One of the world’s most beloved theme park attractions celebrates a golden milestone this weekend, and you can help Disneyland celebrate the Pirates of the Caribbean 50th anniversary on March 18 with limited-time entertainment, food, and merchandise offerings at the Anaheim resort.
Since its debut at Disneyland Park in California on March 18, 1967, Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean adventure has thrilled nearly 400 million guests from around the world. The ride has inspired a four-film franchise — with the fifth, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” releasing in May 2017 — and the lyrics to its theme song, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” are recognized around the world.
To celebrate the Pirates of the Caribbean 50th anniversary, guests are invited to enjoy limited-time pirate-themed entertainment, merchandise exclusives and special food and beverage offerings. Beginning Thursday, March 16, guests may feast upon special, pirate-themed food at French Market Restaurant, Mint Julep Bar, Harbour Galley, Royal Street Veranda, Cafe Orleans and Blue Bayou Restaurant. Blue Bayou also celebrates its 50th anniversary on March 18.
Food items vary by location and will include:
Buccaneer Pulled Pork Sandwich: Jerk-spiced Pork, Sweet and Tangy Barbecue
Sauce, Pineapple Caribbean-style Slaw and Fried Yucca
Lost Treasure Beignets: Lemon-flavored Beignets with gold shimmer dust
Jolly Roger Punch: Spiced Tropical Juices with hints of Pineapple, Orange and Mango
Calypso’s Caribbean Chicken Stew: Caribbean-seasoned Chicken stewed with Onions, Carrots, Celery, Tomatoes, Potatoes and Yucca
Golden Churro: Gold-dusted Churro
On Friday, March 17, pirate-themed entertainment comes alive throughout New Orleans Square, including performances by the Bootstrappers and Lucky the Pirate. And on Saturday, March 18, Even more entertainment will be added on the attraction’s official anniversary, including appearances by the legendary pirate himself, Captain Jack Sparrow. Guests may purchase limited-edition, anniversary merchandise in New Orleans Square, while supplies last. Pirate Speak! collectible cards will be available for guests who wish to talk like a pirate, and guests may discover additional special surprises on March 18.
Here are some more fun facts about Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean 50th anniversary:
• Pirates of the Caribbean was the last Disneyland attraction personally supervised by Walt Disney. It was designed by WED Enterprises (now called Walt Disney Imagineering).
• The attraction originally was envisioned as a New Orleans-themed Blue Bayou Mart featuring a Pirate Wax Museum, housed in a 70-foot deep basement. The basement now serves as the grotto section of the attraction.
• Pirates of the Caribbean was loosely inspired by such Hollywood films as “Captain Blood,” “The Sea Hawk” and “The Buccaneer,” plus Disney’s “Treasure Island,” “Kidnapped” and “Swiss Family Robinson.”
• It cost $15 million to build New Orleans Square, the home for Pirates of the Caribbean. This is equal to the amount the United States paid for the real New Orleans in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
• The attraction façade was partly inspired by the Cabildo building in Jackson Square in New Orleans that served as the seat of the Spanish colonial government in 1799. It is also noted for being the site where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803.
• Guests ride through the attraction in a 1,838-foot canal.
• Approximately 120 animated characters (human characters plus nine different types of animated animals) appear in the Audio-Animatronics cast of Pirates of the Caribbean.
• Several original designers and Imagineers for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction have since become Disney Legends, an honorary title bestowed on individuals by The Walt Disney Company.
• Disney Imagineer X Atencio, who wrote the attraction’s memorable tune, “Yo-Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” is the voice of the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones, seen just before guests plunge down the waterfalls.
• In the lyrics of the song, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” the phrase “Yo Ho” is uttered 18 times.
• Guests ride through the attraction for approximately 15 minutes, on one of the longest rides at Disneyland Resort.
• Approximately 400 million guests have ridden Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park since its opening in 1967.
• In 1997, Pirates of the Caribbean won the Thea Classic Award from the Themed Entertainment Association. The Thea Classic Award is given to an outstanding “compelling place and experience” which has been in operation for a minimum of 20 years.
• The Blue Bayou restaurant in New Orleans Square allows diners to observe passing boats traveling through a bayou, which is the first scene of the attraction. This table service restaurant continues to be the only dining establishment that looks into a dark ride attraction at Disneyland Resort.
• The concept of Pirates of the Caribbean has come full circle with the attraction initially inspiring the successful film franchise and then the films (starting with the release of “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” in 2003) inspiring exciting additions to the attraction.
• Both Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa from the blockbuster films appear in the attraction and the ghostly image of Davy Jones appears on a waterfall.
• Guests can spot Captain Jack Sparrow at three different points during their journey.
• Approximately 400,000 pieces of gold coins and set pieces were added to the attraction during a lengthy refurbishment in 2006 when some of the film characters were added to the story.
• The Aztec pirate chest used in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” appears in the Treasure Room as the last thing guests see in that scene.
Visit disneyland.disney.go.com for more information about Disneyland, and for more pirate fun, watch these POV ride-through videos of Pirates of the Caribbean attractions from around the world: