MKM Recap: “Pirates of the Caribbean” 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend

We had so much fun celebrating Pirates of the Caribbean’s 50th Anniversary this weekend! Pirates is one of our favorite attractions of all time and Disneyland just wouldn’t be the same without it! We grew up loving this ride and have lots of memories of singing “Yo Ho, Yo Ho A Pirate’s Life For Me,” to Disney’s Sing Along Songs (remember those?!), but there’s one story in particular that we will never forget when we think of Pirates of the Caribbean… the time that Emily wet her pants at 4 years old on our Grandma’s lap while going down the first drop (sorry, Gam)! HA! Happy to report that we haven’t had any of those incidents with our kids (yet)!

A quick “Pirates of the Caribbean” history lesson: One thing that makes Pirates of the Caribbean so special (and gets us a little misty-eyed) is that it was the last attraction Walt Disney helped design before he passed in December of 1966 (the attraction opened on March 18, 1967). The attraction was initially set to be a walk-through experience featuring wax figures, but after the It’s a Small World boat ride was so successful after its 1964 opening, the idea of a pirate boat ride made sense.

We’re just so glad this attraction exists! It’s been so fun to see how much our kids love it now! They have been going on it with us since they were teeny babes that slept in their Solly Wraps through the entire thing. We think all those boat rides have been engrained in their baby memories (haha) and now they ask to go on it all the time! This is also a great ride to nurse on because it’s about 16 minutes long, it’s dark and the gentle movement of the boat is soothing.

Below are some photos of our experience at this special anniversary weekend! The last day of the festivities is tomorrow, Sunday, 3/19. A lot of people have asked us what is new on the inside of the attraction and honestly, there was nothing that majorly stood out to us. The ride did undergo some updates and refurbishments, but the biggest one (which we heard about from a manager walking around near pirates) was that 3 new water pumps were installed! Super exciting stuff! HA!

Lost Treasure Beignets dusted with gold & lemon sugar from the Mint Julep Bar and Cafe Orleans and the Golden Churros dusted with gold & lemon sugar! Both were amazing. 

Pictured on the left is a Lost Treasure Beignet and the Caribbean Breakfast Burrito, filled with scrambled eggs, Andouille sausage, rice, sweet potatoes, black beans and cheddar cheese from The Mint Julep Bar and on the right, the Buccaneer Pulled Pork Sandwich is piled high with jerk-spiced pork, topped with sweet and tangy barbecue sauce and pineapple Caribbean-style slaw, and served with fried yucca and the Jolly Roger Punch featuring a blend of tropical pineapple, orange and mango juices from French Market Restaurant (Jolly Roger Punch also at The Mint Julep Bar). We think the Jolly Roger Punch should be a permanent option! We loved it!


Drink up me hearties YO HO! Behold, the very popular, limited edition Pirates of the Caribbean stein from The Mint Julep Bar, Cafe Orleans, French Market Restaurant and Royal Street Veranda. 

Captain Jack Sparrow graced everyone with his presence as he strolled along the Rivers of America in New Orleans Square today! We were slightly disappointed it wasn’t actually Johnny Depp. HA! Yes, it did cross our mind that he MIGHT be there dressed up…dreaming.

There was also some fun pirate entertainment from The Bootstrappers and Lucky the Pirate!

50th anniversary freebies! On the left is the button each guest received upon entry into Disneyland and on the right are temporary tattoos Cast Members were giving away in New Orleans Square. So fun!


Whenever Disneyland has a special event (or limited time parade, etc), they typically have these signs guests can hold to snap photos with!


Swords seemed like a good idea to “get into the mood” of the day, but we quickly regretted it! HAHA! Injuries, aggressive fighting and nearly hitting every poor passerby as we walked through the parks. Oops. We actually love these swords for kiddos because they’re one of the cheaper souvenirs (about $7), but maybe not the best option for active/wild toddler boys at a crowded place like Disneyland! HA!


