The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow

By James | Last updated May 10, 2024

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There was a new “walk-through” attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios called Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow. It officially opened on December 6, 2012 but had been in soft opening preview mode since mid November. It closed on November 6, 2014.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is located in Sound Stage 4 between Toy Story Mania! and the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream exhibit. It replaces the earlier Journey into Narnia walk-through attraction.

The premise of the attraction was that you were put to the test to see if you could become one of Jack Sparrow’s pirate crew.

After an introduction in the pre-show area by a disembodied talking pirate skull (last seen on the ride itself) who warns you that “dead men tell no tales”, you enter Jack’s cave through a set of dungeon doors.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow closed on November 6, 2014

There you can see the prow of the Black Pearl pirate ship and many props from the films. It is clear from the start the Walt Disney Imagineers have put a lot of effort into creating a great atmosphere before you.

Then in a series of tableaus orchestrated by the talking skull, you are immersed in scenes based on the Jerry Bruckheimer “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. Audience participation is encouraged as the talking skull narrating the story introduces the various characters and asks you to roar, stamp your feet, sing and of course raise you arm and shout “arrr”!

Digital video projectors create a 360 degree environment bringing to life the skeleton pirate crew, mermaids, Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman and the giant Kraken and finally Captain Jack Sparrow himself. After fighting off the Flying Dutchman, Jack takes the guests through the pirate’s oath.

Instead of using audio-animatronic figures like in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Legend of Jack Sparrow uses actual video footage of Johnny Depp playing Jack Sparrow. Through the use of the latest screen technology perspective manipulation, Jack Sparrow appears as if he really is standing on the prow of the Black Pearl in full 3D.

As in the films, Johnny Depp really brings Jack Sparrow to life with his witty banter. Disney has shot more than one storyline featuring Jack so the show can vary a little if you decide to watch it a second time.

Note that the main part of the attraction is a standing up show for about 50 guests at a time with a total running time of around 10–11 minutes including the pre-show. It is accessible to guests in wheelchairs or ECVs.

Because of the scary themes, loud noises and dark elements, it may not be suitable for young children but at the same time the storyline is quite juvenile. We suspect that many will find it all a bit boring until Jack Sparrow actually appears. Whilst the technology is stunning, the audience appeal is not that great.

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride itself is in Adventure Land at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and it has undergone a number of changes to take advantage of the success of the films of the same name featuring Johnny Depp.