Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean is Closing

The day is upon us:

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride that we all know and love is closing its doors at Disneyland. Forever.

Sure, it'll re-open at the end of June... but it won't be the same show. The ride's new version will include an audio-animatronic robot of Johnny Depp's "Captain Jack Sparrow" character from the Pirates of the Carribbean movie.

I have a couple of concerns:

Why are they doing this? Why mess with a classic? If Disney want's to add a few more non-descript pirates to keep things fresh, fine. I get it. But add the likeness of a real-life person? Bad idea.

"Why," you ask?

Two words: Michael Jackson.

Didn't Disney learn the lesson of what happens to their wholesome image when an accused pedophile is let into its gates (with repeated Captain EO showings at 9, 10, 11, Noon, 1, 2, and 3pm!!!)?

Look, I get the feeling that Depp is an OK guy in real life, and that he loves his kids. But what happens when he releases a movie with an NC-17 rating? What if his career hits the skids and he's doing cheesy direct-to-video releases? Is that the related baggage you want floating through tourists minds as they glide past the 'Johnny the Jump Street Pirate'? Will they give him a coke-snorting, Kate Moss look-a-like audio animatronic wench by his side? Maybe his character can hang-out by a nightclub where the River Phoenix pirate can take a stumble into the fake river (this will replace the lovable bloke lying in the mud with his robotic kittens). Come to think of it, 'ol Johnny has played a lot of pervs (think: Ed Wood... Don Juan DeMarco... etc., etc. Perfect person for the kiddies to encounter on their trip to the Happiest Place on Earth).

I bet Johnny Depp replaces the dashing auctioneer. Maybe the Imagineers can conjure-up the blonde Wynona Rider from Edward Scissorhands (as the 'new' gal in red getting auctioned away).

Here's another thought: Depp has - on numerous times - publicly expressed his dislike for America. He's repeatedly said that he is embarrassed about being an American and has vowed to never raise any of his children here in the states. Take THAT all of you annual passholders!

Yes, pirates really existed, Virginia, but that was a long time ago. So long ago, in fact, that they seem like a fantasy-- just like Disneyland's magic kingdom. Nobody has any first-hand memories of Bluebeard running around with scissors attached to his hands or trashing hotel rooms.



The ride closes on March 6th, and re-opens around June 24th. If you're planning a visit to pay your final respects, I highly recommend the following:

If you can, avoid Disneyland's crowds on Fridays and Saturdays. If you must attend on a weekend, Sunday is generally the least busy day. Here's the reasoning:

Tourists tend to arrive on Friday and feel compelled to hit the park as soon as they get settled into their hotels. Local kids visit on Saturdays and fill the park by using their annual passes. Most folks give the parks a rest on Sunday thinking that there will be smaller lines on Monday. THAT'S where they're wrong. Monday is generally LOADED with tourists.

And, of course, Tuesday - Thursday is the best time to visit Disneyland & California Adventure.


At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Vermont Neighbor said...

Commercialism beyond the point of no return. ch-ching

Michael Eisner designed California Adventure on a napkin, didn't he? Too many expensive restaurants and not enough fun stuff for the kids. The Johnny Depp pirate display is pretty run of the mill now. What is that... vertical marketing... or at least synergy.

Disneyland in The 60s: magical; unique. Disneyland Now: so packed with cross-promotions and movie tie-ins, we'll be keeping the Disney board's kids in top schools for generations to come.

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