We also love that the handle of the sword looks like the Disneyland “D!” We aren’t sure if that was intentional, but it’s pretty awesome! Also, we thought this shirt was very appropriate for our Pirates day on Friday. You can find it here (Target for the win)!



Front of the Annual Pass shirt (shirt for non-Annual Passholders is basically the same, but red) available at Disneyana on Main Street. 


Back of the Annual Passholder tee.


Happy little dude enjoying the life of a pirate for the weekend!


Our Magic Kingdom Mamas Tumbler is for pirates, too! 

The Limited Edition Pins (already sold out) from Westward Ho Trading Co. in Frontierland, 20th Century Music Co. on Main Street, Little Green Store Command in Tomorrowland, and Disney’s Pin Traders in Downtown Disney. There were 6 different pins to choose from with a different diamond color on each and a different pirate scene on the inside.

This special Annual Passholder Pin with a classic photo of Walt and a pirate from the attraction was available at the same spots noted above.

Other fun merchandise we love from Pieces of Eight in New Orleans Square (these items aren’t special for the anniversary, so you will likely find them year-round)

Top photos – various keychains. Bottom photos – Pluto holding the famous jail keys (just like the dog at the end of the ride) and Stitch dressed as a pirate! The bottom right photo is the dog from the end of the ride holding the keys and wrapped up like a babe (these Disney “Babies” plush toys are popular souvenirs for littles, you can find all kinds of Disney characters wrapped up)!

Fun Pirates of the Caribbean Facts

  • The US flag above the Pirates ride, is not actually connected to the “golden age of piracy,” but rather, the intended stylistic time period of New Orleans Square! The flag has 31 stars, and it was chosen because it is the one that would’ve flown over the city of New Orleans during the mid-1800’s (California was added as the 31st state in 1850). Thank you, Wikipedia!


  • Have any of you ever seen the brick archway (pictured below) across from the entrance/loading dock to Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island? It’s one of those random things Disneyland has that is easily missed, but there’s a few legends behind it. One, as told in this book, connects it back to Jean Lafitte. Next time you board a Pirates of the Caribbean boat, look up at the sign hanging above the loading zone. It reads “Jean Lafitte” who was a real life French pirate from New Orleans in the 1800s. He fought along the U.S. Army in the Battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812. As we mentioned before, the attraction was originally supposed to be a walk-through experience and this would have been an entry point! The plan was apparently to tie the stories of the The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean & Tom Sawyer Island together! The walk-through attraction was going to be based off of Jean Lafitte, who would have been known as the owner of The Haunted Mansion. So is this story truth or legend? We’re not exactly sure, but we sure do love the tale!

jean lafitte.jpg

  • According to the D23 blog, however, the date “1764” was chosen because it was one year after the French ceded New Orleans to the Spanish in the Treaty of Paris in 1863. “The Spanish influence over the next 35 years redefined the look of New Orleans, introducing the Spanish-inspired archways, ornate balconies, grand public buildings and the now-familiar courtyards—all elements associated with the French Quarter.” The history buffs in us think this is so interesting!
  • Lastly, if you’ve ever wondered what the skull and crossbones says to everyone at the beginning of the ride (one of our favorite parts – the anticipation!) just before the first drop, here it is:

“Psst! Avast there! It be too late to alter course, mateys. And there be plundering pirates lurkin’ in ev’ry cove, waitin’ to board. Sit closer together and keep your ruddy hands in board. That be the best way to repel boarders. And mark well me words, mateys: Dead men tell no tales! Ye come seekin’ adventure with salty old pirates, eh? Sure you’ve come to the proper place. But keep a weather eye open, mates, and hold on tight. With both hands, if you please. Thar be squalls ahead, and Davy Jones waiting for them what don’t obey.”

Fun Disney legends and facts for the win! And a festive celebration weekend in the books! Anyone out there love this attraction as much as we do?!

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