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The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is still one of the most popular attractions at the Disney parks. It was the last attraction Walt Disney himself worked on, and the first big-budget, large-scale immersive dark ride in theme park history.
It inspired many other theme park attractions like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance and made the industry what it is today.
There are two renditions of Pirates of the Caribbean in the USA. They’re similar in a lot of ways, but there are a few striking differences between the two, which raises the question: Which one did it better? Disney World or Disneyland?
We’ll look at each of the major disparities between the attractions, starting at the entrance and ending at the exit, then see which rendition comes out on top.
Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland is located in New Orleans Square, right next to Tarzan’s Treehouse in Adventureland. You would expect they’d build it in Adventureland, as pirates fit the “adventure” genre better.
I like that it starts in a dark, ominous bayou. It sets the mood of the ride and is a great introduction before you drop into the pirate world.
It was an interesting and unexpected route to take for a pirate themed ride, and it works very well, even if it doesn’t necessarily feel piraty.
Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney World is located at Magic Kingdom in Adventureland, a much better fit for a pirate themed ride.
Overall, the setting fits the ride much better. The queue takes place in a Spanish fort instead of a pier on a bayou. They have pirate decorations, like cannons, skeletons and crow’s nests. Disneyland’s version has some pirate decorations, but not nearly as many.
I like the mood the Disneyland version sets, but in Disney World, the location and setting fit the story much better.
Winner: Disney World
Queue for Pirates of the Caribbean
I like that the queue takes place on a pier, and as I said in the last section, the queue sets up a great atmosphere. However, there really isn’t much to look at, besides a few paintings and some other pirate decorations.
Again, the queue sets the mood much better. It’s fun exploring all the different passageways in the fort, and overall, there’s lots more to look at.
Winner: Disney World
One major difference between the two renditions is Disney World’s does not include the scene where you float through the Bayou. This was the right decision in some ways, as the WDW version is in Adventureland, not New Orleans Square, so it makes sense.
Still, the Bayou scene is one of the best parts of the Disneyland version. The dim lights, the crickets chirping, hearing people dine in the Blue Bayou restaurant, and the banjo music create a great, ominous atmosphere.
The Haunted Caves
The cave scene is about twice as long, with lots of extra gags and sets, so it already has an advantage over Disney World.
Overall, the sets feel bigger – plus, there’s an extra drop.
This version only has two out of the five skeleton scenes from Disneyland. It’s missing the two skeletons drinking, the skeleton in the bed, and the skeleton on the pile of treasure.
However, I will say the cave looks more realistic at Disney World. Maybe this is just me, but while I don’t think it looks bad, the cave walls seem a little fake in Disneyland’s version.
Disneyland gets the point though, as the cave scene is much longer.
The Falling Roof And Cellar
From the pirate ship battle to the prison cell scene, the two rides are pretty much identical, besides some moved or missing props here and there.
After the prison cell scene in the WDW version, the ride pretty much ends there and then, besides the part where Jack Sparrow sings in a room full of treasure.
In Disneyland, they have two extra scenes, one where the roof above is on the verge of collapse and another where drunk pirates fire their guns willy nilly in a cellar full of explosives.
The two scenes are very tense. The roof really looks like it’s going to fall on you and I always brace myself whenever one of the pirates shoots their guns.
Another difference I’ll mention is while the Disney World version stops here, the Disneyland version climbs back up to ground level, and the boats make their way back to the boarding station.
I actually like the climb back up, as the voice-over from Davy Jones and Blackbeard that plays over it gives the ride a sense of closure. The ending in the WDW renditions feels abrupt.
I’m giving this one to Disneyland, given that it has these extra scenes.
Duration of Pirates of the Caribbean Ride
The Disneyland version is almost twice as long as the Disney World version. The longer duration can either be pro or con, depending on who you ask.
15 minutes is a long time for a dark ride, especially one that’s so slow. You stay in the scenes for a long time, and after a while, the scene get boring. I’d say I’m less inclined to ride this version than the one in WDW, seen as it can be very slow. Those slow scenes can be grueling to reride.
Still, I love the extra stuff they added. The bayou and cave scene go on for a while, but they’re very good and I wouldn’t take them out.
Verdict – Which is the Best Pirates of the Caribbean Ride?
The version in Walt Disney World is great, but the Disneyland version wins the prize, seen as it’s much longer. The queue and storytelling is better at WDW, but the one in Disneyland is like an extended version of the Disney World version.
Which Pirates of the Caribbean do you think is better?
You may also like Pirates of the Caribbean Suite.