Housed in a tiled-roof building based on Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Disney’s technological prowess as of the 1960s is showcased here at its most whimsical. I call this indoor boat float the quintessential Disney ride, so it’s probably no coincidence that it was the last Disneyland attraction Walt had a hand in designing, even though he originally conceived it as a walk-through wax museum. With 65 Audio-Animatronic figures in motion, the more you ride, the more you see: the pirate whose errant gunshot ricochets off a metal sign across the room, the whoosh of compressed air when a cannonball is fired, and the sumptuous theatrical lighting that makes everything look as if has been imported from Jamaica. If you saw the Johnny Depp movies of the same name, you’ll see a few familiar scenes, including a slapstick sacking of an island port, a cannonball fight, and much drunken chicanery from ruddy-cheeked buccaneers. (Unsavory? Hey, even Captain Hook was obsessed with murdering a small boy.) There’s a short, pitch-black drop near the beginning but you don’t get wet—the concept, which you’d never grasp unless I told you, is that you’re going back in time to see what killed some skeletons you pass in the very first scene. Near the end of the 9-minute journey, there’s usually a pileup of boats waiting to disembark, which supplies more time to admire the pièce de résistance: A brilliantly lifelike Captain Jack Sparrow, having outlived his compatriots, is counting his treasure. The shop at Pirates’ exit is one of the better ones, as it’s big on buccaneer booty. Plastic hooks to cover your hand cost just $3, and a plastic cutlass is $7. The Pirates League salon (reservations: [tel] 407/939-2739) gives pirate makeovers (temporary tattoos, stubble) to kids from $30. It’ll also do empresses and mermaids for $43. On the stage across the lane, catch the intermittent Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial, where a few volunteer children are taught by Sparrow (wobbly drunk, bleary with mascara) to parry with a Smee-like sidekick using a harmless, floppy sword—and then flee.
Magic Kingdom› Attraction
Pirates of the Caribbean