Disney's most iconic ride is home to plenty of fascinating secrets! Pirates of the Caribbean is an indoor boat ride that immerses guests in the swashbuckling world of pirates before sending them down a fun drop. 

There are a total of five Pirates of the Caribbean rides around the world: Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland. Each follows a similar theme, though all the rides have something that makes them unique.

It’s one of the many Disney attractions that has garnered a cult following over the years – how many of these Pirates of the Caribbean ride facts do you know?

Fun Facts About the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

The Attraction Was Originally a Wax Museum

pirates of the caribbean ride disney

It might be one of the most famous water rides in the world, but the attraction was originally intended to be a walk-through wax museum. However, thanks to the success of It’s a Small World at the 1964 New York World Fair, Disney decided to employ the same ride system on Pirates.

This evolved into the ride we know (and love) today. The attraction's development team worked tirelessly to ensure it lived up to Walt's high standards, resulting in one of the most entertaining and iconic rides in the park.

This Was Walt Disney’s Final Ride

Pirates has a special place in many Disney fans’ hearts as it was the final ride overseen by Walt Disney before he died in 1966. Walt helped to design the original attraction, which eventually debuted in March 1967, a couple of months after Walt passed away.

Some of the Most Iconic Imagineers Worked On the Attraction

pirates of the caribbean ride disney

Pirates of the Caribbean was created by a group of Disney’s legendary Imagineers: Marc Davis, X Atencio, Claude Coats, and Yale Gracey. In particular, Bruns and Atencio are famed for creating the song “A Pirate’s Life for Me” which was written for the ride and has since become a memorable earworm.

Most of the above Imagineers also worked on the Haunted Mansion. Next time you visit Disneyland, make sure you check out the gravestones in the queue line as you’ll notice they sport the names of Yale Gracey and Marc Davis. 

Hong Kong Disneyland Does Not Have a Pirates Ride

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most popular rides in Disney history… but Hong Kong Disneyland is the only Magic Kingdom-style park not to boast this attraction. Why? Nobody quite knows why, especially since an iteration of the ride was planned for Hong Kong.

Retired Imagineer Jim Shull has previously shared concept art for the ride, which was planned to have a thrilling Tiana’s Bayou Adventure-style drop.

The Original Ride is the Longest

Each of the Pirate of the Caribbean rides might be similar in storyline, but they vary wildly in length. The original Disneyland ride (15:30 minutes) is almost double the length of the attraction at Magic Kingdom (8:30 minutes.) Elsewhere, the Tokyo version is 9:30 minutes long, Shanghai’s is 8 minutes, and you’ll be sailing the high seas for just over 10 minutes at Disneyland Paris.

The Rides Feature Different Drops

pirates of the caribbean ride disney

If you’ve visited numerous Disney parks, you might already know the next fun fact about Pirates of the Caribbean – the rides contain a different number of drops. You’ll experience two drops in Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, while all other versions contain one. Shanghai’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is the most unique Pirates attraction and features a thrilling backward drop.

The Ride Inspired the Movie

Unlike most of the rides in Disney parks around the world, Pirates of the Caribbean actually inspired the movie (and not the other way around.) Captain Jack Sparrow was added to the ride after the success of the franchise – models of the pirate debuted soon after Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

If you enjoyed these facts, check out our guide to the two quintessential Disney rides: Haunted Mansion vs Pirates of the Caribbean!