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9 Secrets About Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

Image credit: Disneyland.com

Long before it was a hit movie franchise featuring a certain swaggering scallywag with a penchant for eccentric fashions, Pirates of the Caribbean was just a little boat ride at Disneyland. Actually, scratch that—Pirates has never been little: Since it opened in March of 1967, the attraction has consistently been one of the most popular ones in the park. If it’s a pirate’s life for you, too, you’ll enjoy these facts about the classic buccaneers.

1. It was originally a wax museum.

The initial plan was to create a walk-through wax museum where guests could get up close and personal with villains throughout history, though the focus was eventually narrowed to pirates. When Disney's It’s a Small World and Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln animatronics were hugely successful at the 1964 World's Fair, elements of each were incorporated into the ride and the museum idea was scrapped.

2. It took a lot of doubloons to create.

The $8 million spent on Pirates of the Caribbean accounted for more than half of the cost to build New Orleans Square, the section of the park that houses the ride. The final bill for New Orleans Square was $15 million—the same cost as the real Louisiana Purchase. And speaking of the Louisiana Purchase, it has another tie to Anaheim’s own little piece of NOLA. The attraction façade was partly inspired by the city's Cabildo building (pictured) where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803.

3. Walt himself supervised the ride creation.

To help Walt get the ride experience before the boats were completed, Imagineers rigged a chair up to a dolly and pushed their boss through the attraction at the same approximate speed a boat would pass. Though they thought he would be upset riders couldn’t clearly hear what all of the pirates were saying, Disney was actually delighted. He thought it was like being at a cocktail party, and was pleased that people would be able to pick out something new every time they rode.

Sadly, it was the last ride Walt would be hands-on with. He died while it was still being constructed; it opened three months after his death.

4. It almost included a dinner theater.

The Blue Bayou restaurant has been housed in the peaceful swamp area at the beginning of the ride since Pirates first opened. Had Disney kept the original plans, however, the eating experience wouldn’t have been so serene. While guests dined on Creole cuisine, pirates would amaze and entertain them. After giving it a dress rehearsal, Walt told his executives that "in this restaurant, the food is going to be the show, along with the atmosphere."

5. Opening day was a spectacle.

Disney knew that launching such a ride with a typical ribbon-cutting ceremony would be a huge missed PR opportunity. Instead, he recruited veteran Disney performer Wally Boag to hijack press night on the Sailing Ship Columbia (a boat ride on the Rivers of America) and steer them toward the new ride. Once there, Boag and his pirate crew busted through the fake front doors of the attraction to “open” it. To christen the ride, actress Dorothy Lamour smashed a bottle of water from the Mississippi over an anchor—one rumored to have belonged to the real Jean Lafitte.

6. The scriptwriter had never written a script before.

Love the puns and slightly PG pirate humor? (“Shift your cargo, dearie.”) Then you have X. Atencio to thank. Atencio had been an animator for more than 30 years, working on features such as Dumbo and Pinocchio. Walt abruptly transferred Atencio to the attraction team and tasked him with writing all of the dialogue for the new pirate ride. “I wondered if Walt was talking to the right guy,” Atencio later said. “I had never scripted anything before, but Walt said, ‘I know you can do this.’ And that’s how I became a writer.”

7. The special effects were a little too real.

Disney has always been ahead of its time when it comes to engineering and special effects—and they were certainly ahead of the game when it came to creating fake fire back in 1967. Concerned that people wouldn’t be able to tell reality from fantasy, the Anaheim Fire Chief asked Disney to have an automatic shutoff for it in the event of a real fire [PDF].

8. There’s a second-floor apartment.

The space above Pirates was intended to be a 3000 square-foot apartment for Walt and Roy Disney to use for entertaining or relaxing when they were in the park. Walt died before it was completed, and Roy decided afterward that he didn’t want to use it. The space was used for entertaining VIPs for many years, then operated as an art gallery. These days, it’s home to the “Disneyland Dream Suite,” a tricked-out apartment where guests occasionally get to stay.

9. There are lots of fun details to be on the lookout for.

Before you enter the building, be sure to check out the wrought iron fence on the balcony. The stylized initials “WD” and “RD” have been worked into the iron, representing Walt and Roy. When you get inside the ride, see if you can count all of the animatronic figures. You should come up with a total of 122: 68 humans and 54 animals.
And finally, here’s the creepiest detail of all: For many years, it’s been rumored that the ride contains a real skull amongst the many fake ones. Disney Parks has never confirmed this, but a cast member has:

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5 Subtle Cues That Can Tell You About Your Date's Financial Personality
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Being financially compatible with your partner is important, especially as a relationship grows. Fortunately, there are ways you can learn about your partner’s financial personality in a relationship’s early stages without seeing their bank statement or sitting them down for “the money talk.”

