Disney Proposes Original Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction Demolition

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort

Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland

Credit: Disney

Is Disneyland gearing up to say goodbye to Pirates of the Caribbean?

Credit: Attractions 360

The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland was inspired by various sources, such as historical pirate lore and legends. Walt Disney himself played a significant role in its development, envisioning an immersive experience that would transport guests into the world of pirates. His ride would be built on such a large scale that guests would feel like they are really being transported into what felt like a real-life movie set.

The attraction opened on March 18, 1967, and quickly became one of the most popular rides at Disneyland. It was a groundbreaking achievement in theme park entertainment, featuring innovative audio-animatronic technology and elaborate set designs, and still stands as one of the best rides in the theme park today.

Its popularity has even skyrocketed high enough to add it to the list of Disney Genie+ attractions for Lightning Lane access.

Pirate on Pirates of the Caribbean attraction
Credit: Disney

The ride takes guests on a journey through a Caribbean port town overrun by pirates, featuring scenes of pillaging, plundering, and swashbuckling adventures. Memorable characters such as Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Captain Barbossa from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series were later added to the attraction to enhance the storytelling experience.

Now, during the recent DisneylandForward update, it was noted that certain Cultural and Historical Resources should not be impacted, but if plans evolve, demolition could be an option. One of those resources was Pirates of the Caribbean.

Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

One Disney fan shared a lot of the news that came from the Anaheim City Planning Commission meeting that Disney needed to clear in order to continue moving forward with DisneylandForward. Among the plethora of news, Mousegamer (@Mousegamer) said, “Disneyland Railroad Station, Hungry Bear Restaurant, and Pirates of the Caribbean are all historic landmarks that may be impacted by Disneyland Forward. They stress that these are NOT planned to be impacted but that plans may evolve and result in “alteration or demolition”

In a later post, Mousegamer clarified, “(No, I don’t think they plan to alter these as-is. They’re required to mention this due to alterations taking place in the direct vicinity of Disneyland Park’s bounds… which IS interesting)”. That being said, the need to reference the possibility of change due to DisneylandForward on these attractions certainly has fans curious as to what changes will be happening in the area.

Just yesterday, with a 5-1 vote, the Anaheim City Planning Commission approved forwarding the DisneylandForward plan to the full City Council. This initiative, proposed by the corporation, outlines a transformative vision for Walt Disney’s original theme park spanning several decades. It entails the addition of mixed-use amenities and attractions to enhance the overall experience.

DisneylandForward aerial concept art
Credit: Disney

The DisneylandForward website maintains that “…while those plans resulted in major improvements to the entire Anaheim Resort, their ‘traditional’ district/zone approach does not allow for the diverse, integrated experiences theme park visitors now seek, severely limiting Disney’s ability to continue investing in Anaheim.”

What the resort needs, the site maintains, is flexibility.

“Today hotel, theme park, retail and dining are all part of one immersive experience. Guests expect that the future of entertainment will seamlessly weave all uses together in ways that were hard to imagine more than 25 years ago when the city created these specific plans.”

As part of the agreement, Disney would commit to providing the city with $30 million earmarked for affordable housing, $8 million designated for parks, and $35 million allocated for road improvements in the vicinity.

Concept art of DisneylandForward (Disneland expansion project) inspired by Disney's 'Tangled'
Credit: DisneylandForward

On DisneylandForward.com, the statements on the future development of the $2.5 billion expansion share the potential for new lands and adventures akin to those already captivating guests at Tokyo DisneySea and Shanghai Disneyland.

Mentioned examples include a Frozen-themed land, along with attractions inspired by Tangled and Peter Pan for the original park (as we will soon see with Fantasy Springs opening at Tokyo DisneySea), while Disney’s California Adventure might see additions such as elements from Zootopia, Tron, and Toy Story.

It’s important to note that these are merely examples, and Disney executives have yet to finalize any plans. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger did confirm the imminent arrival of a new land based on the Avatar franchise at Disneyland.

Concept art for DisneylandForward
Credit: Disney

DisneylandForward is also set to provide many environmental benefits as well as thousands of new jobs for the city of Anaheim.

The LA Times shared a quote from Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort, who said at the meeting before the vote, “Together we are unequivocally making history, just like Walt Disney did almost 70 years ago with the city of Anaheim and Disneyland. It’s a tremendous responsibility for all of us and a privilege to be a steward of this vision for this very, very special place.”

Based on Disneyland’s current expansion plan, it does not seem that Pirates of the Caribbean will be too heavily affected; however, as Disney noted, things could change, and with Johnny Depp being booted from the franchise, an “alteration” of his animatronics could be in the cards.

Would you be upset if Disney ever demolished Pirates of the Caribbean? 

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