Welcome to Extinct Attractions. My name is Cole Geryak, and today I’ll be your first mate as we go on a journey with Disney’s favorite private captain.
[Editor’s note: this was originally going to go up last Thursday] Happy Christmas! Personally, I am a huge fan of Thanksgiving, to the point where I don’t personally start my Christmas celebrations until the day after Thanksgiving, so I’m excited that now I have the chance to start my celebrations. Over time, Thanksgiving has generally moved to signify a time for family and friends as opposed to the unifying dinner that originally happened between the Native Americans and Pilgrims in the 1600s, a forgetfulness for its origins that happens with most holidays.
With the Pilgrims, we saw them travel across the ocean to new lands, but unlike our titular pirate today, they settled down on land. This setting is a bit less exciting than the swashbuckling life of a pirate that you could experience with The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Opening on December 6, 2012 (so seven years ago tomorrow) and replacing Journey into Narnia Prince Caspian, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow opened at an interesting point in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise’s history. The fourth film had been released a year and a half earlier and though it still grossed $1 billion, a lot of fans were disappointed, and it didn’t look like a fifth film was coming anytime soon, but they still decided to move forward on the attraction.
The attraction was billed a walkthrough attraction, but it really functioned as a show with an elaborately themed set. I never got the chance to experience it in person, but just watching the video, I was amazed at the amount of money that they put into the show because everything looked so detailed and well put together.
But as the name of the attraction would suggest, the highlight is clearly Jack Sparrow. He appears in the show using projections and hologram technology, very similar to how Tupac was created for Coachella in 2012. The end effect is simply stunning because it really does feel like Johnny Depp is standing there and interacting with you. Honestly, it’s kind of surprising that they haven’t tried to use this special effect in more things because of how well they used it here, though I’d be willing to bet that we’ll see it in some form in Rise of the Resistance.
However, there was one big issue because for how impressive the effects were, the story was equally unimpressive. The idea behind the attraction was that you were being trained to become a part of Jack’s crew, with the disembodied skeleton head from the original attraction guiding you through some tasks. Unfortunately, their method for doing this was mainly through a call and response system that you generally see in juvenile shows geared towards younger children.
Overall, it was just really hard to get a gauge on the show because I was so entranced by the show visually and so bored storywise. You very rarely see that combination in a Disney attraction, so it just felt like something that was completely out of left field. Plus, it was crazy that they would put all of this money into a Pirates attraction with the fan community caring less and less about the property.
The show itself was treated with a lot of negativity and indifference by fans, primarily due to the attraction’s story. It seemed like Disney was trying to create an attraction for the long haul, but ultimately it didn’t even last two years, closing on November 6, 2014.
In its place, today we have Toy Story Land, so we definitely got a much better group of attractions than were previously there, though the child-centered feeling remained.
As a whole, The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow feels like a footnote in Hollywood Studios history that one day people will look back on and say “Wait that actually existed?” I’m even asking myself that question now, and I just wrote an entire article about it.
Well, here’s your sneak peek about what’s coming next week.
- This attraction shared a name with a movie and natural disaster.
- This attraction would shake you to your core.
- This attraction resided at Universal Studios.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.