Sorry for the delay in articles recently here at TPU. If you follow us on Instagram, Twitter and our Facebook page, you’ll know that I was in Shanghai, China for over a week exploring Shanghai Disneyland and taking in some local sites. For better or worse, what follows will be a comprehensive series of articles, videos, and photos of the park from an American’s point of view. Today we take a ride on what is easily one of the best dark rides seen in recent years and is, without question, the crown jewel of Shanghai Disneyland, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.
The queue for Pirates of the Caribbean is massive to say the least. Think around the size of the original Dueling Dragons at Islands of Adventure and you’ll get an idea. The difference is there are many switchbacks that can be opened within the building and you can get to load within a seven or eight-minute walk, assuming the ride is a walk on.
You’ll also notice that signage throughout the queue (and in the park) is written in both Mandarin Chinese and English. It’s also worth noting that the Cast Members were trained to speak enough English to do their particular job. For example, the Cast Member at load could ask you in English how many people are in your party and could assign you to the appropriate row with no problems at all.
In addition, they are very eager to greet you with theming in English like, “Ahoy mateys!” as you entered the building. Since I’m a white guy, they were quick to transition between English and Mandarin fairly easily and I had zero problems communicating while I was in Shanghai Disneyland.
One thing worth pointing out is the amount of detail found all throughout Shanghai Disneyland. I am sure Disneyland purists and Harry Potter lovers will be quick to jump down my throat.
However, I am here to tell you that Shanghai Disneyland is easily the most detail-oriented theme park I have ever seen.
We are going to cover as many of those details as we can here in future article at TPU, but this park has completely unique stories, queues, gift shops, soundtracks, and even park background music (BGM) that sets this park apart from any other within the Disney empire. It is impressive.
This includes a unique ride system different from any other Pirates of the Caribbean found on the planet. Boats glide along via magnetic power along the floor and not via water pumps along within the flume. As a matter of fact, there is no flume, just a center rail along the center of the bottom of the boat. This allows the boats to pivot in front of a scene, travel backwards and face any direction to draw your attention.
Each Pirates boat seats 30 people (compared to 23 in all other versions) and has a killer on-board audio system which includes speakers in front of every rider. While the signage and Cast Members do use English, the dialogue within the rides (apart from safety spiels) is 100% Mandarin. However, you can pick up what is going on pretty easily if you aren’t fluent.
Having an electronically propelled boat system means they are always perfectly spaced. You know how annoying it is to slam into the boats while you are waiting to approach unload in all of the other Pirates rides around the world? Not here. Your voyage is smooth and steady the entire time.
One thing I feel this ride has mastered that no other ride has yet to is a balance of technology. There are only a handful of animatronics. There are many, many detailed and layered sets throughout the building and the projections are incredibly sharp, clear, and enveloping. I know many fans poo poo the use of projections used in rides these days (myself included), but here they are blended in extremely well with the scenery in a way you couldn’t possibly do with practical effects.
These images were not doctored in any way, but this is what came straight from my camera. In person, this is far more impressive than what you are looking at now. It truly is breathtaking.
I encourage you to click on the video below and take a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Sunken Treasure. There will be many more videos and articles to follow. If you have any questions about the park, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me on social media.
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