You’ve no doubt watched and loved the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies.
But did you know that there is also a Pirates of the Caribbean ride?
And not just one, either– but five exciting rides across Disneyland, Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Shanghai Disneyland!
While the original was based in Disneyland in California, this ride is a piece of iconic Disney history that has undergone multiple transformations.
In this article, we’ll discuss the Pirates of the Caribbean ride’s history, as well as what to expect when you visit Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!
- What Is the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?
- Where Is The Pirates of the Caribbean Located?
- The Pirates of the Caribbean Experience: What to Expect
- The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Accessibility
- The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Health and Safety Advisories
- The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Age And Height Restrictions
- The Pirates of the Caribbean Weather Restrictions
- When Is the Best Time to Visit the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?
- The Verdict on the Pirates of the Caribbean
What Is the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride first opened at Disneyland in 1967 and was the last to be overseen by Walt Disney.
Though it had first been planned as a wax museum, Disney had been determined to create another boat ride after the huge success of the “It’s a small world” ride.
Sadly, he passed away three months before its opening, but — in a true testament to Walt and his vision — the ride became incredibly popular with parkgoers.
When Florida’s Disney World opened in 1971, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride did not make the cut immediately.
The Imagineers felt that the people of Florida wouldn’t be particularly interested in a Caribbean-themed ride with pirates, given its location and Florida’s history with pirates.
Instead, they thought “cowboys and Indians” would be much more interesting, and planned a ride called the Western River Expedition.
However, when visitors to the park kept asking where “the pirates” were, the Imagineers quickly reproduced a slightly smaller scale Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Florida, opening in 1973.
As a result, all plans for the Western River Expedition were scrapped. This was mostly due to the fact that the budget for it had all gone to the hasty construction of Pirate of the Caribbean!
The ride has been so popular that it was the inspiration for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie franchise of the same name.
This prompted a long-awaited ride modification in 2006, which coincided with the second movie’s premiere, and added three favorite characters from the franchise to the ride.
The ride itself involves a boat ride through misty grottos, spooky encounters with the shabby inhabitants of the shores, and fiery fierce clashes with enemy pirates. Many are adamant that this is the “best-themed ride ever”!
Where Is The Pirates of the Caribbean Located?
Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom can be found deep in Adventureland.
From the entrance to Magic Kingdom, simply head down Main Street towards the hub, then turn left over the bridge to Adventureland.
Stick to the left-hand side of Adventureland, head past the Swiss Family Treehouse on your left and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin on your right– and then on the left, just after Jungle Cruise, you’ll find Pirates of the Caribbean!
The Pirates of the Caribbean Experience: What to Expect
In order to enter the ride, you’ll pass through Castillo del Morro, an old Spanish-style fort, and down a dimly-lit corridor. Here, you’ll reach the ride boats, floating on top of a dark canal.
You’ll hop aboard your boat, passing old-school military weapons, barrels of rum, and a beautifully-crafted pirate ship off in the distance, which all set the scene for what’s to come.
A voice saying, “Dead men tell no tales,” echoes through the tunnel you’ll initially travel in until you’ll reach a desert island beach, scattered with the skeletons of long-dead pirates.
To add to the Caribbean vibe, animatronic crabs scurry about the scene and take up residence in skeletons. A sunken ship’s mat sticks out of the water ahead.
At this point, the boat drops 14 ft. into an even darker canal passage, which opens up onto a scene of a village being ransacked by a motley crew of pirates.
See if you can spot Captain Jack Sparrow hiding around the corner behind a rack of dresses, evading his old pirate mates!
The animatronic birds, animals, and characters — including Captain Barbossa and Will Turner — are a stunning feature of the ride that really brings each scene to life.
Further down the canal, you’ll come across a town engulfed with flames, with some pirates standing just before it singing their infamous song ‘Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)’, complete with donkey and dog singing along.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the famous Dog with the Keys, guarding over the pirates in their cell — a firm fan favorite since the opening of the ride!
At the end of the experience, you’ll be told to sing along to ‘Yo Ho’ by a talking skull, while Jack Sparrow conducts with a bottle of rum, surrounded by golden treasure-filled chests!
The two queues start off as one, beginning in New Orleans Square. There is also a third accessibility queue that begins here.
The queue is typical in its wait time — from around 30–90 minutes — with moderate crowds waiting at any given time.
The estimated wait time is always displayed above the entrance to the ride, so it’ll pay to check this out before you join the queue.
Be aware, too, that waiting in the hot Florida sun can get pretty sweaty– so don’t forget your sunscreen, hat, and water!
The Pirates of the Caribbean FastPass+
FastPass+ was discontinued in 2020, but it was replaced with Genie+ which has many of the same features FastPass+ did (and more).
Genie+ is the ultimate planning tool for your Disney itinerary, custom-made to suit you.
