The OFFICIAL HIDDEN MICKEY FAN CLUB BLOG – v001!
Pirates of the Caribbean Secrets
By David W. Smith
Hello all you Hidden Mickey Fans!
Like our Hidden Mickey novels, we hope to inspire some adventure in our readers; consider it a ‘quest’ to decipher some ‘inside’ information about Disneyland and things related to Disney.
Because there are some scenes in Hidden Mickey that take place on Pirates of the Caribbean, I thought it would be interesting to share some inside information about the ride. While working the ride for three years (1981 ‘ 1984), I found there were many elements of the ride, which I become familiar with, and found interesting; some of which I want to share with you here.
Regular visitors on the ride no doubt know that there are several infrared cameras throughout the ride. These cameras serve several purposes: One, they are to make sure guests are remaining seated throughout the ride and especially on the two ‘waterfalls’ and the ending ‘up-ramp’ where the boats are moving at sharp angles and at different speeds. Two, they are to make sure the boats don’t back up in a section of the ride. On rare occasions, a boat’s guide wheel will jump the ride flume, (either because of a improperly balanced load of guests or if a boat was rocking due to guests leaning side to side). Three, the use of flash pictures is discouraged due to the blinding light the flash produces for other guests. These flashes show up like nuclear bombs going of on the television monitors that feed the infrared camera images to the cast member who is working the ‘Tower’. (The Tower is the dispatch booth above the load and unload dock which one cast member is responsible for dispatching the boats after receiving a ‘green light’ by the unload host who signals that the boats are loaded an the guests are seated properly by pressing a button on the underside of the handrail on the unload side of the dock.) Also, if people are reaching outside to boat to splash one another, this could potentially harm a guest if the boat were to bump up against the ride flume at the wrong time, possibly pinching the guest’s fingers painfully! Guests who are taking pictures or splashing will usually initiate a loud speaker announcement directed to that particular part of the ride asking for the individuals to resist either/or. The Tower operator has various buttons that direct the speaker to that part of he ride he can see within the range of the infrared camera image.
Many people believe that the rides at Disneyland go ‘underground.’ Well, this is a slight misnomer. Actually, because parts of Disneyland are built higher than the main entrance level, (yes, you are actually walking slightly up hill as you go up Main Street and head into Adventureland and Frontierland. Thus, when you go down the ‘waterfalls’ on Pirates, or go down in the ‘Stretching Room’ on Haunted Mansion, you are actually going down to ‘street level’ of the park. If you look behind the Disneyland Tram loading station in Downtown Disney, you will see several very large buildings behind the vine-decorated fences. These are the Ride Buildings that house Pirates, Indiana Jones, and Haunted Mansion.
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is such a large show that there are actually two Ride Buildings that house all the scenes below Park level. As your boat leaves the Treasure scene on Pirates you enter a dark, low tunnel that lets out in the large open area where the large pirate ship is having a shootout with the fort on the opposite side of the room. The dark tunnel that separates the treasure room from the fight scene between the ship and fort is called the ‘Transition Tunnel”it basically is the connecting tunnel that moves the boats from the first Ride Building to the second.
Well… that’s it for this issue…
Enjoy, and have a Magical Hidden Mickey Day!
Future Book Signings
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If you don’t see HIDDEN MICKEY in your local bookstore, please ask the Store Manager to order it, or contact us with the Bookstore name & address, Managers name, (plus their Phone and/or eMail if possible). We will contact them and maybe even set up a Book Signing there.