My two favorite rides at Disneyland have always been Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. The former celebrates 40 years today. Wow! That means its only a few months younger than me. My how time flies.

Anyway, according to a press release, the ride has hosted nearly 315,000,000 guests. I wonder how many of those guests were me?

I digress again — I’ve had a cough all week and I’m a little loopy on cough syrup. (And don’t even ask me about my day job!)

So, back to this post.

Of course Pirates of the Caribbean isn’t just one of my favorite rides. Its a lot of peoples’ favorite rides, which is why it

  • Has generated pirate-themed attractions at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. (1973), at Tokyo Disneyland (1983) and at Disneyland Paris (1992).
  • Inspired a movie franchise with the Walt Disney Company’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003 — which I have on DVD) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006, which I’m still dying to see). The franchise’s third film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, will open in May.
  • Initiated the creation of “Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer’s Island” in Disneyland’s Frontierland. The reopening of the Island in May, timed to the next film’s opening, will provide guests with interactive Pirates-related experiences, new special effects, live entertainment and other atmospheric elements.

What’s more, the song that plays while you go through the ride, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” is now an integral part of pop culture. The songwriter, X Atencio, was involved as a creative contributor from the beginning of the attraction’s inception.

“After the script was done, I said to Walt that I thought we should have a little song in there,” he is quoted as saying in the press release. “It’s amazing to me how the show has lived for 40 years. It gets stronger every year. It just blows my mind.”

The press release provides this background on the ride:

    “Pirates of the Caribbean was first conceived by Walt Disney in the late 1950s when he wanted to create an attraction based on pirate adventures. Initially, it was envisioned to be a wax museum and then as a walk-through adventure as part of a new land themed to New Orleans. But ultimately, it was actualized as a ride-through adventure that utilizes the type of boat system that the “it’s a small world” attraction employs. Pirates of the Caribbean was the last theme park attraction that was personally supervised by Walt Disney before his passing a few months prior to its official opening.”