NEW GUIDE TO THE MAGIC! PARK MAPS PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN RETURNS!
Lines were extensive, stretching from Pirates' New Orleans Square entrance all the way through Frontierland. At one point the line headed towards the entrance to Frontierland, but was later directed along the River up past Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road.
...The famous fountain: DISMANTLING THE PREMIERE:
Although the park was open, there was still work going on the Rivers of America, specifically on Tom Sawyer's Island, where work pushed onward on dismantling what was left of the screen set-up for Saturday's premiere.
One of the Rivers' lightposts is partially back up.
Some CMs were moving around the Rafts to TSI, for what, I don't know... PROMOTING PIRATES
There was a TV crew outside of the attraction yesterday, by the River. There was a table with some POTC merch set up and some set pieces... THE DISNEY GALLERY
With the ride re-opening and the new movie opening in theaters soon, they've changed out the first room in the Disney Gallery, celebrating the updated attraction and new film. For a full report and photo tour of the new exhibit see:
PHOTOS: A look at "Setting Sail for New Adventures" new exhibit at The Disney Gallery
One of the new pieces in the Pirates exhibit. Its a print of the new painting in the Pirates queue.
The French Market has also unveiled it's Pirates-themed overlay. I didn't venture inside, but I heard theres quite the display in there ADVERTISING and MERCHANDISE:
Windows at World of Disney in Downtown Disney have been changed over to promote the new Pirates film and ride merch. Theyre pretty decent window displays - although I think the big skull looks sort of ..odd...
The topmost billboard on DCA's Backlot's soundstage got swapped over to Pirates
One of the new "Legend of the Golden Pins" pin carts, parked in Frontierland. It was closed by mid-day, which I thought was odd - especially on the day of all the Pirates hoopla - but oh well CAFE ORLEANS
We had priority seating reservations at Cafe Orleans at 11:30 on Monday. We were super excited, but unfortunately were very disappointed with our meal.
The one unanimous hit of the meal - the parmesan-garlic french fries appetizer. Really delicious. ($4.99)
French Onion Soup - not so great ($3.99)
Three-cheese Monte Cristo - disappointing to say the least. ($14.99)
Chicken Gumbo crepe - not good. STAR TOURS AND CLUB BUZZ
Recently MiceChatter Frogberto posted that he had lunch with a friend who works alongside some Imagineers. He noted that in there conversation that there would be a new Star Tours queue entrance marquee coming by June 30. Well, it seems these reports are more absolutely correct - the Star Tours queue marquee is down and now we just have to wait until the new one is installed.
Club Buzz also has ALL of it's walls down and the new, expanded seating areas are quite nice looking, if not maybe just a bit underthemed... MasterGracey's Pirates of the Caribbean review WARNING!!! HERE BE ATTRACTION SPOILERS!
PROCEED AT YER OWN RISK!
Alright, here's my review. I'm going to be dividing it up according to each show scene. Overall though - I'm extremely happy with the enhancements to the ride. They're all amazingly well-done, tasteful, and stay true to the original attraction. It has walked the fine line of keeping the ride the same with adding in just the right amount of "new" pretty well. There are a couple scenes where I would actually like to see more
new, but you'll read about that in the rest of the review. I certainly have to give a thumbs up to WDI though - they've done an exceptional job well done! Approaching the Waterfall
One change I haven't really seen noted anywhere is the fact that the famous Jolly Roger has gotten dressed up a bit. He's set against a big new swath of lush red cloth, new swords, and is just overall much nicer looking. Entering the Grotto
The new, colorful lighting on the rockwork is brilliant. What else can I say? It's strikingly magical.