By inputting details about you and your visit, Genie+ will be able to give you recommendations on dining and attractions that best cater to your needs.
Once you have Genie+, you can also book in for the Lighting Lane entrances at selected attractions, including the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Bookings are anytime between 7 am to close.
Even if you don’t have Genie+, certain attractions let you book individually for Lightning Lanes– but this is very much on a first-come, first-served basis.
To avoid being disappointed, we highly recommend that you book ahead of time and avoid waiting until you’re actually at Magic Kingdom!
For more information on Genie+, check out the official Disney World website.
Each row in the boats can fit 2–4 people on bench-style seats, depending on the individual and their position in the boat. At the front and back of the boats, there’s only room for two, however. There are no safety harnesses or restraints in the boats.
With each boat in theory able to take up to 24 people, and a total of 50 boats, an average of 3,400 guests could pass through the ride every hour. That’s a lot of people!
While both sides of the boat will allow you to see the full scenes, it’s a good idea to let smaller kids and those of us more, uh, “vertically challenged” on the outer seats for the best viewing ability.
For everyone’s safety, please remember to keep your arms and legs inside the boat at all times.
The ride itself will take roughly seven and a half minutes.
However, remember to leave time for queueing, which could take up to an hour and a half during peak times.
Don’t forget to check the estimated wait time above the entrance of the ride!
The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Accessibility
The ride requires you to be able to step down two small steps and into the boat.
For those in ECVs, you will need to transfer to a wheelchair, then into the boat.
Note that there are no wheelchair-accessible boats on this ride. If you are unable to step down into the boat, someone may need to assist you.
These can be reserved at Guest Services on the day of your visit and are on a first-come-first-served basis.
See the Disney World website for full details.
The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Health and Safety Advisories
This ride involves periods of nearly complete darkness, fog, flashing lights, and banging loud noises. It also involves a 14 ft. drop in water, which could splash you.
Children may be frightened by parts of the ride, as well as its generally dark and spooky atmosphere.
Those with epilepsy and other conditions affected by sensitivity to light and noise may also be affected by this ride.
Additionally, as mentioned, there are no wheelchair-accessible boats. Please bear these in mind when considering whether or not the ride is suitable for you and your family!
The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Age And Height Restrictions
There are no height restrictions for Pirates of the Caribbean.
As long as those under the age of 7 are accompanied by someone 14 years or older, everyone is welcome to enjoy the epic adventure that is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!
Don’t forget to tell your little ones to keep their arms and legs inside the boat at all times, and be careful not to lean over the edge!
The Pirates of the Caribbean Weather Restrictions
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is entirely undercover. This means that whether it’s pouring with rain or absolutely steaming in the Florida sun, you can still visit Jack Sparrow and the rest of the pirates!
The only part of the ride that could be affected by adverse weather, particularly rain, is when queuing in New Orleans Square.
There’s no cover here, so if the queue is particularly long you may want to wait until things clear up, or else don your raincoat and whip your umbrella up!
Hot tip: Avoid visiting the ride in the hours before lunchtime when the queue is at its peak!
You’d be wise to grab a bite at one of the nearby eateries, such as Tortuga Tavern just across the way, and then hop over and join the queue when it begins to quieten down after 2 pm.
Getting into one of the Lightning Lanes, either through the Genie+ service or by purchasing on the day, can help you maximize your time at the park or avoid unfavorable weather conditions.
When Is the Best Time to Visit the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?
Data shows that between 11 am–1.45 pm is when the ride experiences the heaviest traffic. If you queue during this period, you’re likely to experience the longest wait times.
If you want to be first on the rides and attractions, it could be worth setting your alarm a little earlier than usual before your visit to Magic Kingdom.
However, if getting up at the crack of dawn doesn’t sound like holiday mode to you, from 2 pm onwards the ride gets much quieter.
Though the best time to visit is actually right before closing, we wouldn’t recommend leaving it too late, as you could risk being asked to leave the parks before you get to the head of the queue!
Opening times vary, with the fun beginning at 8 am on Saturday and Monday, and at 9 am the rest of the week.
Closing times vary between 10 pm–11 pm, depending on what day you visit.
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom remains open until 11 pm every night, except for Saturdays and Mondays when it closes at 10 pm.
The Verdict on the Pirates of the Caribbean
One of the most special things about this ride is that it was one of the last to be overseen by Walt Disney himself. For Disney fans, this makes it just that extra bit magical.
With Pirates of the Caribbean revitalized by the movie adaptations, it now makes for an incredible family experience, and one the whole family can share equal delight in.
The verdict is well and truly in on this one: It’s a major hit! From the early days to now, these Disney pirates have been bringing joy to all for decades.
There’s really no question about it — you need to check this one out for yourself!