So that casino at Walt Disney World is finally happening?

Click-bait headlines are exclaiming that a casino is coming to Walt Disney World. Whether this is accurate or not isn’t important, but it did bring back memories of something my father told me long ago.

My dad was taken to Disneyland shortly after it first opened in 1955. In the 1970s, he took me to Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Because of that, I can say there was a time when I had visited every Disney park in the entire world!

But I digress.

In the days before the Internet, Disney rumors were far more sparse. You really didn’t know anything unless you read it in a book, or you knew someone who knew anything. And, somewhere, my dad had “learned” that the space-age Contemporary Resort had been built to have a casino. Disney, doing a casino? That will never happen.

I grew up in Houston, and after I got my first computer modem (kids, ask your parents), I started frequenting the bulletin board systems (BBS) in town. One of the users was a guy who had worked at Magic Kingdom for a number of years doing behind the scenes stuff.

I exchanged many messages with him, asking him all kinds of questions. “What do the Presidents look like up close?” “How does xxxx work?” He explained things to me that I wouldn’t be able to confirm until a decade later after I got access to Internet (news groups like alt.disney.disneyland and rec.arts.disneyparks and, later, personal home pages on the World Wide Web).

One story he told me had to do with Madam Leota in the Haunted Mansion. I expect I knew it was a projection, but he told me something about air being blown to keep dust out from in front of the projection (true?), and that the lens was special with edges to keep the sides in better focus or something. A decade later, I think it was the Persistence of Vision magazine that contained some of this same information. I bet if I did some web searches right now I could find out if either of those sources were correct.

But not everything he told me was correct. Or, if it was, it never amounted to anything. He mentioned they had been wanting to do a similar Madame Leota effect for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, except it would be to project a giant octopus or something. I don’t remember anything else, except the term “angel hair” was part of it — to this day, I still don’t really know what that meant. I envisioned it as some kind of substance you could fill a glass sphere with and project on.

None of this is important, of course, but he, too, had heard about a casino at the Contemporary.

Over the years, Disney has made steps to fight against casinos coming to the area. There’s really no reason to believe Disney would ever do anything like a casino.

But then Pleasure Island happened, and none of us ever expected Disney to compete against Church Street Station by opening up a whole bunch of night clubs!

All of this to say that … if it does come to pass, at least we can change this crazy unsubstantiated and unlikely rumor from CLEARLY FALSE to OH I GUESS ITS TRUE. Even if one has nothing to do with the other.

Until next time…

The time(s) Disney changed the lyrics to the Pirates of the Carribean theme song


  • Added Google screen shot for ”stand up me hearties yo ho” version.
  • Added YouTube video of that version.
  • Updated title. Will there be more versions found?

ADVISORY: This article uses the ”r“ word, mostly so search engines can find it in case anyone else stumbles upon this topic.

While researching something completely unrelated, I ended up exploring some old internet newsgroup messages. (You see, kids, before there was a World Wide Web, Disney fans used text and things called ”news groups” to communicate with each other.)

I stumbled across a 1997 posting about the breaking news that Disneyland was going to be changing Pirates of the Caribbean. This was followed by a comment wondering if they were going to remove the word ”rape” from the Yo Ho theme song, too. As a kid who visited Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in the 1970s, I also grew up thinking there was a line in that song that used that word. As an adult, I had assumed Disney must have edited out that inappropriate verse.

It wasn’t until years later when fans had access to full source audio and scans of he original sheet music that we could confirm that there never was such a line in the original song. All such memories were false. Seeing others, back in the mid-1990s, make references to it let me know that at least I wasn’t alone in mishearing a song lyric.

But I digress.

In that discussion, someone pointed out that this word never appeared in the theme song, but that Disney had removed ”drink up me hearties, yo ho!” from a CD release of the theme song.

Some quick research led me to the album: Music From the Parks, 1996. I had this album on cassette. It contained remakes of Disney theme park songs done by other artists. Read more about it here:

The track listing as as follows:

  • “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” – Patti Austin
  • “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” – The Pointer Sisters
  • “It’s a Small World/When You Wish Upon a Star Medley” – Etta James
  • “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” –  Tim Curry
  • “Grim Grinning Ghosts” – Barenaked Ladies
  • “Hakuna Matata Medley” – The Rembrandts
  • “Circle of Life/Can You Feel the Love Tonight Medley” – Richard Page
  • “SpectroMagic Medley (Instrumental)” – David Benoit
  • “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” – Linda Ronstadt
  • “Part of Your World” – Olivia Newton-John
  • “Mickey Mouse March/Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Medley (Instrumental)” – The Disney Big Band
  • “When You Wish Upon a Star” – Take 6
  • “Remember the Magic (Theme Song) – Brian McKnight
  • “IllumiNations 25” – The Disney Big Band

…and while researching this, I learned there was a bonus track on the CD I never heard. I only had it on cassette. (And still do, somewhere.)

I bought this album specifically because it had remakes of the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean theme songs. About the only other thing on the album that stands out in my mind to this day is the Davy Crocket song sung in Rocky Horror Picture Show style by Tim Curry. It’s quite the hoot! (“Davy …. David, Crocket… King of the …*wild* frontier…”)

I found The Pointer Sister’s version of Yo Ho on YouTube, and sure enough, the song had been re-arranged and omitted ”Drink up me hearties, yo ho”:

Since this was around the same time decisions were being made to alter the ride, it does make me wonder if the changes in these lyrics were done for a similar reason — or maybe they just decided to change the song for artistic reasons, leaving out the one line all of us know even if we cannot remember the versus. (Typing that out now, that would seem to be a very odd decision, if so.)

The original:

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

The Pointer Sisters version:

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
Yo ho, yo YO, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage plunder, we rifle and loot.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.

The same pattern follows through the rest of the song.

If I ever noticed this at the time, I forgot that I noticed. But I think that I didn’t. At that time, we did not have access to full versions of these soundtracks. I remember being quite happy at discovering one could pull of some audio files from the Walt Disney World Explorer CD-ROM and get some instrumental background snippets that had never been released publicly before.

So, while the R word never appeared in the original song, a Disney remake of the song did alter the lyrics to remove lines about drinking.

The more you know…

Stand up me hearties, yo ho?

And further proving you can’t really trust what a search engine chooses for you as the best possible answer, look at what Google brings up for the lyrics:

Stand up me hearties, yo ho?

There must be some Disney Kids album that has a censored version of the song on it… I guess.

Update: Jonas Brothers, Disney Mania 4.

%d bloggers like this: