demanded it! They had seen Pirates of the Caribbean on the Wonderful World of Disney and expected it to be in Florida. The Imagineers heard them loud and clear, and Walt Disney World got its very own Pirates of the Caribbean in 1973.

2. An Unfinished Game

When weaving through the right side of the queue (now the Fastpass+ side), look down into the jail cell. There you’ll find two skeleton pirates contemplating their next move in a game of chess.

But there’s a reason neither player can make a move, thanks to Legendary Imagineer Marc Davis. Marc was known for his great sense of humor and for being a chess fanatic. He designed this game with a certain chessboard in mind – it’s a stalemate. This means the pirates were left pondering their next move for all eternity!

And Marc took it a step further, so that every person gets to enjoy this joke for years to come… he mapped out the correct positions for the pieces on the bottom. This way, if the attraction is refurbished or updated, Imagineers will always have the guide to the clever joke from the creator!

3. A “Hostly” Auctioneer

Does that Auctioneer sound familiar? He should if you’ve ridden the  Haunted Mansion. That’s right – the Auctioneer is also the Ghost Host! Both famous Disney attraction characters are voiced by legendary actor Paul Frees. Other credits to Paul’s name include Boris from The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show and the original narrator from Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

4. A Regal Thank You

Disney Imagineers not only like to tuck in little details into attractions, but they like to thank those who have worked really hard on them. If you look on the stone wall above the treasure room, you’ll see a Coat of Arms. On the crest are various chess pieces, and below it reads the family name: Marco Daviso. As in Marc Davis!

As a way to thank Marc for all his hard work on Pirates, they gave him his very own treasure trove – although it does appear that Captain Jack found it!

5. Aztec Treasure

On your way out of the gift shop, take a look at the vases and decor on the high shelves overlooking the store. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a maroon double-handled vase, with an odd coin stuck to the front. Look familiar? It’s actually a piece used in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl!

Fans of the movie will remember that Captain Barbosa and his crew want to locate all of the Aztec medallions, so they can break the curse upon them.  The coin you can see here was one of the replicas used on set!

Did you know these things about Pirates of the Caribbean? Are you going to look at them on your next visit? Let us know in the comments!

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Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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5 Replies to “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pirates of the Caribbean”

  1. Pirates was a legendary attraction long before Johnny Depp came along and it didn’t need him. Disney management however wanted a tie in to the movie and so we now have Captain Jack Sparrow.

  2. Love every thing about “Pirates of The Caribbean”,but I would never support it again without Johnny Depp.He made it what it is today.

  3. I’m afraid the attraction has changed somewhat and Paul Frees is no longer the voice of the Auctioneer, although the actor who is now the Auctioneer took great pains to match the original voice as closely as possible. His name is Kiff VandenHeuvel, and he has performed in other Disney propertiea, including as Han Solo in Star Wars Forces of Destiny.

    The voice of Redd the female pirate is Grey Delisle, who plays Daphne on Scooby Doo!