Possibly one of the best known rides ever produced by the Disney franchise is the Pirates of the Caribbean, located in the Magic Kingdom of the Walt Disney World Park. Based on the original ride located at Disneyland, the Disney World version opened in 1973.
The original Disneyland version was the last ride Walt Disney himself had direct input on before his death (the ride opened a short 3 months after). It places guests in a water-ride through of a sea-port taken over by somewhat inept pirates. Featuring multiple audio-animatronics (life-like robotic creatures), the ride has become a favorite among many Disney lovers.
When the Magic Kingdom of Disney World first opened, it was lacking its own version of the ride made famous in Disneyland. Guest input told Disney’s Imagineers (designers) that they needed to add the classic attraction at once, which they did, opening in 1973. The Disney World version is shorter and includes only one drop compared to Disneyland’s two drops.
Borrowing the original premise of the ride, Disney produced a trio of films also featuring the title Pirates of the Caribbean. The first one The Curse of the Black Pearl opened in 2003 and was such a blockbuster that it still ranks as the 41st highest grossing movie worldwide of all time. This success led to the follow-up Dead Man’s Chest in 2006 (ranked #4 all-time) and At World’s End in 2007 (ranked #7). All of the films featured Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley.
Completing the circle, the success of the films led to refurbishment of the rides upon which they were based. During the refurbishment, elements of the movies (most notably Johnny Depp’s character of Captain Jack Sparrow) were added to the ride.
Incidently, a fourth movie has been announced with an anticipated 2011 release.
To see video of the updated ride in Disney World, click on it above (thanks to mortsmuse for providing it).