The cycle is complete: “Pirates of the Caribbean” was a movie based on a classic Disney World ride. Now there’s a new Disney World attraction based on the movie that was based on the ride. The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is a new immersive walk-through at Disney World that opened on December 6. The Disney Parks released a behind-the-scenes video with the Imagineers detailing the attraction, and the famous talent that helped bring it to life.
The centerpiece of the attraction is the virtual image projected onto the deck of a pirate’s ship: that of Captain Jack Sparrow. But he’s not played by a Disney World cast member; he’s played by the man himself: Johnny Depp. The actor behind the larger-than-life figure filmed scenes in front of a green screen that are then played as guests wander through the attraction. It adds an extra layer of authenticity to the attraction, one that guests wouldn’t even expect. I’m sure if the attraction had included a Captain Jack impersonator no one would have batted an eyelid, but getting Johnny Depp to resume his role as Captain Jack, for a Disney World attraction no less, just added that extra perfection.
The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction is a walk-through story/show. Guests are greeted and led by an animate version of the skull and crossbones symbol from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” logo (the one with a red bandana that matches Captain Jack’s). Within the world of the story, guests are being tested to determine if they have what it takes to become a member of Captain Jack’s crew.
The potential pirates have to face off against mermaids trying to lure them off course, reanimated skeletons, and even their own desires: avoiding the temptation of piles of pirate treasure. Finally, Davy Jones’ kraken appears, but soon after, so does Captain Jack (using the projected image of Johnny Depp). Jack fights off the kraken, asking for help from his pirate trainees. After the kraken is repelled, Captain Jack leads guests in a rousing rendition of “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).”
The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow will run in addition to, not as a replacement of, the famous Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It’s located in Disney Hollywood Studios. It did replace one attraction, however; it’s housed in the building that used to contain Journey into Narnia: Creating the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Does this mean that one day the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow might be replaced as well? Anything is possible, but given the popularity of the Pirates franchise, and the fact that such a famous name participated in the making of the ride, it’s unlikely, at least for a long time.
*(The above image by RBerteig is licensed by the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License).