Walt Disney Imagineering has just raised the bar again for themed entertainment. We’re just a few weeks out from the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland in China, and the park has just recently opened its gates to guests as part of a soft opening. That means that social media has been flooded with new images and details from Disney’s newest theme park. While the glimpses I’ve seen online have me impressed with Shanghai Disneyland, there’s one video that has driven me to almost book a flight straight to China. That is a ride-through video of Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle of the Sunken Treasure, courtesy of Matthew Finnemore. While sometimes shaky, this video shows exactly how far theme park rides have come since the original Pirates of the Caribbean opened in Anaheim in 1967. Warning: This video will spoil the whole attraction if you are planning a trip to Shanghai. For those of us not sure when we can make the trip over there, this is as close as we’re gonna get to going on Shanghai Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean for now.

There’s so many amazing details to unpack from that video. First of all, I couldn’t help but notice all the awesome nods to the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I love that the boat floats by diners in a restaurant, just like the Blue Bayou at Disneyland. Also like the rides in Orlando and Anaheim, the boat travels through eerie scenes of skeletal pirates. This all feels very familiar, until the boat floats past the three prisoners trying to get a key from a dog. The scene is just like the end of the stateside Pirates attractions, except for one big detail: they are all skeletons, even the dog. This homage to the original attractions was simultaneously cool and creepy for me.

At this point, the attraction takes its own stride. Through what looks like one of the best visual effects Disney has ever done, Jack Sparrow enters the scene, and Pirates of the Caribbean turns into a full-on modern thrill ride. This ride seems to be the most impressive blending of advanced audio-animatronics (that Davy Jones figure!), high definition video, special effects, and practical sets. Everything together gives a sense of scale, adventure, and thrills I’ve never seen before all put together in one ride. Granted, this is all based on one ride-through video, so it’s possible the in-person experience doesn’t live up to the expectations set by this one glimpse. However, if a sometimes-shaky video can get me this excited, I really have to think it doesn’t even come close to actually going on the ride.


How much are flights to Shanghai again?

Shanghai Disneyland Pirates Video