Dead men tell no tales, but your friends at AllEars are ready to spill the tea! 🫖
As you’re riding some of your favorite rides in Magic Kingdom, you might be focused on the fun music, the special time you’re enjoying with your family, and the attraction as a whole. But there are some INCREDIBLE details you’ve likely missed! So today we’re stopping you right where you are to fill you in on a few secrets you totally haven’t caught on Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride (even if this is your twentieth time around).
Get ready to be hit with some awesome details about the ride that will make YOU the resident expert among your friends.
Hop in our virtual boat, grab your pirate bandana, and get ready because you’re in for 17 details you may have missed about Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride (most of these are specifically about the Disney World version of the ride but there are some fun historical details about the ride in here too, which go back to the Disneyland version).
1. Captain Hook and Mr. Smee
It’s not too far of a stretch to see this one, but you do have to pay very close attention!
Just beside poor Carlos who’s doing his best to stay silent on “Where be Jack Sparrow,” you’ll find two pirates with outfits that seem to be inspired by the fiendish Captain Hook and Mr. Smee (Smee is whistling away at his flute).
See the resemblance?
2. Tharr Be Human Hair
Okay, so this one is a little unsettling, but so the story goes, Disney opted to use real human hair on some of the audio animatronics!
Specifically, you’ll see human hair on the pirate that has his leg swinging off the side of the bridge as your boat is going under.
Talk about a serious attention to detail.
3. All that Glitters Is GOLD
This one is technically OUTSIDE the ride, but it’s so cool you’re going to want to see it anyways.
Look really close at the red and gold vase about mid-way through the Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar, the gift shop at the end of the ride.
There, you’ll find one of the cursed medallions from the first Pirates of the Caribbean film — Curse of the Black Pearl.
Maybe that’s why the pirates inside never seem to age! 😉
Click here to see some news about the Pirates of Caribbean movies and the future of the franchise at Disney
4. Haunted Mansion Crossovers
This detail has since changed (since the scene itself has been updated) but in the original version of the auctioneer scene, Paul Frees could be heard as the voice of the auctioneer pirate.
Frees also voiced one of the imprisoned pirates toward the end of the ride and served as the ominous voice that promises “dead men tell no tales.”
Where do you know the name Paul Frees from? Well, you may know him best as the Ghost Host of The Haunted Mansion!
Now that’s a great crossover!
5. Hidden Skull Rock in the Treasure Scene
When you’re coming up on the first scene of the ride, if you keep your eyes peeled, you can catch a glimpse of this one quickly.
As your boat rounds the corner, the rocks align just right so that you can see a skull in the layered design.
This should signal the cursed pirates’ treasure ahead.
6. The Game That Never Ends
You’ll need to have some time in the queue line for this one to be seen.
Just beyond the prison bars, two pirates can be seen working on a game of chess, BUT chess players may notice that any of the remaining moves would result in a checkmate.
Seems like these skeletons are stuck in an endless stalemate!
7. That Was Quick!
If you’ve ridden both the Disneyland and Disney World versions of this ride, you might notice one BIG difference.
Disney World’s version of Pirates of the Caribbean clocks in at just over 8 minutes from start to finish. Disneyland’s version of the ride, however, is almost twice as long at around 15 minutes!
That’s a significant difference.
8. Realistic Fire Blazing
If you’ve ever rounded the corner in the boats to the fire-blazing scene and thought “What a great effect” you’re not alone. The effect is made of lights, cloth, and fans.
But, what’s really interesting here is that this illusion was originally created by Imagineer Yale Gracey.
Wait, where have we heard that name before? Well, one of the headstones in the Haunted Mansion attraction refers to a “Master Gracey” — a reference to Imagineer Yale Gracey!
Gracey worked on some big illusions for Disney’s parks, including the “grim, grinning ghosts” featured in the Haunted Mansion, the development of some effects on Space Mountain used to block out the surrounding roller coaster structure, and more!
9. Hidden Mickeys in the Smallest Places
This is one you’ll have to really be looking for or be stopped in your boat for a while, but they’re there!
Several of the locks throughout the ride and queue line are made to look like hidden Mickeys, neat huh?
These are probably most prominent in the final boat scene by all the pirates that are looking to grab the keys from the dog.
You’ll really have to have an eagle eye to find these!