As it has been reported, the lyrics to "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)" no longer can be heard after you drop down the waterfall. It's interesting that the lyrics aren't being heard anymore until well into the attraction (you finally hear the lyrics to the song in the Burning the Town
scene). I suppose the instrumental verson of the song heard now in this section is to set up the ominous tone of the new score heard in the next scene.... Dead Man's Cove
The enhanced lighting continues into the Dead Man's Cove, the skeleton with the sword through him and the pigeon in his hat is lit BEAUTIFULLY. The greens, purples, blues, and golds used to light him is AMAZING. I think some painting was done on the rockwork around him, and the lighting makes the paint shine in ways that really made me think "wow
The new score audio heard in this scene is SEAMLESSLY weaved into the experience. You might think it would be jarring to go from the "Yo Ho (A Pirates Life For Me" instrumental from the previous show scene into an ominous dirge rendition of "Yo Ho", but as you go down the waterfall the sound of the screams of your fellow bucaneers, the splashing water, and everything else causes you to miss the transition between the two audio tracks and it melds together perfectly. The audio is amazing. Hurricane Lagoon
Completely revamped, this scene now sports an amazingly convincing rain effect, new lightning effects, better lighting, and just an overall better experience. It's so good - the rain effect made me giddy and I was just really impressed by it. Crew's Quarters
In the Crew's Quarters the drinking skeleton is updated. The rum the pirate is drinking isn't so much more realistic than it is better looking and obviously updated. Also, the two drinking crew members are now joined by Pirates who are "deadlocked" playing a game of chess. Its a great addition, and one of the gags I enjoyed when from WDW's Pirates. Captain's Quarters
Not too much is different here. There is the obligatory enhanced lighting of course, as well as the skeleton of the Captain's parrot resting atop it's perch. Lots of new, really cool cobwebs. Treasure Room
New lighting, a LOT of new treasure make have made this room even better than before. Also note the Aztec gold treasure chest from the first film. The Ghostly Grotto
Now we get to the first extremely significant change in the attraction - the Ghostly Grotto. Here, we loose two audio tracks of two different voices - "No fear of evil curses says you, ayee" and "Now proceed at your own risk - these be the last friendly words you hear!" You will still hear the echoing "Dead men tell no tales!" but now instead of the two warning tracks from our salty friends, we now get Davy Jones. For me, Davy Jones creates an incredible, yet absolutely disappointing addition. The special effect itself is astounding and pretty much one of the coolest things I've seen in a Disney attraction, but Davy Jones himself creates a contradiction with the attraction. Not so much because he really doesn't have anyhting to do with the story they'vecreated here because the ride is now a sorf of prequel to the first film, but because of Davy's dialogue. He now spews out lines like "Oh but dead men do
tell tales, says I, Davy Jones." Davy has multiple lines, creating a new peice of repeatability factor for the attraction, but every one of his lines that I heard directly addresses the "dead men tell no tales" theme of the attraction. My question: Why? Why does Davy Jones have to do this? The old ride told the tale of pirates, and this one does now as well. Maybe a different tale, but it still tells a story. The "Dead men tell no tales" is still perfectly fitting and the need to have Davy tell us that they DO tell tales - well, it's annoying to me.
Needless to say, the effect is wonderful and really, really just so
cool! Bombarding the Fort
FOG! Thats definately the first thing you notice when you enter the new scene - and its great. I read a lot of posts from people saying there is too much fog now. I have to disagree. Surely you've been to the beach and seen the late-night/early morning fogs.
The new score is certainly rousing and a much welcome addition to the scene, for me. I love the score of the first film and the addition of the score to this scene certainly adds some excitement - it definately gets you excited and creates a somewhat similar effect that one may get while watching Remember... Dreams Come True
and getting pumped with adrenaline, wonder, and excitement during the Pirates portion. It certainly pulls on your emotions and works extremely well.
Barbossa is really great as well. I don't know, I've heard that Barbossa was designed for the attraction to look like he might before the Curse, but I don't know why the curse would necessarily change his appearance except for in the moonlight. Needless to say, the fact that Barbossa might not look exactly like Barbossa is excuseable considering his voice more than makes up for it. Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that Barbossa uses a lot of excerpts of the old Captain's dialoge including "Put up yer white flag" and "give 'em another broadside!" and "bloomin' cockroachers!"
The animated silhouette of the sword-fighting pirates has also been updated and is now much improved. The Well
The bulk of this scene is relatively unchanged, appearance-wise. The pirate captain is no longer asking "where be the treasure" but now "where be Captain Jack Sparrow" ... Nearby a previously dead-space area has been transformed into the storefront of a dresshop. Jack is hiding behind to dressmakers' mannequins overhearing the conversation, knowing he's in trouble. I was really worried initially about the Jack Sparrow additions - it seemed like a weird hide-n-seek game with Jack and the thought of him hiding and peeking out behind things seemed really cheap and cheesy to me. I wasn't going to proclaim that this was ruining Walt's last ride or destroying the legacy of Pirates, but I was worried. But this is such a great addition. It's a clever gag, and they've gotten Jack Sparrow's gestures and the way he moves down PERFECTLY. This isn't just a generic animatronic dressed up as Jack Sparrow - this IS Jack Sparrow.
Also, Jack looks SO real. I thought this would be a problem considering the rest of the crew of Pirates have exaggerated features, deep wrinkles, etc... but somehow the addition of Jack isn't jarring at all and his realistic representation does not conflict at all with the rest of the pirates. The Auction
Relatively unchanged. No need to comment. The Chase
The Pooped Pirate and Jack Sparrow gag is very clever, and Jack's expressions cracked me up every time (I rode 5 times within 2 days). Clever, clever, clever. I do wonder, however, how Jack manages to get the key from the Pooped Pirate - if he knocked him over the head to get it, he'd have a hard time escaping with the other pirates around!
Also, the Pirates are for the most part still being chased by women (from what I saw), but instead of food, they all carry platters of loot. This kind of seemed like a cheap way out of the controversial 1997 refurb to me - it just looks like they took the food off the platters and glued on some shiny gold treasure. Oh well. The Burning Town
Aside from enhanced lighting and fire effects, this scene is realtively unchanged. Look out for a LOT of rum bottles floating in the dark water as your bateaux pass by!
