Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Has Big Louisiana Ties
In spite of what has become of the company over the past several years, I still have very fond memories of Disney as a wholesome, family entertainment company. It holds a very important place in, not only my childhood, but our young married life.
Most of us grew up watching "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights. As newlyweds, my wife and I went to Disneyland in Anaheim, California for our honeymoon. And my, (now 35 year old), daughter's first movie she loved was "The Little Mermaid." A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend with her, and we went to see the new version together. I started crying as soon as the theme music started playing! It was a very special weekend.
But going back to Disneyland, like many of us, one of my favorite rides was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. But what I didn't know, was the design of the ride was influenced, ever so slightly, by a Louisiana native. On his Facebook page, Ear to There Travel, Phil Gramlich shares the following story about Walt Disney from the book "Walt's Disneyland."
One day when construction on Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean was nearing completion in 1966, Walt Disney was chatting with some of the Pirates construction crew. Walt learned that one of the workers was from the bayou of Louisiana, and he invited the worker to walk the length of the attraction with him to see what he thought.
The worker and Walt Disney walked through the attraction once, and Walt waited the entire time for a response from the man. None came. Walt asked, "Well, what do you think?? Is it realistic? Does it remind you of where you grew up, in the bayou??" The worker said (and I'm paraphrasing here but using quotes because I'm telling this one from memory) "It's really good. Something is missing, though. Can we walk through again?"
So this unnamed construction worker walked through Pirates of the Caribbean AGAIN, backwards, with Walt Disney! They reached the part of the attraction inside the Blue Bayou again with the swamp and the old man playing the banjo on the porch of the shack and the guy snapped his fingers, "That's it! Fireflies! You're missing the fireflies from the swamp back home!" A few days later, electric fireflies were buzzing around Walt's bayou with their lights all aglow.
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