After many months of refurbishment, Pirates of the Caribbean — the original Disney Parks Pirates of the Caribbean attraction — has reopened at Disneyland Resort’s Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Southern California. But after the highly-publicized trial between Captain Jack Sparrow actor Johnny Depp and his Hollywood actress ex-wife Amber Heard, did the famous pirate animatronic return with the reopening?
As popular as the franchise is, it’s sometimes hard to believe that the Pirates of the Caribbean film series is based on the beloved Disneyland attraction of the same name. Now, there are multiple Pirates of the Caribbean attractions worldwide including Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom Park, with the boat ride being a firm favorite in many Guests’ opinions.
First opening in 1967 in Disneyland Park, the popular ride finds itself in New Orleans Square — just one of the many lands within The Happiest Place On Earth, which also includes Fantasyland, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Critter Country, and Mickey’s Toontown, and Avengers Campus across the way at Disney California Adventure Park.
It’s safe to say that Pirates of the Caribbean is one of Disney Parks’ most popular attractions, made even more so in the last 20 years due to the commercial success of The Walt Disney Company’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie series starring Johnny Depp as the crafty pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow. An animatronic of Depp’s beloved character was added to a variety of scenes in 2006, and in 2017, Depp himself replaced the animatronic in one section, surprising Guests and promoting Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
The ride has undergone multiple refurbishments over the decades and was most recently closed to all Disney Park Guests on March 14, 2022. At the time, the closure was indefinite, but Guests were once more able to embark on their swash-buckling excursion from July 1, 2022.
However, despite the anticipation to ride the refurbished attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean was marred with technical difficulties on its reopening day, leading to multiple shutdowns. That did not stop the crowds and long lines from forming in New Orleans Square, however, as Deadline reported:
By midday today, the line snaked back through new Orleans Square toward the Haunted Mansion and then back across to the other side of Pirates in front of the Riverboat Terrace dining area, cutting part of the square in half. It’s unclear whether that was a function of reopening-day crowds or continuing issues with the area outside the ride.
According to the publication, the difficulties were tied to Cast Members securing the area for better crowd flow:
The ride reportedly reopened an hour late today with a 45-minute wait. One reason the ride seemingly closed was for park officials to rework the area around it for better crowd flow around the attraction, which frequently creates bottlenecks outside the gates.
Anticipation was high for the reveal of the ride after such a lengthy refurbishment, with many wondering if Disney would use the opportunity to remove Jack Sparrow from the attraction…
They haven’t, and Jack Sparrow remains a vital part of the water ride.
Johnny Depp has not been a stranger to the headlines over the last few years, and more recently, was locked in a six-week defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp was suing the actress for $50 million after she published an Op-Ed in The Washington Post in 2018, claiming to be a victim of domestic violence.
The domestic abuse controversy left him fired from his role as Sparrow and as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, but his win over Heard in Virginia has left many wondering if the actor will return as Captain Jack Sparrow. Margot Robbie’s casting says no, but a reported $301 million deal says…maybe.
For now, those wanting to see Captain Jack Sparrow can now head back to New Orleans Square and board a boat. Yo Ho.
Have you been back on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland yet? Let us know in the comments down below!
Disneyland Resort boasts two theme parks, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, as well as the Downtown Disney District. Hotels include Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.