Category Archives: New Orleans Square

Pirates of the Caribbean

Yo ho, yo ho, it’s time to ride a classic!

Over in New Orleans Square, get ready to enter the Bayou and see a lively band of pirates! Except for the dead pirates, who are not lively but who you will also see.

Pirates was the last ride that Walt helped design, and it opened shortly after his death in 1967. I mean the ride opened in 1967. Walt actually died in 1966. Just to clarify for the purists in the crowd.

You enter the queue under a bridge.

Here there be pirates! Arrrrr!!!


When it’s crowded, both sides are open. I personally think the right-hand side is shorter, although I have no substantial evidence to back that up.

Pirates is housed in a lovely antebellum manor that I didn’t take pictures of on this particular visit because it was under construction, so I’ll post those later.

You go through a couple of switchbacks in the courtyard of the manor here:

Not crowded. It was a good day.


And the Pirates queue has another one of my favorite things–in line drinking fountains!

They're even all fancy and stuff


I think my attraction to water fountains came from when I worked at a summer camp way up high in the mountains where you could get dehydrated in like 3 seconds, and we always told the kids to stop and take 2 drinks from the water fountain whenever we passed one. I no longer am in this habit (can you imagine how long it would take to get through an airport???) but I do feel compelled to do it at Disneyland. Go figure.

When you enter the building, you see an appealing little island with an opinionated bird, the Jolly Roger, and a map.

Also some treasure


Decorating the walls are portraits of various pirates and lords.

Like Sir Henry, for example


You board your boat and are strongly admonished to not take flash pictures. And really people, when they say “no flash photography,” please don’t use your flash! It drives me bonkers! And ruins the effect for everyone else!

Also, since I wasn’t using my flash, the picture quality in this post from here on out is going to get sketchy.

But such is the price you pay for not using your flash. Don’t worry about crappy pictures–live in the moment!

First you gently glide through a bayou with the Blue Bayou restaurant on your right-hand side.

This is the only restaurant at Disneyland that I have ever been turned away from for not having a reservation, so make a reservation


The Blue Bayou is a very cool place to eat, especially if you request a waterside table. You may have to wait for it, but it’s really charming.

Anyway, you also pass various items one might find in a bayou

Like this boat


Now I’m sure you’ve noticed that this is all quite dark. That’s because it’s simulated nighttime. Well, here’s where Shelby goes all dorky on you and admits something embarrassing–for years I thought this was just open to the night sky. In my defense, for many years growing up, my family only went to Disneyland at night, when my dad’s company sponsored a corporate night. Pirates was one of the rides we always made sure to go on.

I figured out it was inside NOT because I rode it during the daytime, but because I rode it in the rain. Specifically, it was POURING, and we got on the ride and I thought “Oh, it stopped raining!” and then when it was over I looked outside and it was still pouring and then (and only then) did it occur to me to look up and see that I was still inside the building.


Anyway, once you leave the bayou, you hear the rushing of water and get a very stern warning from this dude:

Dead men tell no tales. Women too.


And then there’s a drop.

It’s not a big drop, but it’s a surprising drop if you don’t know it’s coming. Also you can get a little splashed on landing so cover your camera lens and glasses.

Also there’s another drop. This one comes as quite the surprise to people who are used to the Disney World version of Pirates, which only has one. So consider yourself warned.

First you enter the scenes with the dead pirates, like these guys who didn’t make it very far off the beach.

Also, judging by the size of the skeletons, pirates back then were very short


You move along through scenes of pirate recreation, except they’re dead pirates and dead men tell no tales.



There’s the pirate treasure, but what good is it if you’re dead?

Yes, at one point in my life I DID believe this treasure was real


And having been warned of your future should you continue on your pirate-y path of plundering and pillage, you move through the magic mist. In the past it was just Davy Jones who talked to you on the mist, but now it’s both Davy and Blackbeard. Its actually really awesome because the moving and talking image is projected directly on the mist, which you then go under. The effect looks like this:




Both Davy Jones and Blackbeard are like “Dude, there’s a pirate’s curse, but go for it if you want to” and of course you want to because you’re on a boat and what else are you going to do?

So you get thrust into the middle of a battle between a pirate ship and a fortress. At this point they’re playing the theme from the first Pirates movie, which is totally awesome because it’s a great song. Up to that point you’ve been yo-ho-ing.

Ya lily-livered something something!


The drunken pirates have taken over! They’re trying to drown this guy:

I know it's hard to tell, but there's a guy being raised and lowered into the well


Captain Jack Sparrow is hiding around here. Can you spot him?

You can also buy a bride, if you’re in the market for a bride

This is seriously not PC


Oh! I think I see Captain Jack!

The dog does, at least


You go past a couple more slovenly drunks before you realize that the town is on fire.

This can't be good.


You then come to one of the most iconic scenes of the ride:

Seriously, the dog is my favorite character in this entire ride


And despite the danger, the pirates are still shooting at each other.

Can you find the hidden Mickey?


And just before you leave the building (much like Elvis), it appears that Captain Jack Sparrow has indeed found the pirate treasure himself!

Voiced by Johnny Depp himself


Here’s another view. Really, I think this part is the best audio-animatronic in the entire park.

Yo ho, yo ho


And then you come back to ground level and float on by the island you saw going in.

Hello, land lubbers!


I absolutely love Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s definitely a must-do at Disneyland.

Haunted Mansion Secrets

When I decided to go on the Haunted Mansion, I ran into one big problem–a short line.

Yeah, the short line was a problem.


