Which Pirates of the Caribbean Ride is Better: Disney World vs. Disneyland

by | Oct 6, 2023 | Disneyland, Disneyland Parks, Magic Kingdom, WDW Blog

We’re exploring the key similarities and differences between the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World and Disneyland.

Whether you love Disney World in Orlando, Florida, or Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, there is magic to be had at both. And if you’ve been able to visit both, you’ll know that both parks share some similar attractions. At both parks you’ll find versions of Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and “it’s a small world,” just to name a few. Another popular attraction that you’ll find at both parks is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which resides in both Disney World and Disneyland. 

While the story of Pirates of the Caribbean has a central theme, it’s important to know that the attraction is actually different in both parks. What makes them different and which is better? We’re here to break down Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride at both parks.

History of Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean made its debut at New Orleans Square in Disneyland on March 18th, 1967. While now known as a beloved boat ride, the original conceptualization wasn’t for a boat ride at all. The original idea was to create a wax museum that guests could walk through. But the 1964/1965 World’s Fair in New York changed that. After seeing the success of another Disney classic, “it’s a small world,” the boat ride we know today was created. 

A few years following the opening at Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean opened in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on December 15th, 1973. While Walt Disney never got to see either of his attractions come to fruition, they’ve definitely remained fan-favorites over its 50-plus-year history. 

Over the years, both coasts have seen some changes, including the addition of elements from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. If you’ve been on Pirates of the Caribbean recently, you’ve probably spotted the addition of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. If you are riding at Disneyland, keep your eyes open for the actual chest filled with gold that was used in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. 

Jack Sparrow relishes in the riches at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney's Magic Kingdom

Photo by Mike Billick

Over its history, parks such as Shanghai Disney and Disneyland Paris also gained a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. But, what makes the ones here in the US different? Let’s compare. 

Comparing Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World and Disneyland

We’ll take you step by step through comparisons of the queue, ride time, storyline, and more at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride versions at both Disney World and Disneyland.

The Pirates of the Caribbean Queue

Starting with the queue, there are some major differences between the two. Disney World’s version of Pirates of the Caribbean is located in Adventureland, while you’ll find Disneyland’s version over in New Orleans Square. For that reason, there is some different theming between each.

Pirates of the Caribbean Queue at Disney World 

The Walt Disney World Resort’s queue is quite elaborate. Guests enter the Castillo del Morro fortress as you head towards the inside which is lined by canons, ammunition, and jails.  You wind around corners, never knowing what’s coming next as you inch closer to the boat ride. 

Inside the line queue for Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney's Magic Kingdom

Photo by Cliff Wang

Once you make it through the highly themed queue, you’ll enter a boat boarding area that looks like a boat dock that is dimly lit and where pirates await. You won’t see the outdoors at all, lending to the fully immersed experience. 

Pirates of the Caribbean Queue at Disneyland 

A majority of the queue at the Disneyland Resort is located outside. You’ll wind back and forth as you walk alongside the building that houses the beloved attraction. The final portion of the queue is when you’ll venture indoors and you’ll see the boats the second you walk inside. 

img-9

Photo by Brian Shih

But once inside,  you’ll still be able to see the light from outside as you are boarding your boat. Once you’ve reached this spot, you’ll have a short wait to board your boat. 

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Time

Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney World

At Disney World, Pirates of the Caribbean runs about eight minutes long. In that eight minutes, you’ll experience a total of one drop and a multitude of different scenes including the burning room and the pirate ship scene. 

Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland

At the Disneyland Resort, Pirates of the Caribbean runs around a total of fifteen minutes and 30 seconds. That’s right, the ride at Disneyland runs almost double the run time that the one in Florida does. During the 15 minutes and 30 seconds, guests will experience 2 drops and again, a multitude of different scenes, some similar and some different than Orlando. 

Pirates of the Caribbean Storyline

Disney World vs Disneyland Version

In both Disney World and Disneyland, guests are transported on a voyage when pirates loved to pillage and plunder the seven seas. The story is very familiar on both coasts, with both having the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow. The stories are extremely similar but the longer length in California gives more details into the story. 

pirates of the caribbean ride

Pirates at Disneyland. Photo by Regan Wong.

Pirates of the Caribbean Location

Adventureland in Magic Kingdom at Disney World

In WDW in Florida, Pirates of the Caribbean is located in Adventureland in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park. You can find it located near the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room. THe surrounding area includes the Tortuga Tavern and the stage area where Captain Jack Sparrow will often meet. The ride is located in the Castillo del Morro building. Once you are done with the ride, you’ll exit through the Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar. 

New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park

In California, you can find the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction located in the New Orleans Square section of the park. The exterior is modeled after a New Orleans-style mansion. While Pirates of the Caribbean in Florida is more Caribbean-themed, in California, it has more of a Louisiana theme to fit inside of the corresponding land. The Blue Bayou Restaurant shares a building with Pirates of the Caribbean here in Anaheim as well.  

Which Pirates of the Caribbean Ride is Better? 

You might be wondering which attraction is the superior one: Walt Disney World or Disneyland? While both have positives and negatives, such as a longer ride time in Anaheim and a more themed queue in Orlando, it’s hard for us to declare a superior attraction. Both are classics with stories and experiences that can’t be rivaled. We love both and think both are must-do’s on any trip! And don’t forget to sing along… “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me!” 

Posts by Jenn Marrazzo

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Jennifer Marrazzo is a writer and adjunct professor and knows way too many facts about Disney and cruises. She’s a DVC Member and WDW Annual Passholder and has a vast collection of Disney merchandise from Beauty and the Beast to Baby Yoda. Jennifer has her own blog, The Happiest Travels on Earth, where she offers reviews and tips for Disney and cruises!
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Authored by
Jenn Marrazzo

Jennifer Marrazzo is a writer and adjunct professor and knows way too many facts about Disney and cruises. She’s a DVC Member and WDW Annual Passholder and has a vast collection of Disney merchandise from Beauty and the Beast to Baby Yoda. Jennifer has her own blog, The Happiest Travels on Earth, where she offers reviews and tips for Disney and cruises!
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