It was no small task preparing for the March 18, 1967 opening of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland. At the time it was the most ambitious project undertaken by WED Enterprises—now Walt Disney Imagineering. Imagineers were already used to pulling off miracles, but for Pirates of the Caribbean they pulled out all the stops! Audio-Animatronics® technology had brought to life the birds and flowers of the Enchanted Tiki Room and the children of it’s a small world, but only one adult human figure had been attempted up to that point—President Abraham Lincoln for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Just three years later, Pirates of the Caribbean introduced the world to no fewer than 64 buccaneers, brides, and villagers—and 55 animals! Imagineers like Leota Toombs Thomas (seen here in an episode from Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color television show, “Disneyland: From the Pirates of the Caribbean to the World of Tomorrow”) worked hard to make sure the figures looked as lifelike as possible. And if Leota looks familiar, you may know her as the original face of the ghostly medium Madame Leota from WED’s other big Audio- Animatronics® attraction: The Haunted Mansion. Pirates of the Caribbean opened on March 18, 1967 with the entire spectacle we’ve come to expect from Disneyland. A pirate crew, led by veteran Disneyland performer Wally Boag, shanghaied the press aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia and set course for New Orleans Square. When the ship docked, screen star Dorothy Lamour broke a bottle of Mississippi River water over an anchor—reputedly once owned by pirate Jean Lafitte—to open the attraction. Boag and his buccaneers then smashed through the faux front door of the attraction, launching the first of thousands of voyages along the Spanish Main. Like Disneyland itself, Pirates of the Caribbean was an instant hit with the public and—with a little bit of help from one of the most successful film franchises of all time—has only grown in popularity in the 45 years since!