With Halloween being on Wednesday, we though we would do a creepy, scary blog!
For most Disneyland fans, there is a lot of joy in finding hidden secrets about the Park that we all love to visit.
Today, we present to you a very interesting fact about the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Disneyland: The skull and the crossbones that sit above the bed in the treasure room are actually real bones!!
Back in 1967 after Walt Disney had just passed away, the Pirates of the Caribbean first set sail at Disneyland. But along with singing pirates and fair maidens, it held a dark secret.
Disney lore has it that while the ride was still under construction, the Disney Imagineers were unhappy with the look of the fake skeletons placed about the ride. They didn’t think they looked authentic enough. The solution was simple: to use real human bones!
They asked around and the UCLA medical school provided cadaver skeletons to Disneyland from folks who had donated their bodies to “science”, which were then positioned in the classic poses we see today on the ride.
There’s a pair of skeleton friends playing chess, one sitting atop a mountain of gold coins, a dead captain with a sabre in his ribs… While it may seem grotesque using real bones, they remained for quite some time. It hasn’t been officially stated exactly when the skeletons were replaced with dummies, but they slowly were swapped out and the human remains returned to UCLA during the various ride refurbishments.
But, they didn’t remove them all!
Although the skeleton laying in bed looking through a magnifying glass is no longer the remains of a deceased man, the bones on the headboard behind him are!
That is a genuine skull and human crossbones!
It’s unknown why Disney chose to leave them there when the others were removed. (Possibly, they came from a different source than UCLA and couldn’t be returned.) If you look closely, you’ll notice that they’re darker and more aged than the rest of the skeletons on the ride. It’s the skull and bones of a Caucasian male.
Human skeletons were never used when the next Pirates rides were constructed at the Magic Kingdom at Disney World in 1973, or at Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, or at Disneyland Paris in 1992.
Yo ho ho! Dead men tell no tales! 😉
We went to Disneyland last year with a first time visitor, and he was like, “What’s with all the skeletons everywhere?”
When you think about it, there are skeletons all over Adventureland, in lots of scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean, the skeleton in the water that rises when you complete the Adventureland treasure map, some over in Fantasyland on Peter Pan’s Flight, a dungeon skeleton reaching for water in Snow White’s Scary Adventures, a skeleton hanging in the stretching room of the Haunted Mansion, the pile of animal bones signaling the entry to the piranha pool in Jungle Cruise, and a dinosaur fossil in Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
No bones about it, that’s a lot of bones!!! 🙂
Lions and Tigers and Strollers, Oh My!
This is not Caroline’s first time in the Disney College Program. Along with her sister, she was previously accepted into the program a few years earlier. Back in Colorado, Caroline was wishing for a little more pixie dust to brighten up her life. On a whim, she decides to apply to the exclusive Disney Alumni Summer Program.
Now that she’s back, things get wild.
Wild, as in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where Caroline is assigned to work in Stroller Rental. While not the most glamorous position in the park, it’s often ground zero for humanity at its best and at its worst.
While Caroline makes many “Magical Moments” for deserving guests whose pixie dust has gone temporarily sideways, she also receives magical moments of her own through the friendships she makes, going to Disney cast member exclusive events, and all the spectacular dining opportunities at Disney World.
Caroline tells all – from the ins and outs of Disney’s secret training class called Traditions; to learning how to be a happy cast member during on-the-job training; to what it’s like to interact with fellow cast members and the guests who are ready to explore the most magical place on earth.
Join Caroline as she takes you on a wild ride through her adventures in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But be careful, it’s a jungle out there!
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.
Book link on Amazon.com: Adventures in the Animal Kingdom
About the Author:
Caroline’s love for all things Disney, and desire to grow up to be a Disney princess, is the reason she always wanted to work for Disney. Her dream came true working as a cast member at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Caroline is the co-author of the book, Two Girls and a Mouse Tale, about her adventures working at Disney World with her sister.
She is currently a 7th grade middle school Social Studies teacher in Colorado.
Daily blog link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/