Every other year, the folks Walt Disney Archives delivers a show-stopping exhibit at D23 Expo and this year is no different. This year the Archives takes us through Disney’s storied history with pirates in TV, film, and theme parks in the sprawling A Pirate’s Life for Me: Disney’s Rascals, Scoundrels and Really Bad Eggs exhibition of props, ephemera, art, rare documents, and Audio-Animatronics. There’s plenty to see here, with the bulk of the exhibition from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies starring Johnny Depp. Let’s take a look.
The exhibit makes a statement right away with the scale model of the Black Pearl from the Pirates film franchise
But the exhibit isn’t only about the movies. It unfolds across several spaces, first examining Disney’s history with non-Caribbean pirates in TV and film.
Muppet Treasure Island costume
Captain Hook and Peter Pan
The exhibit transitions into the history of pirates in the theme parks, leading into the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pirate sketches originally dreamed up as Haunted Mansion ghosts
Early WED Imagineering layout sketches for the Haunted Mansion walk-through and Pirates of the Caribbean walk-throughs, both of which featured pirates
Early Pirates of the Caribbean script!
The title card for the iconic Disneyland: From the Pirates of the Caribbean to the World of Tomorrow TV special
Early Pirates promotional artwork
Long-retired Pirates games from Disneyland
Get close-up with a pirate animatronic!
Sculpts for film character animatronic heads
A look at Shanghai Disneyland’s unique new Pirates ride
From here, the exhibit transitions into the film series, with a heavy focus on the original trilogy
Davy Jones’ organ
The Dead Man’s Chest
Overall, the Walt Disney Archives exhibit is a lot of fun, especially for fans of the theme park rides and the movie series. I love the first three Pirates movies so I had a blast seeing all of the ship models and costumes on display. Also, little gems like the early Haunted Mansion walk-through layout, the original ride script, and other early park items are a must-see. Congrats to the Walt Disney Archives team for once again putting together a great exhibit and a must-see on the Expo show floor! Now, when are we going to get a permanent Walt Disney Archives Museum built? A permanent museum is long overdue!
If you want more from the Archives team, they also have a display of “Fantastical Fashions” dresses from recent live-action Disney movies on display elsewhere on the show floor.
We’ll have more from the D23 Expo 2017 throughout the weekend, so keep checking back for more coverage here on MiceChat.com! Get live updates and more on Twitter at @MiceChat and @DatelineDisney!