We were privileged to preview Shanghai Disneyland in May 2016, before its official opening June 16, 2016. With an impressive collection of opening attractions — many of them unique to Shanghai’s park — the top prize is claimed by “Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Sunken Treasure” for its jaw-dropping cinematic beauty on an epic scale.
Having now seen all six Disney castles (Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai), Shanghai Disneyland’s “Pirates” is one of the most impressive rides ever built.
The following is our first-hand perspective, taking you moment by moment through the attraction.
(This video is posted on our Chrysalis Travel YouTube channel.)
Winding through the queue, details in the rock work transport you to another time… Jack Sparrow’s “Wanted” posters are printed in multiple languages.
Reaching the launch area, you load onto boats with five seats across and a total of 30 guests on board. A very small drop with a splash….and the adventure begins…
0:03 The Jolly Roger talking skull, a definite nod to Pirates’ tradition. Everything is in Mandarin Chinese, but the tone is clear. Warnings for those who dare ride.
0:23 The boat goes past a water-front restaurant with lights, very reminiscent of the Blue Bayou in Anaheim and Tokyo Disneyland. In Shanghai Disneyland, this is “Barbossa’s Bounty,” a quick service restaurant with several food bay choices, and a nest of pirate-themed rooms to enjoy your meal.
0:37 Pirate skeletons come into view. The first one’s been run through.
0:56 The Brethren Lords sit at the Pirate Council — as skeletons — fighting over Pieces of Eight. Scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean, at World’s End.”
1:04 The jail scene, a definite tribute to all preceding “Pirates” rides. Only this time, all have joined the skeleton realm, including the dog.
1:40 Impressive transformation scene (not caught on this shot)… A talking skeleton re-animates to become Jack Sparrow, a full Audio Animatronic. He wishes you good luck…
2:10 …As you descend into the realm of Davy Jones. The onboard audio soundtrack is as moving as the imagery in this segment. Vast projection screens transport your boat deep into the depths of the ocean following the path of a large shark. Your boat glides through the ship graveyard and past other members of Davy Jones’ crew. It is beautiful, almost peaceful as you catch your breath under the water. Until…
2:34 The Kraken awakens. It is a giant octopus-like creature, ‘with an aura of foreboding.’
2:49 You follow the Kraken through the ribs of a shipwreck in the graveyard. How many ships have met their doom here?
3:20 Large crabs battle over something shiny (remember the crabs from “Finding Nemo”?)
3:23 The sweet siren call of mermaid’s song… and here are the mermaids themselves. The ship gathers speed and turns.
3:42 Talking heads — two members of Davy Jones’ crew are in the stocks having a lively conversation. It would be interesting to have this interpreted into English.
3:54 Mounds of sunken treasure…
4:01 You pass a twisted pirate ship with skeleton figurehead. The impressive movie projections extend all the way to the ceiling. You truly feel under water, deep in the ocean, watching the light and waves ripple far above your head.
4:15 Maccus, (the hammerhead First Mate of Davy Jones), has something funny to say (ha ha ha…).
4:23 The caverns echo with passionate organ music leading into the Flying Dutchman. This can only mean one thing….
4:33 Davy Jones is revealed as the mad musician. Sitting at his organ, he talks about explosions (the only Mandarin words I can make out). The Kraken slips away in the window beyond.
4:41 Jones pivots around, tentacles twitching, uttering more warnings about the treasure.
4:53 You sail down an underwater hall as the ship turns…
5:00 Watery images shimmer on the wall, as if an optical illusion.
5:01 The screens pull open to reveal…
5:04 A scene of epic proportions. A graveyard of ships that dwarf your own are resurrected — and you with them. Being pushed up from the depths of the ocean floor, you catch your breath…
5:16 And gasp at the reality of what just happened. Back from Davy Jones’ locker, bathed in a flaming sunset. You realize you have just made it past World’s End to the land of the living.
5:22 Your relief is brief, as Davy Jones surfaces in the Flying Dutchman with a giant splash, and nearly rams your tiny vessel.
5:32 You realize his battle is with Jack Sparrow, aboard the Black Pearl… and you are now caught in the middle.
5:39 With fierce cannon fire between Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow in their massive ships, you maneuver between them, immersed in one of the most cinematic scenes in ride history. The ships sinking before you are real on these vast projection screens.
5:48 You see a blast hole in the Black Pearl
5:58 Davy Jones disappears in a puff of putrid green smoke to battle Jack Sparrow
6:05 (sounds of sword fighting follow Jones and Sparrow as they battle on the upper deck, not quite visible on this video)
6:16 You sail backwards, spinning to witness Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow sword fighting in the hold.
6:22 Jack swings, rocking a net in the foreground.
6:30 The battle continues in typical Jack Sparrow style with swords and chickens flying, ensuing cannon fire, and massive flooding. Your ship is backing away, but not fast enough…
6:44 The explosion propels you up a small lift and waterfall drop through pitch darkness. You recover your thoughts. What did you just witness?
7:11 You drift slowly past a small sailboat, and hear the voice of Jack Sparrow… interrupted by Davy Jones.
7:23 A wall of pirate treasure glitters with gold and jewels…
7:28 …and turns to dust before your eyes, cursed by Davy Jones. Jack Sparrow is devastated.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Sunken Treasure” is an A+ attraction. A completely immersive experience, you will feel like you stepped into a Jerry Bruckheimer “Pirates” film.
The genius ride vehicle design, stunning visuals, moving musical score, and the brilliant cinematic presentation of this “Pirates” attraction exceeds all others to date. (And we include Spiderman, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Escape from Gringotts, and Fast and Furious Supercharged).
Add this to your Bucket List.
Special thanks to our Disney friends for this exclusive access!! We are so blessed by you for this special opportunity!