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Movie-Inspired Pirates Reopens at Disneyland

Pirates of the Caribbean reopened June 26, 2006, at Disneyland with lots of help from Captain Jack Sparrow and his foes from the movie franchise, as Disney Imagineers updated the venerable attraction from 1968 with a high-tech facelift. The counterpart at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, reopens July 7, coinciding with the theatrical release of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MANS CHEST.

The Pirates attraction now has a through-line to the movies, which Walt himself wouldve appreciated, as Captain Jack appears three times in animatronic form and voiced by Johnny Depp. Hes on the run and nemesis Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, who also prov) and other pirates try to catch him before he finds the elusive treasure. Disney Imagineers have outdone themselves, as 400 members have been working feverishly for the last 18 months: adding new video and lighting installations (LED displays provide better lighting and other sky effects); digitally remastering audio effects; adding snippets from Hans Zimmers soundtracks; adding more than 400,000 new gold coins and set pieces.

The fireflies are brighter in opening bayou, the cannons more explosive, the original animatronics improved, the overall sound much more dynamic (even the banjo player sounds better) and the PC-imposed wenching for food has been removed so the pirates are back to being pirates again. And imagine: 750,000 gallons of water even had to be drained and put back over the course of three days.

Best of all, the ghostly image of the newest arch villain from DEAD MANS CHEST, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), is projected onto the refurbished waterfall scene. What fun it is to move through him via a wall of mist.