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Why Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is a good thing

There's an old saying that explains why special things feel special that goes, "You can't eat steak everyday".  Meaning, that steak is an expensive food that isn't practical to have for dinner every day and so, other times you'll have to eat something less special.  The same can be true about Walt Disney World attractions and nothing is more exploratory of that than the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.

This new show is an eight-minute showcase of Jack Sparrow's finest moments from the Pirates of the Caribbean films.  It is by no means a headliner attraction and would be categorized under the old ticket system as an A or B-ticket.   But there's a certain segment of Disney Parks fans that are upset with what the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is and think it's a poor attraction.

Simply, not every attraction in Walt Disney World can be amazing.  You have to fill up the ranks of park attractions with lesser attractions.  But the overlooked factor is the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is actually a fun little attraction. The projections that Disney's Imagineers have utilized really make the show feel like it's happening around you.  From the skeleton crew that surrounds you to the damage in the walls from canon balls, you are part of the action.  This is the sort of immersiveness that a traditional or even 3D film could never achieve. 

One aspect of the attraction is the interactivity between the show and the audience.  Basically, the show's characters encourage guests to stomp their feet, yell and do other basic actions to join in the fun.  For some, this comes off as juvenile and a limiter to the attraction's audience.  Frankly, we need to remind ourselves we are in a theme park that wants all of us, young and old, to feel like children again.  

Is riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant a juvenille activity for an adult such as myself?  Absolutely.  But it is also a lot of fun and it makes me feel like a kid again.  Same goes for when I meet any of the characters in the park or enjoying my favorite attractions in any of the parks.  Walt Disney World at its core is about jettisoning your inhibitions and doing what is fun.  So stomping my feet or yelling, "Yo Ho Ho" in Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is not just for kids anymore so than enjoying a ride on It's A Small World.

There's no question that Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is a marked improvement over its predecessor, Journey into Narnia.  And it's certainly better than having a closed sound stage with nothing at all operating (see Sounds Dangerous).

Some will point out Disney's Hollywood Studios flaws and say that the park needs a lot more than something like Legend of the Captain Jack Sparrow or some may even go as far to say that the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is a waste of resources given that money and time could have gone towards attraction(s) that would really improve the park. The fact is, that isn't how things work at the Disney Parks.  Projects related to new attractions all run in tandem with each other, with whatever attraction that happens to be in development on a completely different time table from another.  There is not a linear progression between each project, and it's silly to think that Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow was a replacement idea for something grander for the park or even a hinderence to such a thing.  They are two different entities in the world of Imagineering (assuming a major park improvement project even exists).

What we need to take away from Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is it is a fun show that augments your day at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  It is not the reason anyone books a trip to Walt Disney World but it plays its role in offering unique experiences that Walt Disney World is best known for.  The projection technology used is quite impressive and for me is the best use of projections yet.  Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is nothing like a good steak, but then again, there's nothing wrong with chicken for dinner either.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 by