Long ago, in a faraway land…(Well, not really. The year was 2012 and the land was Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park.) The once-beloved Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian show was replaced by The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow. Many people have wondered why Disney made this change, especially since The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow did not last long anyway. Well, it likely has something to do with the fact that after the second Narnia film premiered in 2008, Disney decided to stop co-producing them. While the massive media company never fully disclosed why, they have stated that it was related to finances and logistics.

In 2010, the third film_–The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader_–premiered. The Walt Disney Company had no part in the making of this film. It was also a little weird and outdated to have an attraction dedicated to the second film in the franchise when the third (again, non-Disney) film was now over two years old.

However, one of the most expensive movies ever made_–Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides_–came out in 2011. Obviously, this movie was owned and produced by Disney. Unfortunately, though, it was not as successful as the company had hoped. It is likely that Disney decided to replace Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian with a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed attraction to help promote the movie they had spent so much money on. Although, the true reason has never been officially revealed by Disney. It is just our assumption based on the circumstances that surrounded it.

To enjoy this attraction guests had to venture past the animation courtyard into the back of the park. Guests walked into a large blue building displaying a giant skull with a map and a script that says “The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.” Once inside, guests faced a wooden door with a skull and swords crossed over each other embedded on the door.

The skull comes to life and says, “Ye come seekin’ adventure in salty ol’ pirates, ay? You’ve come to the proper place.” If you didn’t notice, that is the same first line said by the talking skull at the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland Park. Thought they would sneak that passed us? Not a chance! The skull is voiced by James Arnold Taylor–who later voiced the new on-ride-photo-taking-talking-skull in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Magic Kingdom. *Theory: Each skull–the one in Disneyland and the two in these above-mentioned Disney World attractions–is all voiced by the same actor and they use similar phrasing. These skulls must have all belonged to the same person: a dead man, who does tell tales! But, who is it? We may never know.*

The talking skull recruits guests to join Captain Jack Sparrow’s crew. Then, guests head inside the theatre designed to look like a cave, similar to the caves at the beginning of the Magic Kingdom ride. The bow of the Black Pearl takes up most of the stage. The talking skull appears again, this time in the sky, to start our training. During the process, we fight skeletons, Davy Jones’ Kraken, and resist the temptation of a singing siren. Each of these scenes was achieved with cool special effects and projections. Once we had conquered each of these tasks, we passed the test! Captain Jack Sparrow then shows up via a very lifelike projection. Johnny Depp himself reprises his role as the famous pirate in this attraction, to make sure it feels authentic.

Captain Jack fights Davy Jones with the help of his new crew (us). With the new crew’s help, the Flying Dutchmen–Davy Jones's ship–is sunk by Jack. After the battle is won, the show concludes with everyone singing “Yo Ho! A Pirate’s Life for Me” led by the Captain himself. As guests exit the building, the talking skull says his final line, “This is the day you will always remember as the day you’ve sailed with Captain Jack Sparrow.” Fans of the movies would notice that this is a variation of Jack’s catchphrase: “This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow.”

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow experience did not even last for two full years before it was shut down. The reason being that it was extremely unpopular. On Yelp, the highest ratings the attraction received were only 3 stars. Some of the reviewers claimed it was the worst attraction they had experienced at Disney Park. Yikes!

The three-dimensional special effects were really advanced and impressive. However, guests were just too unhappy with the two-dimensional plot to enjoy them.

With no other ideas and not a lot of money to replace it, the building sat empty and basically untouched for the next four years. In 2018, the area was replaced by Toy Story Land.