Also note that everybody's favorite "dirty foot" pirate on the bridge is back but in his drunken haze has failed to realize that his rum jug is now on fire... but it matters not - he's still singing and laughing along. The Jail
The Jail scene itself is relatively unchanged. However, the network of crossbeams and the support system for the town you pass under with its crackling beams and moaning columns now feature small flames dancing up from some of the smoldering, glowing embers. Its a nice effect. The Arsenal
Enhanced lighting and more obvious flames in the background now make the arsenal scene more interesting and fun. Other than that and the better sound quality and refreshed animatonics and other animated props, this room is relativelu unchanged. The Upramp
In somewhat of an odd place, Jack Sparrow now relaxes, gleefully singing along to "Yo Ho (A Pirates Life For Me)" on a throne amongst the town's treasury. Its a great new scene and in my opinion a MUCH MUCH better scene than the grunting pirates trying to hoist the treasure up the hill. The lumpy, square butt of the other pirate was obviously never looked realistic and for me, won't be missed.
The gold and blue lighting in the room is great, Jack's singing and his animatronic gestures are perfectly well done. A great close to a great attraction.
The blinking glowing eyes watching you as your climb up the upramp are updated also.
And finally, my least favorite part of the attraction - Davy Jones make has the final, unnecessary, word. He comes back in with lines including "See? Dead men do tell tales!" and cheap, cheesy things like that. For me, this was EXTREMELY and totally unnecessary and I really hope they rethink this dialogue and remove it sometime soon. I hate it!
Again, in all Pirates of the Caribbean is better than ever and although I loved the old ride, I think the new ride is much improved. I do feel that after The Chase scene, its odd that it takes so long to catch up again with the new storyline, but what can you do? I'm certainly not going to complain, but it does seem a tad bit odd.
I love the updated attraction, and I think that most if not all of the naysayers will love it as well. Its tastefully done, adds on to Marc Davis' classic character gags, enhances the experience through "plussing" the audio, lighting, and numerous special effects. Just an amazing job by Walt Disney Imagineering.
I'm extremely pleased to say that we've got another winner to the growing list of recent home-runs: Jungle Cruise, Enhanted Tiki Room, Space Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, Monsters Inc., and now Pirates of the Caribbean!
Bravo, WDI! Cafe Orleans Review
I'm going to try to keep this short after that long POTC review. I'm disappointed to say that my party of three was very disappointed in Cafe Orleans. First, it was our terrible server who's slack was picked up by another CM who went above and beyond, asking us how everything was, refilling our drinks several times, and even holding a conversation with us about the new Pirates - asking if we had ridden it, what we though, discussing the new effects, etc. He was so great, that we made a point to give our tip directly to him, instead of our real server who I think we saw three times during our meal (including when we ordered and when he brought us our bill). I understand that he was busy and had lots to do but there was really no excuse to him getting two of our three entrees wrong and hardly ever checking up on us. But our friendly CM (who I'm assuming was just a busboy), John, was exceptional.
The food itself was disappointing as well. The starter salad sounded great, and MiceSteak ordered it and was very disappointed to find that it was nothing worth even thinking about agian. It was thinly laid out on a plate, small, and not worth the price. Considering it was a starter salad, the size wasn't too much of an issue - but the fact that it was thinly laid out on a plate was annoying - a simple bowl would have been better so that it would have been easier to stab into the romaine lettuce and spinach leaves.
The traditional parmesan-garlic french fries appetizer was DELICIOUS. This is probably the only thing I'd go back for. After White Water Snacks, these are the BEST french fries in the entire Resort. Yum! The dipping sauce was really great (although the fries were so good, I wouldnt have even cared if they didnt bring the sauce), but we thought they were a little cheap in the amount of sauce they give you.
The French Onion soup starter was disappointing though. It wasn't HORRIBLE, but it definately wasn't the greatest. I haven't sampled much french onion soup in my day though, so I may not know what I'm talking about. They're very generous with the swiss cheese that tops it though, a thick, melted slice coveres the entire soup. I really like swiss cheese, but the amount they give you is a bit much, in my opinion, maybe just a thinner slice would be better?
As for the entrees, we ordered the three-cheese monte cristo, chicken-gumbo crepe, and seafood crepe. I have to say its definately overpriced for what you get. Its good portion-size and filling, don't get me wrong, but its still pricey. $14.99 for a deep fried cheese sandwich is a bit much, in my opinion, and it didnt even taste that great. The original Monte used to cost $12.99 at the Bayou and was accompanied by a delicious pasta salad... Now you just get some grapes and a couple strawberries. I'd prefer the pasta, but I guess thats no longer an option.
The sandwich itself wasn't anything to write home about, and I wouldn't order it again. I was apprehensive about getting all cheese because I do enjoy some meat to give it some substance, and maybe that's why I wasn't too impressed, but I just felt like the three-cheese Monte was an unjustifiable, overpriced, artery clogger.
The crepes were okay, I guess. I didn't try the seafood one, because every seafood thing I've ever tried at DLR I haven't really liked. So I refrained. My friend said she liked it and would order it agian though- so I suppose it was good.
The chicken gumbo crepe wasn't good. Nobody at our table thought it was very good at all.
So.. I guess in all, we wouldn't venture back into Cafe Orleans. Maybe to get some of those delicious fries or to get an original Monte Cristo without paying the $19 Blue Bayou price, but other than that, nothing was really worth making a repeat visit for.
Oh well. You win some, you lose some.