As of 20th July 2007, Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Resort Paris will become the only version of the attraction in the world to remain faithful to the 1967 original. But for how long? As even Tokyo Disneyland now succumbs to the wit and lure of Captain Jack Sparrow, will Marne-la-Vallée ever follow?,
2006 saw the introduction of new effects and animatronics at the two US versions of the attraction – the original, at Disneyland in California, and the much-criticised duplicate at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Planned to perfectly coincide with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on 7th July, this week’s announcement from Tokyo Disneyland appears to come right behind the debut of the trailer for the third film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Yahoo! Movies Japan reports:
Jack Sparrow Comes to Tokyo Disneyland Pirates of Caribbean Attraction on July 20, 2007
Oriental Land Co., Ltd. announced on March 23, 2007 that the characters from the Disney movie “Pirates of Caribbean” would appear at the renewed “Pirates of Caribbean” attraction of Tokyo Disneyland on July 20. Due to refurbishment, the attraction will be closed May 7 through July 19. Upon reopening, Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones (from the 2nd movie “Pirates of Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”) and Captain Barbossa (who revived surprisingly at the end of the movie), will also appear in the attraction.
This therefore leaves the fourth version of the attraction, at Disneyland Resort Paris, as the only one without any influence from the unstoppable film franchise – unless you count the merchandise haven of Le Coffre du Capitaine, of course. Whilst the American resorts milk the newfound Pirates popularity for all its worth, including after-hours “Pirates and Princess Parties” at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort Paris has, beyond merchandise, only gone so far as to introduce a Jack Sparrow walkaround character in front of the attraction (seen above). Though incredibly popular upon appearance, Captain Jack makes unusually understated appearances with none of the “Pirate Tutorial” streetmosphere games of the US resorts.
So where does this leave Paris? Disney fans from overseas have long been fascinated by this version of the attraction – introducing a revised layout, new exterior and extra animatronics, it is considered by many to be “the best”. Now, as the only one without the still-controversial addition of Sparrow and co, it has another unique selling point. But for how long?
It seems strange that, whilst Imagineers at Disneyland in Anaheim, California are desperately struggling to shoehorn a pirate theme onto its Mid-West Tom Sawyer Island, the already-existing Adventure Isle at Disneyland Park in Paris remains untouched. Here lies a series of islands already complete with rope bridges, caves and hidden treasure… yet without a hint of the hugely popular and marketable films in sight. One of the cave networks has been named Davy Jones’ Locker since 1992, and let’s not forget La Cabane des Robinson – which, whilst an astonishing structure, has always been somewhat held back by its not-so-popular tie-in to the 1960 movie and original Swiss novel.
Rumours some time ago suggested a full makeover could be on the cards here, turning the treehouse into Jack Sparrow’s quirky hideout, with more hints to the films hidden in the caves and passageways of the islands. Last Summer, very strong rumours spread that the new animatronic characters could make their way to the Paris attraction for the 15th Anniversary. But, for some time now, all has been silent. Once the resort goes looking for something to fill the gap after the 15th though, this now seems like an almost inevitable choice.
So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle until Judgment Day and trumpets sound?
Jack Sparrow: Or you could surrender.