March 1967 – present
New Orleans Square – Whether you arrive from Adventureland or Frontierland, you’ll find Pirates of the Caribbean on your left. The entrance is beneath the bridge, and the line winds into the building.
Original designs for Pirates of the Caribbean called for a walk-through wax museum set in the 18th century Caribbean. But after seeing the success of It’s A Small World and its unique boat ride setup, Imagineers decided to incorporate a similar ride experience in New Orleans Square. Pirates of the Caribbean finally opened to the public in 1967, three months after Walt Disney’s death.
After the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Imagineers incorporated characters from the film into the ride, most notably Captain Jack Sparrow as an animatronic troublemaker, and Captain Barbossa’s portrait by the front doors.
- Single Rider Line – no
- Fast Pass – no
- Height Requirement – none
- Duration – 15:30
Sailors braving the Caribbean waters begin their journey on an evening ride along the quiet coastline. The boats pass a scenic waterfront restaurant before turning a corner into the darkness. A skull and crossbones marks the beginning of an imminent run-in with pirates, and then the boats suddenly drop into the depths of the pirate’s cavern. Inside the caves, riders see several skeletal pirates, some drinking heavily, others admiring treasure, and one appearing in a ghostly fog. The boats then leave the caves pass through cannon fire to arrive in a Caribbean village. The village scenes depict the chaos and revelry of pirate life, and observant riders will find Captain Jack Sparrow sneaking around and hiding from other characters. Finally, the boats depart the village and climb out of the cave, with one final glimpse of Captain Jack Sparrow enjoying his treasure. A distant voice invites riders to return, but warns that the next visit may not have such a pleasant ending.
MY RATING – ★★★★★
Pirates of the Caribbean is my absolute favorite ride at the Disneyland Resort. Every room has incredible detail, dramatic sound effects and scores, and lots of hidden gags within each scene. This ride is also the longest in the park, at 16 minutes, so sometimes the boat ride is actually longer than the wait!
I could go on and on about why I love Pirates, but honestly a description does not do this ride justice. When you get the chance to venture into the Caribbean waters, you’ll immediately understand why Pirates is a Disneyland classic.
With the exception of the holiday season and summer weekends, there is no bad time to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. This ride loads at an incredibly fast pace, and I’ve never waited more than half an hour to get on (and that was the Saturday before Christmas, which is a nightmare weekend for the park). Visit Pirates whenever convenient, and you shouldn’t have a very difficult time getting on quickly.
If you have easily frightened kids in your party, you might want to steer clear of this ride. The drop in the beginning isn’t big, but it’s in the pitch black. Most of the ride is very dark, loud, and some of the scenes with skeletons can be a little spooky. Most kids don’t have a problem with Pirates, but some little ones do find it intimidating.
The Disneyland version of Pirates of the Caribbean is the longest of any in the Disney Parks, at roughly 16 minutes. For a comparison, the Disney World version in Florida runs roughly 9 minutes long.
This was the last ride Walt Disney participated in designing before his death.
Despite the drop at the beginning of the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean never goes underground. Instead, the ride loads on the second story of the building, and the boats descend into a show building not visible from inside the park.
There is a hidden LEGO Captain Jack Sparrow in the first treasure room. Look closely at the treasure chest in the center of the scene, specifically the top left corner of the chest. It can take a few rides to finally spot him, but once you see him he always stands out!