Pirates’ Booty: A Celebration of Everything Pirates

by Heather

I attended the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES #PiratesLifeEvent courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.  All opinions are strictly my own.

Have you ever wanted to be one of the cool kids? To get invited to the exclusive club? Of course you have. I was that way too. It never happened, but it was a nice fantasy. However, on the recent #PiratesLifeEvent I got to go somewhere exclusive that was pretty cool on its own.

In case you didn’t know, Disney has its own archives. Started in 1970 the Disney Archives are the keepers of all things Disney related (kind of like the Smithsonian but for Disney). They are tasked with keeping the history of the company preserved for the future. The Disney Archives is not actually open to the public, but is used as a research resource for Disney employees working on various projects. For this trip we actually got the chance to go into the Archives to see some of the history of the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride. The Archives goes through “seasons” or themes if you will and currently it is set to everything Tomorrowland.

Right now, there is a setup of an animator’s desk per Kem Weber’s 1940s design. He consulted with Walt to tailor the desk to the needs of Disney animators. Art and storyboards from some of the different spaced themed television shows that Ward Kimball, Nine Old Men, directed long before the space race began. Even a prop from the Star Wars trilogy, a Gonk Droid, that was on display at Wald Disney World.

They also have part of their merchandise collection on display. The first Mickey Mouse Watch from 1933. There are also Donald Duck figurines from the 1930s that were made from combustible materials. Seriously, if you lit a match… BOOM! Even a super cute Tinker Bell key chain but, we learned that they no longer sell it at the parks (bummer).

There is a display dedicated to 20,000 Leagues under the Sea from the 1954 film; the first sci-fi film that Walt and Disney made. Last but not least, a display of Epcot merchandise as it prepares to celebrate its 35th anniversary this October.



For Pirates of the Caribbean, the research collection holds a 23 foot miniature of the Black Pearl from the first film. As well as costumes and memorabilia that is available as needed. We were able to see two of the earlier maps, souvenir maps, that were put together before Pirates of the Caribbean became more than just a vision. Originally, there was a plan for a pirate wax museum, a pirate themed market. The plans went on a backburner when the 1964 World’s Fair celebration began.

In fact, the building where the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is located was intended to be the location of the pirate wax museum. It was to be housed in a dug out basement in the bottom of a building. Once it was decided that a ride was needed, a place where people could sit down and enjoy a bit of fun, they dug down deeper, beyond the basement and train tracks. As you entered the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, you actually go under the train tracks!


Pirates of the Caribbean was the first ride personally supervised by Walt Disney. Unfortunately, he passed away a little more than a year before the ride opened so he was unable to enjoy it but he did walk through as construction was going on. This was a project that Walt was really involved in. Mark Davis, prominent animator for Walt Disney Studios and one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, said Walt came up with the term Pirates of the Caribbean. The ride opened in 1967. The first movie, inspired by the ride, hit theaters in 2003. In 2006, Disney started adding elements from the movies into the ride; including an animatronic Captain Jack Sparrow!

Fun fact: Shanghai Disneyland has land devoted to Pirates of the Caribbean.


Before I knew it, our time at Disney Archives had come to an end. There were costumes and sketches and memorabilia everywhere. Alas, I did not come home with a spare Pirate costume or piece of original animation. This was a strictly looky, no touchy visit.

But no need to fret … then it was off to DISNEYLAND to experience Pirates of the Caribbean and a day of fun!


You guys, the park was absolutely packed. It was Senior Week in celebration of graduation … Congratulations Seniors!! But it was PACKED! We made our way to Pirates of the Caribbean and in celebration of the upcoming film release, the line was huge. Don’t worry, it moved and the conversation was great. I became better acquainted with friends on the trip, chatted a bit with people in line, and ogled the spot where Johnny Depp appeared as Jack Sparrow to greet guests before taking over his animatronics spot! Before I knew it, we were embarking on our voyage and ready to set sail.

Photo Courtesy: Disneyland
Photo Courtesy: Disneyland
Photo Courtesy: Disneyland
Photo Courtesy: Disneyland

It was SO MUCH FUN! I loved the pirates, we sang along with the songs, and I did a double take a few times when I saw Captain Jack Sparrow wondering if he was the real deal … a girl can wish! I got to sit in the front and was splashed a few times, giggled as we bumped into other boats, and enjoyed the break from the heat to soak up some AC with Johnny. All in all … a Pirates Life for ME!

Next up, lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant! The food was delicious and oh my gosh … this Lemon Blueberry Funnel Cake was to die for. Do you see the super cute Mickey?!?!


Then the true adventure began. I grabbed a few friends and then we were off to experience the park! We took in a show at the Enchanted Tiki Room, I watched my friend Ashley devour a Dole Whip (I so should have partaken), I rode the Disneyland Teacups for the FIRST TIME, and we enjoyed some good eats. Did you know that you are able to stop off and pick up a free sample of the world’s greatest sourdough bread? I wanted to go back and pick up a Mickey shaped sourdough to take home to my family but forgot. :( NEXT TIME!


Are you heading to the park soon? There is currently a PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES sneak peek that allows you to experience a 14-minute, 4D preview of the fifth film. There are also costumes and props on display!


After we were cooled off, pumped up by the Pirates theme song, and had an adult beverage :) we had a little bit of time to take in the park at dusk before heading to World of Color to close out the night. It is truly a water spectacular and one that I hope to share with my family in the near future.

In the 30 some years that I have been alive, I have been to Disneyland twice… both courtesy of a trip with Disney. The first time, I was there for Tomorrowland (#TeamTomorrowlandForever) and I left the park ready to change the world. This time, I left the park feeling like a pirate and looking for rum. Both were amazing experiences and I can’t wait to add a third time to my memories.

If you haven’t experienced Disneyland … take your family and GO!

Well! I think this has been a very good experience for all of us, eh? Spiritually? Ecumenically? Grammatically? ~ Jack Sparrow

Summer of Hereos

Photo Courtesy: Disneyland


Be sure to stop by and visit SUMMER OF HEROES

In Disney California Adventure:

Guests will enjoy some of the Super Hero experiences year-round:

  • Super Hero Encounters: For the first time, citizens of Terra (Earth) will come face-to- face with Groot.  They also may encounter the First Avenger, Captain America, and everyone’s favorite web slinger, the friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!”: Star-Lord fires up his old-school boom box to get a party started.  Everyone, including tree-of-few-words Groot, is bound to get in the groove and show off their moves during this awesome rock ‘n’ roll bash.

For a limited time (May 27 through Sept. 10), some new adventures will be exclusive to

Summer of Heroes:

  • “Avengers Training Initiative”: Black Widow and Hawkeye assemble young recruits for a series of tests to see if they have what it takes to join the ranks of the Avengers.
  • Heroic Encounter: Black Widow: Black Widow arrives on the scene several times throughout the day in an armored Avengers vehicle for her heroic encounter with park guests.
  • Grab a Piece (or Bite) of the Action: Special themed merchandise, plus food and beverage items, will be available throughout Hollywood Land.

To learn more, click HERE.





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Margot C July 21, 2017 - 4:53 pm
OMGosh, you are having the most fun life!
Linda Manns Linneman July 21, 2017 - 7:27 pm
This sounds awesome. I would love to see all of this. I am so happy you got to see this and share it with us. God Bless
Veronica Lee August 3, 2017 - 9:27 am
This sounds so fun! I would love to experience all of this!
Armando Rincon October 17, 2017 - 6:27 pm
what an amazing time you had, very nice place, want to go now

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