Pirate parrot in 1996

Pirates of the Caribbean had already been added by the time I saw Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World for the first time. (Yes, Virginia, there was a time when Pirates was not yet there. Although the Wikipedia states it opened in 1973, it wasn’t yet listed in the park guides for the Spring/Summer season.)

One of my favorite memories from the ride was the animatronic pirate parrot outside the ride’s entrance. Animatronics were still brand new technology at the time. The first animated Tiki Birds showed up at Disneyland in 1963 followed by the first human characters at Disney’s exhibits at the 1964 Worlds Fair (specifically Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Carousel of Progress). As a child in the 70s, I was mesmerized by these robotic creatures, and this parrot was a great way to watch one up close.

Magic Kingdom Pirate parrot on August 26, 1996.

But I digress.

Getting back to the parrot, it dawns on me that, soon, it will have been long enough since he was removed that a whole new generation will exist that has no idea this parrot ever existed… (Thank goodness for YouTube videos, I suppose.)

Between my 1999 WDW visit and my return in 2006, the parrot was gone.

No parrot (left of the banner) on October 23, 2006.

During the “update” they added all kinds of banners, more painted signs, and a huge ship mast with sails outside. I guess folks were having trouble locating this attraction.

New entrance sign, plus banners. Lots of banners. Photo taken December 3, 2006.

And, to remind everyone that the ride now was linked to the still-new Johnny Depp movies, the movie logo appeared in various places.

The movie version of the skull, painted above the ride entrance on December 8, 2006.

As far as the pirate parrot, at some point after his removal, I believe he (was it the original figure?) was on display in Downtown Disney at the big Disney Store, but I can’t find a photo of it. Did I imagine that? Or did I just see someone else’s photo of it?

Well, wherever he is, he is missed, at least by this one guest.

Until next time…

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