Simply put.....I go over to the island more than I ever did when it was themed to plain old Tom Sawyer and Huck and their adventures. I liked the old cave system, but there was hardly anything to look at for a person over say, 10. I can appreciate from a distance, the benefits of having a secluded place to go and relax without the pressure of waiting in a queue or the like, and just have a relaxing area of the park is good.
However.....I find now, there is more to look at on the island. When the Bootstrappers were still performing there and not on the mainland, I could spend a good hour and half watching their set, then walking through the cave system and soaking up the atmosphere. I count the additions of the peek-in windows, the animatronic pirate and the design and ambiance of the new cave a distinct advantage over the old island, which had a simple but admittedly spooky sound effect/area in the final resting place of Injun Joe. And those elements wouldn't have been introduced to the island without the pirate overlay, which directly relates to the popularity of the films.
I can appreciate certainly, those who miss the simpler days of the Mark Twain theme, and they are classic literature which should still be taught, and read....the books are still a fun read and very sociologically interesting. Simple facts are though...kids these days know about the adventures of pirates and Captain Sparrow more than they do of Aunt Polly and Huck. This isn't good, or bad in my opinion...but it's true.
I am far from saying...hey, just because a movie makes a boatload of money, it makes slapping it on everything alright! But Pirate's Lair works for me, thematically. If you see it from mainland Frontierland...it looks like a wooded island with a old mill on it. You board the raft to get there in between Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion. It may be officially listed as being in Frontierland, but if you see it from Frontierland, it looks fine. You get there from a raft launch inside New Orleans Square. In the early days, the island was crawling with actors depicting pirates, very good in character and interacting with everyone, kids and adults. And better still.....they may sell it on the mainland, but not one piece of cheap Pirates merchandise was to be found on the island itself for sale.
So in the end, what you got was a island that was still a relaxing escape from the main park, with meandering trails and scenery, and added top-notch effects and a new themed walk through experience, with very good live performers. I am all for that, regardless of what it replaced.