The Legendary Laffite’s Legacy
Over the years, fans of Pirates of the Caribbean have marveled at the technology and theming of the ride, and like any fan, they look to see past the superficial story to uncover the tiniest of details to gratify their thirst for a more complete story. Being a fan of that nature, I have stumbled across certain ideas that create an interconnected story that runs all throughout New Orleans square and the attractions within its land. The discovery of just how invested the Imagineers were into creating a historical narrative for the area was fascinating.
Different nods and winks to the historical figure, Jean Laffite can be found all over the Square and inside the attractions. One of the first acknowledgments of the pirate’s ties to the Square was mentioned in an opening day video that the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was perfectly at home in New Orleans Square because New Orleans was the home of real-life pirate Jean Laffite. This homage to Laffite can be seen in the center of the square where there is an anchor with a plaque stating that it had come from his pirate ship. There is also a nod to the pirate in the loading platform of the ride, where a sign can be seen overhead naming the loading platform as “Laffite’s Landing”. From these references came theories about what they could mean.
Over the past few decades, Disney has run refurbishments on their rides and attractions to keep guest populations from going stagnate. These refurbishments could be as simple as updating audio, ride scenes, or putting a new shop in the themed land to draw new crowds. An example of this refurbishment was mentioned by a former Imagineer: Eddie Sotto. In an interview conducted earlier this year, Mr. Sotto talks about how he wanted to add a “History Driven”area to New Orleans square. He noticed the different dedications to Laffite in the land already and wanted to build off that. Mr. Sotto’s plans for a new attraction was a mega-theme-crossover that would link The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and Tom Sawyer’s Island (which is in the Rivers of America next to New Orleans square). The idea was to revamp Tom Sawyer’s island into the pirate lair ofJean Laffite where guests would enter the Laffite Family Mausoleum (in TheHaunted Mansion’s graveyard). Once inside the tomb guests would discover a passage into an underground catacomb that would lead them under the Rivers of America to the island where the Pirate Lair would be located.
Above images are from Eddie Sotto’s studio blog outlining his concept for the Pirate Lair attraction.
From the Pirates of the Caribbean to the World of Tomorrow, Disney,
Lafitte and the ‘Mega-Theme’ Temptation,” blogspot.com, entry
posted September 14, 2010, accessed November 29, 2018, https://longforgottenhauntedmansion.blogspot.com/2010/09/jean-lafitte-and-mega-theme-temptation.html?m=1.
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Island,” by Jim Korkis, Mouse Planet, last modified August 1, 2018,
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