Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Attraction Review: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow

Having opened on December 6, The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow found itself in a place that many Disney fans found to be Disney's version of purgatory. Its footprint placed it in the former home of Journey to Narnia. Anyone who spends time in Central Florida will likely agree that besides Sounds Dangerous, this attraction had been the longest running without any real relevance. Consider this bit: Journey to Narnia closed on September 10, 2011. The attraction opened late June 2008 as a promotion of Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian opening that summer. The important piece of note: In December 2008 Disney dropped out as co-producers of the Narnia series, thus cutting ties with the franchise. This rendered the attraction irrelevant. For almost three years this attraction sat in purgatory, taking up space and costs with no hint of being important.

Fast Forward to late October 2012 when the announcement was made that the former plot would be used as an interactive experience based on Captain Jack and the Pirates of the Caribbean. This announcement proved to be important because it created an area, near Toy Story Mania, that would continue to be relevant long after the film series ends. Keeping in mind the fact that the films were based on an attraction Disney created, It would feature Johnny Depp, the star of the film series, and Disney's resident ace in the hole. Depp's popularity alone make all of his ventures popular. (See the upcoming Lone Ranger film)

Having had the opportunity to see the attraction during guest previews, (that Disney employees did not want to admit was happening) it is clear to see that the attraction is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, as well as a entertaining experience all its own. The attraction features projection mapping,  dark ride elements as well as interactivity. Though it shares the same walkthrough element that Narnia presented, its presentation is stunning and impressive.

Upon entering, guests are reintroduced to the famous talking skull that many enthusiasts miss from the original attraction. Once inside the showroom, guests are in for a special effects extravaganza that includes Davy Jones, the Kraken and maybe the mermaids. Your job is to protect Jack Sparrows cave hideout and maybe even be given the opportunity to join Captain Jack's crew. Johnny Depp's appearance along the Black Pearl (via green screen technology) allows for different experiences each time. The special effects go from blowing ship sails, to explosions form cannon fire. The projection mapping prove exquisite as they successfully recreate a seaside attack.

The 8 minute attraction is one to be seen in person, and one that cannot be accurately explained. It is not often that an attraction be given such high marks, especially a walkthrough, but as an overall experience it does rank highly for what it is. Its predecessor cannot even begin to compare. Next time you are in Hollywood Studios do not pass up this attraction, or chalk it up as the same old walkthrough. Join Captain Jack's crew. It truly is impressive.

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