Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, let me tell you a story. In another age, a great man whose name was... Uhm, I can't recall his name right now. Let's just call him Walt Disney, shall we? Well, this Walt Disney guy created an amusement park called Disneyland, and in that park there was a ride called Pirates of the Caribbean. It's unique, unconventional, uncharacteriscally dark and-without a doubt-one of the most iconic theme park rides of all time. Well, yesterday, that ride celebrated it’s 50th anniversary. Yes, that's fifty years of swashbuckling adventurers, imprisoned mateys and singing bar patrons.
Ever since then, Disneyland’s Pirate of the Caribbean ride has become a litmus test for theme park ride success around the world. It's the ride not only that set the stage for a multi-billion dollar movie franchise, but since establishing itself as a must-see attraction at Disney parks around the world, it's maintained a cult-like following for decades.
Launched on March 18, 1967, the original Pirates ride featured a 1,838-foot flume with a 12-minute running time, making it one of the longest theme park rides in existence. The attraction quickly became a fan favorite and an icon for the park that had just opened two years earlier. The ride was one of the first to combine multiple elements for users to enjoy: audio animatronics (via realistic looking human robots), a double drop, theatrical effects and more.
The attraction was also the last one personally overseen by Walt Disney himself, who would die from lung cancer just three months before the ride opened for guests. According to Disneyland, approximately 400 million guests have traveled on the ride following its debut a half century ago. That was due in large part to the park's revolutionary use of the audio animatronics and stage effects, which permitted Disney to run the show more frequently than other rides-often allowing tens of thousands of visitors each day.
Since its debut, the ride has branched out globally. In addition to the original attraction in California, there are Pirates at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, another in Tokyo, one in Paris and a recently opened ride at the Shanghai Disney Resort in China. Sure, there have been plenty of changes to the attraction since the 1960s, including the incorporation of new characters from the film series. But the ride has also left its mark on the films, with numerous references in all four films, including but not limited to undead pirates, cursed treasures, salty wenches, wrecked ships, drunken sailors, and much more.
So, as loyal fans, let's raise our glasses and toast our beloved Pirates of the Caribbean! Fairs winds, mates, and let the ride entertain us for many, many, more years. And if excitement over the Pirates of the Caribbean world hasn’t been sated yet, fans will get plenty of thrills with the fifth installment in the popular franchise - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.