Are they a spender or a saver? Are they cautious with money? These habits can be learned through basic observations or casual questions that don’t feel intrusive. Here are some subtle things that can tell you about your date’s financial personality.

1. HOW THEY ANSWER BASIC MONEY QUESTIONS.

Casual conversations about finance-related topics can be very revealing. Does your date know if their employer matches their 401(k) plan contributions? Do you find their answers to any financial questions a bit vague—even the straightforward ones like “What are the rewards like on your credit card?” This could mean that your partner is a little fuzzy on some of the details of their financial situation.

As your connection grows, money talks are only natural. If your date expresses uncertainty about their monthly budget, it may be an indicator that they are still working on the best way to manage their finances or don’t keep close tabs on their spending habits.

2. WHAT THEY’RE WATCHING AND READING.

If you notice your partner is always watching business news channels, thumbing through newspapers, or checking share prices on their phone, they are clearly keeping abreast of what’s going on in the financial world. Ideally, this would lead to a well-informed financial personality that gives way to smart investments and overall monetary responsibility.

If you see that your date has an interest in national and global finances, ask them questions about what they’ve learned. The answers will tell you what type of financial mindset to expect from you partner moving forward. You might also learn something new about the world of finance and business!

3. WHERE THEY GET THEIR FOOD.

You may be able to learn a lot about someone’s financial personality just by asking what they usually do for dinner. If your date dines out a lot, it could be an indication that they are willing to spend money on experiences. On the other hand, if they’re eating most of their meals at home or prepping meals for the entire week to cut their food budget, they might be more of a saver.

4. WHETHER THEY’RE VOICING MONEY CONCERNS.

Money is a source of stress for most people, so it’s important to observe if financial anxiety plays a prominent role in your date’s day-to-day life. There are a number of common financial worries we all share—rising insurance rates, unexpected car repairs, rent increases—but there are also more specific and individualized concerns. Listen to how your date talks about money and pick up on whether their stress is grounded in worries we all have or if they have a more specific reason for concern.

In both instances, it’s important to be supportive and helpful where you can. If your partner is feeling nervous about money, they’ll likely be much more cautious about what they’re spending, which can be a good thing. But it can also stop them from making necessary purchases or looking into investments that might actually benefit them in the future. As a partner, you can help out by minimizing their expenses for things like nights out and gifts in favor of less expensive outings or homemade gifts to leave more of their budget available for necessities.

5. HOW THEY HANDLE THE BILL.

Does your date actually look at how much they’re spending before handing their credit card to the waiter or bartender at the end of the night? It’s a subtle sign, but someone who looks over a bill is likely much more observant about what they spend than someone who just blindly hands cards or cash over once they get the tab.

Knowing what you spend every month—even on smaller purchases like drinks or dinner—is key when you’re staying on a budget. It’s that awareness that allows people to adjust their monthly budget and calculate what their new balance will be once the waiter hands over the check. Someone who knows exactly what they’re spending on the small purchases is probably keeping a close eye on the bigger picture as well.

REMEMBER THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TALKING.

While these subtle cues can be helpful signposts when you’re trying to get an idea of your date’s financial personality, none are perfect indicators that will be accurate every time. Our financial personalities are rarely cut and dry—most of us probably display some behaviors that would paint us as savers while also showing habits that exclaim “spender!” By relying too heavily on any one indicator, we might not get an accurate impression of our date.

Instead, as you get to know a new partner, the best way to learn about their financial personality is by having a straightforward and honest talk with them. You’ll learn more by listening and asking questions than you ever could by observing small behaviors.

Whatever your financial personality is, it pays to keep an eye on your credit score. Discover offers a Free Credit Scorecard, and checking it won't impact your score. It's totally free, even if you aren't a Discover customer. Check yours in seconds. Terms apply. Visit Discover to learn more.

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Animals
Where Do Birds Get Their Songs?
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Birds display some of the most impressive vocal abilities in the animal kingdom. They can be heard across great distances, mimic human speech, and even sing using distinct dialects and syntax. The most complex songs take some practice to learn, but as TED-Ed explains, the urge to sing is woven into songbirds' DNA.

Like humans, baby birds learn to communicate from their parents. Adult zebra finches will even speak in the equivalent of "baby talk" when teaching chicks their songs. After hearing the same expressions repeated so many times and trying them out firsthand, the offspring are able to use the same songs as adults.

But nurture isn't the only factor driving this behavior. Even when they grow up without any parents teaching them how to vocalize, birds will start singing on their own. These innate songs are less refined than the ones that are taught, but when they're passed down through multiple generations and shaped over time, they start to sound similar to the learned songs sung by other members of their species.

This suggests that the drive to sing as well as the specific structures of the songs themselves have been ingrained in the animals' genetic code by evolution. You can watch the full story from TED-Ed below, then head over here for a sample of the diverse songs produced by birds.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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