Because a huge part of the queue was blocked off, and that’s totally worth taking pictures of.

The line is too short!!

So I’m going to cover a little secret spot.

There’s the horseless hearse

Reservations accepted! Apply at Ghost Relations.


Drawn by the horseless horse:

There's something about this that's exceedingly creepy


And then if you face the house, over on the right is a pet cemetery.

Yep, the animals have their own little spot of New Orleans Square right here!

You can’t see it–you have to ask–but then you’ll go down alongside of the house.

Is there really something back here?


And voila! It’s right up against Splash Mountain.

Just a few pets, not a lot.


This is Big Jake:

The basket is so festive, it's like I want to put a Santa hat on him or something


And our dear friend Stripey the skunk:

"You may be departed but your presence will always linger on"


The Haunted Mansion is all about the puns.

And there’s a toad and Miss Kitty, who died from a tragic snake bite.



This is a fun little extra, worth seeing at least once. It’s cute, and you can really impress your friends with your vast Disneyland knowledge when you show them that you know it’s there.



Fortune Red

Before I started this blog, I would have told you that there’s only one fortune teller in Disneyland and it’s Esmeralda at the Penny Arcade on Main Street. But now I know better! Not only is there the genie lamp in Adventureland (who told me I was going to win the Superbowl–I want my 50 cents back), there’s also Fortune Red in New Orleans Square. He’s an old pirate hidden away by the Pieces of Eight shop.

The skull on the top is my favorite part


Fortune Red looks pretty much exactly like the other pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean, if the other pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean were unceremoniously chopped in half and shoved into a glass box.

"Yar, it's a little claustrophobic in here"

Just like the other pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean, he fixes you with his unearthly stare as his head kind of moves back and forth with no apparent purpose other than “thanks for putting 50 cents in!” His finger hovers over his map and makes hasty jerking motions, as if he really wanted to tell you where the treasure is but he can’t quite remember himself. And over all this, a short version of “A Pirate’s Life for Me” plays.

It’s all kind of odd, really.

And then your fortune pops out.

This reminds me of a parking ticket dispenser


I used my cell phone to take a picture of my fortune:

"In your future, I see you typing all of this out for your blog..."


It says:

FORTUNE RED has this to say: Ye sails yer ship with a steady helm and a weather eye out fer the luff o’ the sails. Though lackin’ in formal book learnin’, ’tis with a will ye worked to develop a keen mind. Ye would leave no sail furled to help a mate in need, and the deeds o’ yer generous nature sparkle like the twinklin’ lights at Disneyland on a warm summer night. Devoted, ye be, to yer kin–but b’lay! Ye may be generous to a fault. Mark well me words: Generosity consists less in givin’ much, than in givin’ wisely.

I’m not 100% sure what this is, but I think I’m flattered? I sail my ship with a steady helm, okay. I’m lacking in formal book learning–hmmm, I have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and will complete another master’s in July (provided I survive to the end of the semester), so I’d say Mr. Red has some pretty high standards there. Also I’m a snob and an elitist. And also, I’m helpful to friends in need and my generosity lights up the night like a million iterations of the Main Street Electrical Parade (paraphrasing). However, perhaps I should give less and give wisely.

I’m trying to think of something profound to say here, but Mr. Red has left me kind of uninspired.

But just when I was tempted to regret spending my 50 cents, I flipped the card over:

A brief history of pirate flags

Yes, in case you’re not satisfied with your rather ill-suited fortune (except the part about my generosity lighting up the sky like the 9:25pm showing of Remember…Dreams Come True) (paraphrasing), you get a brief lesson in the Jolly Roger. Or as the card puts it, the JOLLY ROGER. From the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.

And also some pirate quick tips:

When the skull and crossbones flew from the maintopmast of a pirate ship, it was an indication to the intended victims that they were willing to give quarter. If they were opposed, it was replaced with the bloody red flag which meant: No mercy.

So no red flag means you’ve still got a shot. And also, how much do I love the word “maintopmast”? Can we bring that back into standard usage, please?

Court Des Anges

New Orleans Square is such a lovely place to walk around. Little details everywhere are just delightful.

So it makes me feel incredibly guilty that I’ve spent so little time there in all my time at Disneyland. Although that’s what this blog is for, right?

For example, I had no idea this existed.

Court des Anges!


Tucked away close to the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean (and speaking of feeling guilty, because as many times as I’ve ridden Pirates, I’m pretty sure I never turned my head left coming out of it) the Court des Anges is a cute little courtyard.

With a staircase


If you enter the Court and turn around, it looks like this

People subject to change without warning


To the left of the Court sign, there are stairs and a few doors

Also, lights


The main staircase, which is pretty much the focal point of the Court, starts out looking like this.

Potted plants and everything!


The steps continue

Up up up


To a Cast Members Only door up at the top.

There it is!

And unlike many of my other entries in which I kind of flail around pointlessly, I can say that this is actually part of Club 33. Ha! I knew something! I think.

But speaking of knowing things, or not knowing them as the case may be, partway up the stairs there’s one of those thingies that’s a recessed half-circle with a little statue of something.

In this case, a little boy


And I’m sure there’s a name for this type of thing, but I have no idea what it is. Anyone?

Also, much like Main Street, you can do various fictional things in this Court.

Like take music lessons


I’ve often thought that it would be awesome if some of these things were real. Like if you really could go to the dentist in the shop by the lockers on Main Street. I mean, I would totally do that. Or take music lessons or something. How cool would that be?


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