Wednesday, October 4, 2023

New Pirates of the Caribbean Lounge Coming to Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World has introduced a Pirates of the Caribbean lounge coming to Adventureland in Magic Kingdom. This publish shares all the things we all know thus far, with idea artwork and full particulars–plus complete commentary about how this compares to Oga’s Cantina and the place this tavern is more likely to be positioned.

This information was introduced throughout the “A Celebration of Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise: Yesterday, Right this moment and Tomorrow” presentation on the 2023 Vacation spot D23. Disney Parks, Experiences and Merchandise Chairman Josh D’Amaro provided a sneak peek at idea artwork for the long run as well as and teased what was to return in just a few years.

This was considered one of many bulletins and divulges on the 2023 Vacation spot D23. Others embrace a reimagining of Check Monitor at EPCOT, new scene with Ahsoka in Star Excursions, a primary have a look at the Audio Animatronics in Tiana’s Bayou Journey, and way more. And that’s simply what was revealed for Walt Disney World!

A brand new Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge is coming to Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida. This primary-of-its-kind expertise will lengthen the story of Pirates of the Caribbean. Imagineers are within the design course of now and extra particulars are coming sooner or later.

The one large element that was shared by Imagineer Chris Beatty throughout Vacation spot D23 is that the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge will deliver again the Barker Hen, also referred to as Peg-Leg Pete. The Barker Hen was an Audio-Animatronics determine stationed exterior the doorway to the attraction that, as its title suggests, was a ‘barker’ who used strains and lyrics to draw visitor consideration.

The Barker Hen was eliminated in 2006 throughout the experience reimagining that added Jack Sparrow and different components from the hit movie franchise. The Audio Animatronics determine’s return has been rumored many occasions through the years, however that is the primary time that Imagineering has acknowledged the Barker Hen will make its triumphant return to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Right here’s a have a look at the idea artwork launched by Walt Disney World, which incorporates quite a lot of little particulars that benefit nearer inspection:

When it comes to commentary, my preliminary response to that is pleasure. Partially for the lounge itself and what I feel shall be a well-liked addition to Magic Kingdom and a very good love letter to the attraction. It’ll virtually actually be like Dealer Sam’s Grog Grotto with tie-ins to S.E.A. and nods to different extinct sights, however principally a tribute to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Past that, I’m additionally excited for what the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge represents. That is one other current instance of treating the theme parks as their very own mental property, and increasing that universe or no matter you need to name it.

Parks IP isn’t inherently good and the outcomes bear that out–and there might be points with extreme fan service. However typically, I’m so joyful to see the corporate begin treating the parks as their very own factor of worth, relatively than only a promotional car for Disney+ or the studios.

I additionally know that there are a ton of tremendously gifted Imagineers who even have nice appreciation for the long-lasting sights. Passing the baton to this youthful era and letting them work on initiatives for which they maintain nice reverence may be very a lot factor.

Belief me on this–Imagineers are largely not the issue. (Typically there are artistic shortcomings, however that’s often not the explanation for dangerous outcomes.) There’s nonetheless a ton of expertise at WDI and the present era of Imagineers are greater than able to artistic and superior issues. If given the prospect, I feel the can nail a Pirates of the Caribbean lounge. But it surely most likely additionally helps that this must be comparatively low-hanging fruit.

There’s loads that may be mined from the Archives, with the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge drawing upon volumes of Marc Davis artwork and a treasure trove of unused or retired concepts for Adventureland and different lands prefer it. Once more, loads like Dealer Sam’s and even close by Skipper Canteen. Then there’s the Barker Hen, who will mainly be this lounge’s model of DJ R-3X at Oga’s Cantina, the centerpiece leisure of the expertise. Mainly, quite a lot of alternatives for pulling from the previous and current, whereas additionally bringing to life new concepts and lore for Pirates of the Caribbean.

The large query is the place the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge will go. When this was first introduced, I believed somebody 0n stage used the phrase tavern, resulting in the logical inference that it will change Tortuga Tavern. Frankly, even within the absence of that suggestion, Tortuga Tavern is the apparent location for the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge.

Nonetheless, there are a few different potentialities based mostly upon nearer inspection of the idea artwork. The primary is that the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge would change the again eating room of Pecos Invoice–the one which abuts the bottom of Tortuga Tavern. That is actually a bit outlandish, and I’d put the probabilities of it occurring at beneath 5%.

The opposite is that the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge will change the Pirates League. That is way more…uh…landish of a risk than the lounge in some way being tucked away between Pecos Invoice and Tortuga Tavern.

