Legacy Content

A Good Time to be a Pirates Fan
Page 1 of 2

by Doobie Moseley
September 1, 1999
This summer two theme park magazines have come out with wonderful issues on Pirates of the Caribbean. This article gives an overview of both Theme Park Adventure Magazine's and E-Ticket Magazine's Pirates issues.

This summer has been a good one for fans of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Two of the best known magazines in the industry, Theme Park Adventure Magazine and E-Ticket Magazine, have released issues celebrating this classic attraction. Though it opened in 1967 and is now 32 years old, Pirates of the Caribbean is still considered by many to be the greatest theme park adventure ever created. In this article we'll give you an overview of both of these wonderful magazines. At a total cost of only $17, we're sure you'll want to own both.

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Theme Park Adventure Magazine

In June of this year, after three years of research and development, Theme Park Adventure Magazine released their Pirates of the Caribbean issue. At 169 pages it's the most complete work created about the attraction in its 32 year history. The issue includes interviews with Imagineers Tony Baxter, Bob Baranick and Marty Sklar and Disney Legends and former Imagineers Marc and Alice Davis. Also included are over 150 construction photographs and pictures of concept art, many never before published.

The issue gets off to an emotional start with an interview with Tony Baxter, Senior Vice President of Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering. Baxter recounts his first ride on Pirates (while an hourly employee at Disneyland) which happened to occur on December 15, 1966, the day Walt Disney died. Baxter also talks extensively about Pirates' implementation at Disneyland Paris and spends some time talking about his vision of the future of Disney attractions.

The next interview is with Bob Baranick of the Disneyland Design Studio, the in-park wing of Walt Disney Imagineering. Baranick was in charge of the controversial "politically correct" rehab of Pirates for its 30th anniversary in 1997. Baranick lets us in on the pressures and emotions involved in changing a beloved attraction - supervised by Walt Disney himself - like Pirates of the Caribbean. Speaking about the media attention Baranick said "I took the media's approach with a grain of salt ... In this day and age, you always want to beat on the big, corporate giant." Baranick went on to say "what mattered more to me was the guest reception to it. And certainly the Internet. I am very close to that, because the fans on the Internet care as much about this Park as I do. I feel like I'm their 'spokesman' ... getting the negative response from that group was very trying." But Baranick said the story had a happy ending. "I would say that the response was 97% against us even touching Pirates of the Caribbean; it was absolutely overwhelming - hundreds of letters a day. That has all turned around. It hasn't been a hundred letters in favor, but it has been none against and 20-40% in favor."

The third interview is with Marty Sklar, Vice Chairman and Principal Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. Sklar, whose career with Disney began in 1955, speaks about Walt Disney's reaction to the attraction. Sklar also puts controversy over the 1997 changes of a Walt Disney created attraction into perspective saying "One thing that drove me crazy here at Walt Disney Productions at the time was after Walt died, for a good part of a year, you'd always hear, 'Well, what would Walt have done?' I got so tired of that ... because you had to recognize that Walt wasn't there anymore. My hope always was that I had learned enough from Walt Disney so that I could make decisions that were appropriate."

The final interview is with Disney legends and former Imagineers Marc and Alice Davis. As many Disney fans know, Marc Davis created many of the characters and scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean via his sketches and drawings. Marc also created such well known Disney characters as Tinker Bell, Cruella De Vil and Maleficent. Alice Davis created all of the costumes for Pirates of the Caribbean. Marc and Alice share many stories about the design and early operation of Pirates including its evolution from a walk-through below New Orleans Square to the full-blown production it became. They also share many of Marc's character and scene sketches, many of which did not make it into the attraction.

In addition to the interviews, photographs and sketches, the issue contains the script complete with magnificent "scene-setting" by Rick West, reproductions of the promotional material put out for the opening and coverage of Pirates being awarded the Themed Entertainment Association's "Classic Attraction."   The issue concludes with the recollections of publisher Rick West who worked at Pirates of the Caribbean in 1988. West shares many behind-the-scene stories and lets us in on what it's like to work this legendary attraction.

At $10, the Pirates of the Caribbean issue of Theme Park Adventure Magazine is a steal. No Disney fan should be without it. The only downside is this issue is in black-and-white, but that should not deter you from purchasing what may be the definitive work on this classic attraction.

For more information or to order, visit http://www.ThemeParkAdventure.com.

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A Marc Davis sketch from page 85 of
Theme Park Adventure Magazine

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