AttractionsDisneyland (CA)

Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean — Better Know An Attraction

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pirate chess

What is Pirates of the Caribbean?

Pirates of the Caribbean is a boat-based dark ride, where you float slowly through various scenes highlighting pirates doing their pirate thing. The attraction is notable in that it begins and ends in a space shared by Blue Bayou restaurant; the ride will start in the bayou, descend to caves filled with pirate treasure, and then take you through a pirate raid of a settlement and the resulting merriment as the pirates enjoy the spoils. It does feature Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa from the movie series of the same name.

sparrow disneyland pirates

Where is Pirates of the Caribbean?

Pirates of the Caribbean is located at the Entrance to New Orleans Square, just past Tarzan’s Tree House. Note that the entrance is actually down below and to the right coming from the east through Adventureland, where Adventureland, New Orleans Square and even Frontierland converge. The fastest path from the park entrance is highlighted on the map below.

map to pirates

Pirates of the Caribbean History

Originally envisioned as a wax museum, Pirates of the Caribbean was first opened March 18, 1967 at Disneyland as the boat ride we know today, and was the first of an attraction line that exists at the Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. (There is also a Pirates-based ride at Shanghai Disneyland, but it’s based upon the movie series and isn’t really a version of the original to the same extent as the others.) It is notable as the last Disneyland attraction to have been personally overseen by Walt Disney himself. (Walt sadly passed 3 months prior to the attraction’s opening.)

The attraction has seen a handful of modifications over its many years of operation. One of the more noteworthy additions was to add Captain Jack Sparrow to the attraction, which occurred in 2006.  Additionally, there was a significant change fairly recently where the “wench auction” scene was replaced with a scene where a female pirate was auctioning off loot. On a related note, the “pirate chase” scene was changed in 1997 to make it clear that the pirates chasing the women weren’t lustful, they were simply hungry.

What You Need to Know About the Pirates of the Caribbean Queue

The queue for Pirates of the Caribbean is largely a series of basic outdoor switchbacks, though the final portion of the queue is indoors. There are usually two lines operating, but the difference between the two is negligible, so choose either side. Guests in wheelchairs and ECVs will need to enter through the exit, as using the standby queue will result in the chair being on the wrong side of the water when you exit the attraction.

What is the Ride Experience Like for Pirates of the Caribbean?

The majority of the ride is a slow-moving boat ride, though there are two drops where the boat will be moving faster, one of which is entirely in the dark. You may get spritzed with a little water on the drops, but it isn’t really a “you might get wet” kind of attraction along the lines of Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run. While the drops are not huge, they aren’t tiny, either,and the ride is dark with some loud noises. It is a ride intended for all guests and should be within the comfort level of most children, but it’s worth being aware of if your little ones are extra sensitive.

pirates disneyland

What are the Ride Vehicles Like for Pirates of the Caribbean?

Pirates of the Caribbean puts you in a boat with several rows of bench seating. There is no restraint, you simply sit in the boat and ride (which should tell you something about the intensity level of the aforementioned drops). The boats will not accommodate wheelchairs or ECVs.

What You Need to Know About Accessibility for Pirates of the Caribbean

Guests do need to be able to transfer into the ride vehicle to be able to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Guests in wheelchairs and ECVs should enter through the exit and be directed by a cast member where to go for loading from a wheelchair/ECV.  Aids for visually and hearing impaired people are available; consult Guest Relations for more details.

What You Need to Know About Health and Safety Warnings for Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean does not carry any special safety warnings and is intended to be appropriate for all audiences. 

What are the Height Restrictions for Pirates of the Caribbean?

There are no height restrictions for Pirates of the Caribbean, but guests under 7 must be accompanied by someone 14 or older.

Does Pirates of the Caribbean Offer FastPass?


Does Weather Affect Pirates of the Caribbean?

The attraction is indoors and will run rain or shine. The final portion of the queue is indoors, but a significant amount of it is outdoors. There is some shade in parts, but it’s not really covered, and if it’s raining, you’re going to get wet.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Experience Pirates of the Caribbean?

Pirates of the Caribbean is a major, beloved attraction and will generate long lines, particularly in the middle of the day. You should target the first couple of hours the park is open, or after about 4:30 or so for the shortest waits. On the up side, the ride loads quickly and the line often looks worse than it is. Expected wait times on a crowd-level basis are noted below, but be sure to check out the expected wait time for the date you intend to be there.

wait chart



What’s your favorite part of Pirates of the Caribbean? Is it on your must list? Let us know in the comments!

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Jamie Rosemergy

When not planning for or traveling to Walt Disney World with his beautiful wife and impossibly adorable child, James practices law in St. Louis. He also really likes cheese -- and loathes kale. He can be found on twitter at @jrtoastyman.

One thought on “Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean — Better Know An Attraction

  • Re: the “pirate chase” scene, there was much mainstream attention and mockery when the changes were made in the 90’s. Instead of the pirates chasing after women, the pirates were chasing after women HOLDING TRAYS OF FOOD.

    The scene was changed again some years later to ZERO mainstream attention. The women now chase after the pirates, who have stolen their stuff and carry armloads of plunder. This still avoids the implications of the original version of the scene, without the ridiculous “those guys must be hungry!” conceit.


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