Thursday, February 05, 2009

It’s Official: Pirates of the Caribbean wins

My most recent survey on Daveland was a poll of favorite attractions at Disneyland; I was surprised to see that Pirates of the Caribbean inched ahead of the Haunted Mansion for top honors. Indiana Jones trailed behind with a distant third; Peter Pan, The Disneyland Railroad, and Space Mountain tied for 3rd. Ironically, small world, the attraction that has caused the most uproar in the last year, only beat one other attraction, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. In honor of POTC’s victory, I will dedicate the next few posts to this classic attraction located in New Orleans Square. The first two views show the attraction building without the overpass bridge that was created to help alleviate foot traffic during Fantasmic!; nothing but concrete for days, it seems!

This 1993 shot shows the revised entrance queue:

And one from May 2004:

POTC was the last Disneyland attraction that Walt worked on personally. It’s grand opening on March 18, 1967 occurred after he’d already passed away. At the time, it was the park’s most ambitious audio-animatronic endeavor, full of life-like figures that bore the genius comic stamp of Marc Davis. Through the years, this attraction has undergone a few changes, most notably the 1997 “politically-correct” removal of a naked lass in a barrel and the 2006 Jack Sparrow movie-tie-in additions. Some 40 years later, it remains a classic that still causes traffic jams in New Orleans Square and causes guests to gawk at the spectacular visual quality, comic-storytelling, and attention to detail that is uniquely Disney. So, without further adieu, here is a trip through this #1 Daveland Poll Disneyland Attraction! For further simulation of the actual experience, you might want to play everyone’s favorite pirate tune by X. Atencio, “A Pirate’s Life For Me.”

As you travel through the queue, you’ll see paintings on the wall of some of the more notable POTC characters, including Jack Sparrow:

You’ll be departing on the next boat from Laffite’s Landing as soon as it arrives:

Traveling through the dark and murky waters, you’ll see the twinkle of fireflies and hear the clinking of glasses mixed with conversation as you glide by the Blue Bayou restaurant (the Monte Cristo sandwich is not to be missed!):

A man is on his porch, enjoying his pipe and rocking chair while the tune “Oh Susannah” is played by a banjo that is just out of sight:

Things get a little darker, and your boat pauses to hear the warnings of the Jolly Roger: “Dead Men Tell No Tales!”

A few tumbles down some waterfalls and your boat emerges unscathed, taking you through the eerie blue light of the grotto, where skeletons, gulls, and crabs are all that remain of the former inhabitants.

Lightning reveals this poor soul who is perpetually steering his wrecked ship through a storm:

This delightfully saucy painting by Marc Davis is located in the grotto’s pub, where skeletons play chess and guzzle wine for all eternity:

The captain in his quarters, still looking for his treasure:

How many little varmints have departed their boat in hopes for a souvenir from this treasure room?

And here’s another warning, this time from Davy Jones: come back tomorrow for more images from this beloved attraction, or else!

For Mr. Mouse Monthly who has come a bit late to the party (but still very welcome!), here's a closeup of the signage from photo #1:

See more Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean photos at my website.


Katella Gate said...

Wow, you really knocked yourself out on this posting! Thanks.

And three cheers for the Monte Cristo sandwich. I think Blue Bayou is the last place in heath-conscious SoCal that still serves it.

... I wonder if I still have that deep fryer from the 1960's??

Daveland said...

The Café Orleans still serves the Monte Cristo (as well as a veggie version I believe), but it just doesn't taste the same without the fireflies and moonlight. I still lament the demise of the fried cheesecake from the Blue Bayou—talk about a food coma!

Major Pepperidge said...

I miss the way the exterior looked without the Disney Gallery overpass (and now I miss the Gallery!). Your photos look really great, must have been tricky in such a dark environment.

Rebecca Wood said...

I NEED your help. You have the most useable photos of Disneyland that I have seen on the web! I am a boy scout leader in Idaho and i am in charge of decorating for the big blue and gold banquet this month. The theme is "A B See the World" and we chose Disneyland. I am wanting to find full on pictures of each side of main street to have blown up to line each side of the gym that I am decorating. Most of these boys have never been and probably will never go to Disneyland, so in my meager budget, I am trying to bring a little of that magic here. Can you help? please e-mail me

Rebecca Wood

Tricia Rennea (sometimes Daisy) said...

Oh wow.

For some reason the way it looked before the overpass looks spooky to me, there is a "haunted house" feeling to it.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmmmm. Monte Cristo at the Blue Bayou!

Katella Gate said...

I've said it twice, so I'll say it thrice: I think the "overpass" created more problems than it solved.

TokyoMagic! said...

I've had the flu, so I'm commenting late on this post....

Dave, EXCELLENT close-up shots!!!

I agree 100% with Katella Gate. How did that overpass solve the traffic flow? And if that is why they built it, then why did they go and put the entrance to Tarzan's Treehouse right smack in the MIDDLE of the walkway??? I have NEVER understood that one!

Mr. Mouse Monthly said...

Great pics of POTC! I couldn't remember what the entrance looked like before the bridge was constructed.

The second pic shows a turnstile on the far left; probably the exit for Swiss Family Treehouse. It's an interesting reminder that they used tickets for each attraction back in the day.

There are is a great, colorful sign post on the right side of the first pic. I know it's been a long time since you posted this, but would you happen to have a close-up? I'm a sign geek too.

Unknown said...

How crazy, I never knew there was a time where the overpass wasn't there! It just feels like it's always been there, but it certainly looked much nicer without it :( I do like the fountain area with the overpass but that's about it. Ah well, we still have the great ride that's all that matters! Happy 50th birthday Pirates!! :D