Right before Christmas in 1973, pirates invaded Walt Disney World. This was not the first time that scallywags of this sort had come ashore in Florida, they had a long a storied history with the area. In fact, it was for this very reason that Pirates of the Caribbean had not be slated as a project for the East Coast Vacation Kingdom.
However, after guests began churning through the turnstiles in 1971 expecting high seas adventures and made their displeasure at the lack of rum-guzzling buccaneers well known, Pirates of the Caribbean was on the expansion fast track for Adventureland. Access to the newest adventure would come through an area known as Caribbean Plaza, a blend of Spanish architecture and a resilient fortress that would offer shopping and dining. While it may not have been an opening day attraction at the Magic Kingdom, Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the handful of attractions that sets the standard for brilliant design and storytelling, as well as being the unofficial mascot of Adventureland.
Perhaps one of my favorite images from the period of construction for Pirates of the Caribbean is of two Imagineers making sure the armory guards are correctly dressed and bound. The title given to this pair of women is wardrobe mistresses, a title that would allow anyone to stand right alongside the Pirates’ redhead if I’ve ever heard one. In continuing with the witty phrasing from the photograph, Walt Disney Production captioned to photograph LEARNING THE ROPES, while the 1974 article from the Chicago Sun-Times titled the shot Trussing the guards. Either way, I love that the high level of attention to detail seemed essential enough that it warranted photographic documentation even back in the 1970s.