For many who are unfamiliar with it, the Pirates League debuted again in 2009 and was, primarily, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique…for boys! (But in addition for ladies preferring pirates. It’s Disney, they’ll fortunately take anybody’s cash!) It opened at a time when Walt Disney World was large on the pirate/princess dichotomy–proper across the identical time as Pirate & Princess Celebration summertime laborious ticket occasion.

The Pirates League was a seaside hideaway in Magic Kingdom adjoining to Pirates of the Caribbean, and provided visitors of all ages a “swashbuckling pirate transformation” that may embrace a coiffure, facial make-up, and different particular treasures & equipment. Visitors may additionally select a head-to-toe mermaid makeover.

We have now no firsthand expertise with the Pirates League, however reader suggestions about it was typically constructive, and the expertise was no less than fairly widespread. Costs had been typically extra affordable than Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, with a wider vary of choices and a enjoyable present element, as effectively. Its closure was introduced again in January 2020, so this was not a COVID factor, and we reported on the time that it was “unclear what’s motivating the Pirates League closure, or if Walt Disney World has completely different plans for this location.”

I’m considering that now we’d have the reply to that. There’s a fairly good likelihood that the Pirates League is about to carry out one last transformation…itself! My cash is on this for just a few easy causes. First, the idea artwork appears to be like like the within of Pirates League greater than anything, so there’s that.

Second, the inside of Pirates League is already stunning and it’s the identical sort of intimate house as Dealer Sam’s Grog Grotto or Oga’s Cantina. That is actually the massive one. The opposite apparent choices–Tortuga Tavern or a portion of Pecos Payments–all have logistical hurdles. Though Tortuga Tavern might simply be transformed right into a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed restaurant, it’s completely large.

One “answer” to that might be letting Pecos Invoice annex extra of Tortuga Tavern. And actually, I feel that’s more likely to occur. Regardless that it wasn’t introduced at Vacation spot D23 for some cause, there’s an extremely excessive likelihood that Pecos Invoice will change into Tiana’s Palace Restaurant.

When that inevitably happens, Walt Disney World would possibly need extra seating for it–and that would simply be pulled from the Tortuga Tavern aspect (it’s a shared house/kitchen). That’s additionally why it’s loopy to suppose that this Pirates of the Caribbean lounge is a eating room in Pecos Invoice. It simply isn’t.

That additionally hints at why the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge most likely isn’t Tortuga Tavern. Though it’s underutilized now, turning that colossal counter service venue right into a lounge could be shortsighted. Magic Kingdom wants extra eating capability, and that may very well be doubly true when Tiana’s Bayou Journey opens and no matter else occurs with the Past Massive Thunder plans (and one thing will occur).

Setting apart Tortuga Tavern for future improvement or preserving it as a seasonal house might be savvy. As a lot as I’d like for it to get some love now, I feel it has a greater future down the street. In all probability, this Pirates of the Caribbean lounge gained’t really need the infrastructure that Tortuga Tavern might supply. That is very a lot going to be following the Oga’s Cantina blueprint, with mass-produced drinks and solely the lightest of snacks. It actually gained’t want a full kitchen.

Not solely that, I query what sort of “love” Tortuga Tavern would get if reworked right into a Pirates of the Caribbean lounge now. It’s a enjoyable restaurant with nice bones, structure, and themed design…however it simply doesn’t strike me as lending itself effectively to a lounge.

After I take into consideration this, it jogs my memory of the Diamond Horseshoe. That after-great venue has been decreased to a shell of its former self by being misused and underutilized as, primarily, overflow for Liberty Tree Tavern.

I can’t assist however suppose that Tortuga Tavern as a Pirates of the Caribbean lounge could be the same story. As a substitute of becoming themed design in an immersive and enjoyable setting, I’m guessing it’d really feel like a retrofit. It might doubtless solely use a portion of the seating space, with non permanent partitions, view of the skin world, and an absence of intimacy.

I simply can’t see Walt Disney World taking the time or spending the cash to show Tortuga Tavern into a extremely well-done Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge. Maybe I’m fallacious. Frankly, hopefully I’m fallacious, as Tortuga Tavern has the scale benefit and if it had been reimagined proper, it probably may very well be one thing particular.

The factor is, Pirates League already is one thing particular.  Including the Barker Hen to that may take that to the following stage–loads just like the Adventureland reply to Oga’s Cantina, proper all the way down to the Audio Animatronics centerpiece. Producing an ornately-themed, detailed, and flat-out enjoyable Pirates of the Caribbean lounge must be comparatively low-hanging fruit for Imagineers.

