Disney Repeatedly Removes Iconic Pirates of the Caribbean Animatronic

in Disney Parks

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow with the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction entrance in the background at Walt Disney World

Credit: Inside The Magic

Do you think you would be able to ride a Disney attraction like Haunted Mansion or “it’s a small world” and notice if one of the animatronic’s went missing?

Pirates in jail on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World
Credit: Disney

At the Disney parks, certain characters have become iconic to rides. Take Pirates of the Caribbean, for example. 

There are certain characters, such as the female pirate Red, who commands the “auction” scene, who would be noticeably missing if Disney removed her. Even less demanding roles, like the pirate who rolls with the pigs and isn’t heavily lit, would be a noticeable miss for guests who have been on the attraction before.

Another issue that occurs when an animatronic is removed is that their audio is typically not. This is because it is all a part of a looping track that plays throughout the entire attraction for thousands of guests daily.

This is what makes Pirates of the Caribbean a very tough attraction to remove characters from, as there are hundreds of characters in the ride.

The ride has been incredibly popular since its inception, and now, Pirates of the Caribbean has a home at every single Disney resort around the world, making it an icon of an attraction and a story that is now globally known.

Pirates of the Caribbean
Credit: Disney

Now, Pirates of the Caribbean follows Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp’s iconic pirate character in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, featuring multiple animatronics that looks just like the Hollywood star. That being said, one animatronic has now been reported as removed or missing.

Pirates of the Caribbean can be found at Disneyland Park in New Orleans Square. The ride opened in 1967 and has been a hit ever since its major debut. So much so that nearly every Disney Park has adapted the attraction in a different way, and a massive film franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean, has made copious amounts of money at the box office starring Johnny Depp as the now-iconic Jack Sparrow. The character was so popular in the films, that the attractions added him into the storyline.

Interestingly enough, Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland, “was originally conceived as a wax museum and a walk-through adventure. But following the success of Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Walt Disney and his team of Imagineers decided that audio-animatronics, his latest animation technology, was the most imaginative way to tell a rousing pirate story.”

Because of the highlight and detailed process of the animatronics on the attraction, many guests have grown to love all the characters that they can find in the story of the ride.

pirates of the caribbean ride exterior
Credit: Disney

Most recently, at Walt Disney World Resort in Magic Kingdom, the character of Red was added in to avoid having the woman being auctioned off, which has been a controversial subject for some. Guests can also spot Jack Sparrow multiple times as the Johnny Depp-inspired animatronic appears throughout the ride.

Depp’s appearance in the attraction was once beloved, but as of late, has drawn some controversy due to his trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, who accused the actor of abusing her. 

Johnny Depp has certainly had a rough go as of late. The actor who has been known for so many iconic roles from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to the iconic Edward Scissorhands film, to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, to Coraline, and even hit start on the hit series 21 Jump Street.

Nothing could have prepped Depp for the success he would find as Captain Jack Sparrow. 

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean
Credit: Disney

Johnny Depp has been in the spotlight more than usual over the past few years as he and his ex-wife Amber Heard have been battling against each other in a lawsuit that defamed Depp, alleging he was abusive towards the Aquaman star. Heard recorded moments of arguments with Depp, showing him yelling, hitting cabinets, and consuming alcohol. Heard stated that Depp had pulled her hair, thrown her down, bruised her back, and more. Of course, we know now that Johnny Depp was proven to be innocent, making Heard out to be the liar.

Heard may not have won legally, but she certainly won in destroying Depp’s career. As we mentioned, Johnny Depp’s largest franchise is Pirates of the Caribbean, where he plays the swashbuckling, rum-drinking, Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp began the franchise with Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003), alongside co-stars Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. The film was a huge box-office success—it grossed $654.3 million.

That lead to several more films, including Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), and Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017). Although some actors did not stick it out through the entire series, Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow has remained the leading character for years.

Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow on ride
Credit: Disney

During the period of allegations, Disney did give Depp the boot from the franchise, removing him as Jack Sparrow entirely. This sent many Pirates of the Caribbean fans in an angry spiral, with some boycotting the franchise and others starting petitions.

In the past, Depp revealed that not even for $300 million would he return to Disney. During his trial, it was quoted, “The fact is, Mr. Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas, nothing on this earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film? Correct?” the lawyer asked. “That is true, Mr. Rottenborn,” Depp replied.

Disney has even gone as far as to remove Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise, replacing the pirate with Mickey Mouse. It is clear that although the character dominates the attractions worldwide, and still appears as a meet and greet character, Disney is steering away of reproducing his likeness following their decision to remove him from the franchise.

At the moment, the animatronic is still in place in the Disneyland attraction and all other Pirates of the Caribbean attractions.

But, there is one animatronic that has been playing hide and seek as of late. 

During the cannon sequence, there is meant to be a pirate manning the cannons; he actually has audio, so guests are meant to look at him. We saw the animatronic go missing weeks ago, and then, he returned.

Guests riding a Pirates of the Caribbean boat at Tokyo Disneyland.
Credit: Tokyo Disneyland

Now, just a few days ago, the character was reported as no longer there. 

One Disney guest responded to the original post online, noting that although he returned, there have been further mechanical issues which forced Disney to remove the character again.

The guest said, “Someone said they put him back a few days ago. he must still be having mechanical issues so they took him back out for more repairs.

It happens. The drunk pirate on the bridge was gone for some time, Carlos’ wife in the window was gone for a couple months, Old Bill and his cats were out for some time, the dog with the singing pirate trio was out for a month or more. ….and that’s all within the last year or so.”

Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

Many noted that it has been odd to ride the attraction hear the character’s voice, but not have him there. For now, we can just pretend that one of the grim-grinning ghosts took over the cannon duties.

The animatronic will likely return to the attraction shortly, but it would not be too surprising to see another disappear for maintenance to be done.

Do you think Disney will be replacing Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at Disney?

Are you looking to visit Disneyland? Considering Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California, is the first ever theme park, and the only one that Walt Disney himself was able to walk through, it holds a magical spot in all of our Disney-loving hearts. Seeing Sleeping Beauty Castle is a picture-perfect moment; there is so much to do! When it comes to attractions, Guests can enjoy the spooky adventures in The Haunted Mansion during the year and Haunted Mansion Holiday (featuring the characters from Nightmare Before Christmas) during the holiday season. Pirates of the Caribbean will take you on a swashbuckling journey, and Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain provide thrills like no other. Classic rides like Matterhorn Bobsleds, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Snow White’s Enchanted Wish are a must, and dining is excellent with stand-out locations like Blue Bayou and Carnation Cafe. Want to start booking so you can see Mickey Mouse in his home in Toontown? The Disneyland website has everything you need to know about the Disneyland app, hotels, tickets, and the Disney Genie+ service. Click here to check it out. 




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