Anyone for Yo-ho-ho? Disneyland’s new Pirates of the Caribbean ride (1967)

Disneyland’s big new pirate ride: Pirates of the Caribbean

Vintage Disneyland - Pirates of the Caribbean

Anyone for Yo-ho-ho?

Cutlasses to all hands and prepare to take the town! In the costliest and most technologically-sophisticated amusement park ride ever built, California’s Disneyland has evoked the blood-curdling buccaneering past of the Spanish Main.

>> Also see: Vintage postcards from Disneyland: Pirates of the Caribbean

Called “The Pirates of the Caribbean,” it is a 15-minute boat ride through the sacking of a town, marked by as harrowing a series of misadventures as the likes of Captain Kidd and Jean Lafitte ever visited upon their hapless victims. The Disneyland cutthroats are a brawling band of computerized robots that look and move about like real people, but lack even the spark of human decency that pirates are supposed to have had.

Though the ride cost $8 million, the prospect for profit exceeds anything Blackbeard ever dreamed of in his yo-ho-ho days: nearly a million visitors a month are paying 75 cents apiece for the fun of being scared out of their wits.

1967 Disneyland - Pirates of the Caribbean ride


Photos: As the Pirates of the Caribbean ride starts, visitors see three nightshirted residents of a Caribbean town who have been captured by pirates and react with much quaking and eye-rolling.

While rampaging pirates put the town to the torch, jailbirds try to coax their turnkey closer. One offers a bone, another whistles, and the third curses the cur.

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1967 Disneyland - Pirates of the Caribbean opens


Pirates of the Caribbean a thrilling audio-animatronic experience

For high adventure and imagined reality, none of the new additions will delight Disneyland guests more than setting sail with the rowdiest crew of blackhearted buccaneers ever assembled, the “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Already taking its first adventurers on a voyage to the Spanish main, “Pirates of the Caribbean” is the most thrilling of all audio-animatronic experiences.

Action begins from the moment guests step aboard flat-bottomed boats called bateaux in the eerie moonlight of the “Blue Bayou.”

A splashing slide down a waterfall pltmges adventurers into ghostly caverns filled with echoes of buccaneer days in Dead Man’s Cove, the Crew’s quarters), ”Captain’s lair, and the Treasure cave.

The imagined pirate-inhabitants suddenly become real as the boats emerge into the middle of a harbor battle between a mighty privateer ship and the battered fortress of a Caribbean put.

To port and starboard, pirates in life-size, three-dimensional realism are busily plundering the village in an often-humorous recapturing of history.

Dunking the mayor in the well to discover the town’s treasure, auctioning off its not-so-reluctant maidens, merrily chasing the womenfolk thru the village, then setting fire to stores and warehouses with blazing torches, make up the fast-moving action.

“Unobserved” Disneyland gusts barely avoid the conflagration by entering a subterranean tunnel which carries them past prison cells and into the town arsenal where flame-licked kegs of gunpowder are ready to blow ‘ up at any moment.

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Escape from the inferno climaxes the 15-minute voyage as Disneyland guests return to the quiet of the Blue Bayou and its enchanting plantation gar- den restaurant.

In all, “Pirates of the Caribbean” includes some 119 life-size three-dimensional figures brought to life thru “Audio- Animatronics” for the 15-minute adventure voyage.

Vintage Disneyland - Pirates of the Caribbean opens

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