Frankly, Walt Disney World might spend just a few months and a comparatively insignificant sum of money to rework Pirates League into an intimate lounge with spot-on themed design that really felt like an extension of the attraction’s story…as a result of it sort of already is. They should add the bar space, create backstory, and supply extra props to strengthen the brand new lore. The inspiration is all there. It’s a house run thought that would flip right into a grand slam with the fitting artistic execution.

The most important query for me is capability. Irrespective of the way you slice it, Pirates League is far smaller than Tortuga Tavern. With that stated, there is perhaps the potential for it to be bigger. I do know there are a bunch of merchandise inventory rooms over on this space, so it’s actually a query of whether or not there’s the flexibility and urge for food to relocate them and convert them into seating for the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge.

Even when there isn’t straight away, the excellent news is that increasing the lounge shall be a risk down the street. My guess is that that is how Walt Disney World will do it–not desirous to “overinvest” or “overbuild” the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge at first.

I can already hear the grousing about this to return when ADRs for the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge are extraordinarily aggressive and visitor curiosity far outstrips capability. That Disney was “too low cost” or “oblivious to demand” and would’ve made far more cash by investing a bit extra at first.

On the one hand, all of that’s (doubtlessly) true. However, that is all a fragile steadiness. A lounge themed to Pirates of the Caribbean is a distinct segment idea, and recognition is a self-fulfilling prophecy. However so too is an abundance of availability. Put the very same factor into Tortuga Tavern and have capability for everybody who needs to do it…and perhaps it’s not highly regarded. However make it unique and a highly-coveted ADR, and the hype machine does its factor.

The underside line is that I can admire Walt Disney World’s place right here on the subject of capability selections and making an attempt to drive demand. Additionally, all of that is totally speculative, and I don’t have any inside data telling me that that is coming to Pirates League.

As you may most likely inform, I’m very bullish on the thought of a Pirates of the Caribbean lounge in Pirates League, and actually excited to step foot in right here…hopefully someday in 2024. To not the purpose that I’ll be downright dissatisfied if it finally ends up going elsewhere (I actually don’t suppose it should), however it’s simply very clearly the best choice.

For me, an enormous a part of that’s the potential for restoring no less than a few of what’s been misplaced to time in Caribbean Plaza at Magic Kingdom. Prior to now, we’ve lamented how most of the stunning fountains in Caribbean Plaza that existed from the Nineteen Seventies by way of 90s have change into planters or are hid totally from visitor view.

This lounge gained’t essentially repair that by itself, however doubtlessly repurposing house that has been underutilized or totally deserted for many years might breathe new life into Caribbean Plaza. It’s not simply getting again inside these former outlets–a lot of which nonetheless retain their unique Imagineering to today–though that actually is an enormous factor.

It’s additionally about restoring an space of Magic Kingdom that was purpose-built for the Florida model of Pirates of the Caribbean. So many diehard Disney followers complain concerning the shorter model of the attraction, however it wasn’t imagined to be “simply” a experience. This entire space as much as Frontierland was conceived as its personal Pirates of the Caribbean mini-land within the Nineteen Seventies, and was actually nice in its prime. (So yeah, Imagineering has been constructing one-ride minilands for some time!)

In the end, the Pirates of the Caribbean lounge is arguably essentially the most “underrated” piece of reports from Vacation spot D23, each for its standalone potential and the brand new life it might deliver to uncared for areas of Caribbean Plaza. I don’t need to let myself get too carried away, however I might see this resulting in a bonafide buccaneeraissance. In spite of everything, this yr’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Celebration already introduced us the return of the Rusty Cutlass and free-roaming pirates in Caribbean Plaza.

Is it actually an excessive amount of to ask for reside pirate performers and a metal drum band, retail revival, in addition to a full transformation of Tortuga Tavern and the addition of this Pirates of the Caribbean lounge? Okay, maybe so. However this can be a good step in the fitting course, and with Tiana’s Palace/Bayou Journey poised to return on-line within the subsequent couple of years, plus no matter’s on the horizon Past Massive Thunder, this sleepy nook of Adventureland might quickly change into a lot busier. Investing in Caribbean Plaza to enhance its capability and utilization could be a savvy forward-thinking, however nonetheless comparatively low-cost transfer for the corporate. It’s additionally one thing visitors and diehard Walt Disney World followers would love, so additionally there’s that!

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Your Ideas

What do you consider Magic Kingdom getting a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge? Would you like to see this change Tortuga Tavern and have an abundance of seating that might make it simpler to entry? Or would you like the intimacy, exclusivity, and difficult ADRs that might include the Pirates League? Do you agree or disagree with our evaluation? Any questions we might help you reply? Listening to your suggestions—even once you disagree with us—is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas beneath within the feedback!

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