You might not have realized, but the current version of the ride is NOT the same as the original that first debuted.
Although a lot of the storyline is similar, when Disney released the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, decisions were made to incorporate the search for Jack Sparrow into the attraction.
You’ll have multiple opportunities to spot him now throughout the ride.
Plus, other scenes — like the auctioneer scene specifically — have received updates, and there have been other changes made over the years.
11. Keep a Weathered Eye Out For Captain Barbosa
In addition to Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbosa can be seen in the initial ship cannon fire.
If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of him you’ll more than likely hear Barbosa’s voice first.
That’ll clue you into where to find him!
12. What’s Marci Daviso Mean?
If you’ve ever encountered a traffic (boat) jam towards the end of the ride, your eyes may have begun to wander around and you might have caught a few more details than you did initially.
If you’ll look right above the end scene of Jack Sparrow lounging in his treasure room, you’ll find the words “Marci Daviso” written above just underneath the helmet and crest.
This is a reference to Imagineer Marc Davis, who worked on creating the Pirates of the Caribbean ride as well as other iconic Disney attractions like The Haunted Mansion, the Country Bear Jamboree, and others.
13. I’ve Seen That Somewhere Before!
If you’re a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, there’s an easter egg you HAVE to look for!
The East India Trading Company logo can be seen perched just beside one of the pirates on the opposite side of the auction scene.
It’s certainly one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” type details though, so be sure to hunt quickly for it. Fans of the film franchise will recognize this as the fictionalized company in the movies.
14. Wait…Where’s The Pirates League
If you’ve been around the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance lately you may have found yourself a bit confused.
The now-extinct Pirates League sign is still out front although the awesome pirate makeovers are no longer offered. There’s no sign that Disney’s planning to have it return (at least for now), but they also haven’t done anything with the sign.
The Pirates League was similar to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in that you could have minimal to elaborate Pirate makeovers for ages 3 and older. Each kiddo could be turned into a pirate, a skull pirate, or a mermaid of their choosing and would complete their transformation by taking a pirate oath.
This one kinda stings a bit. 🙁
15. What Came First — The Movies Or the Ride?
Some people don’t realize it because of the changes made to the ride, but the ride actually came first!
It’s been a classic attraction in both Disney World and Disneyland and had new life breathed into it when the reimagining happened due to the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
That being said, this ride is unique in that inspired a full-on series of films and not just a one-off movie like The Jungle Cruise has recently, though that could change in the future.
16. It’s Kinda Like a Cocktail Party
Chances are if you’ve ridden this ride a few times you’ve not only noticed new details each time around but you’ve also HEARD something different…this was all by design.
As one of the last rides that Walt Disney oversaw before his passing, Walt wanted the songs and dialogue to be like a “cocktail party” where you hear something new or a different voice each time you ride.
According to an article by The Orange County Register, Xavier Atencio first “worried he’d written too much dialogue” for the ride. But, according to Marty Sklar, Walt liked it.
“Think of it as a cocktail party,” Walt reportedly said. He continued, “You hear pieces over here and pieces over there, but you never get the whole thing. So what? You have to go back (and ride it again).”
How many different voices will you be listening for the next ride you take?
17. I Feel a Change in the Clothes!
Alice Davis (wife of Marc Davis, one of the Imagineers we mentioned above) is famous for her work on the costumes featured in “it’s a small world,” and more. One of the attractions she worked on when it comes to costumes is Pirates of the Caribbean, but she did something rather unique here.
Davis actually created TWO complete sets of costumes for the characters in Pirates of the Caribbean, even though she wasn’t told to. According to The Orange County Register, Davis told the bookkeeper that the costumes would cost twice as much as they really did so she could sew a second set (this was something Disney officials had told her they couldn’t afford).
This proved fortunate, however, when a fire broke out at the Disneyland version of the ride destroying some of the costumes. It was at that point that Davis revealed the extra set of costumes to a Disney executive. Davis recounted, “He didn’t know whether to hit me or to hug me.” 😆
There you have it! Now you know a few more facts about one of the most iconic rides in Magic Kingdom. Be sure to check back with us at AllEars for the latest in Disney news and updates!
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Is Pirates of the Caribbean a must-do attraction for you? Tell us your favorite scene in the comments below!