East vs. West: Captain Jack Sparrow in the Parks

It’s been far too long since Captain Jack Sparrow has been out regularly to Meet & Greet with guests at Disneyland. However, he does come out to visit for special occasions like Mickey’s Halloween Party or the “Limited Time Magic” week that celebrated pirates in the parks.

Captain Jack Sparrow meeting with guests on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland for “Limited Time Magic”.

Captain Jack Sparrow meeting with guests on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland for “Limited Time Magic”.

If you happen to be visiting Orlando, however, one can often find Jack Sparrow there at “Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial” in Adventureland!

Captain Jack Sparrow makes sure the coast is clear before starting his Pirate Tutorial at the Magic Kingdom.

Jack makes sure the coast is clear before starting his Pirate Tutorial at the Magic Kingdom.

Today I’d like to do a quick comparison between the two experiences.

At the Pirate Tutorial in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Captain Jack Sparrow and one of his shipmates teach members of the audience some survival tips for being a pirate – including the art of how to “distract and flee”! Lucky potential members of the crew (kids from the audience) are called up on stage for some spirited swordplay and more are allowed to join in taking a pirate oath. Even those back in the crowd are invited to shout out responses and sing along with the pirates. However, only a handful of the children brought onstage are lucky enough to interact with Jack directly.

The pros of the tutorial are that you get a much longer time to see the good Captain (the presentation lasts approximately 20 minutes) and you can enjoy a fun show with some comedic skullduggery. The cons are that not everyone gets to share a moment with Jack and he spends most of the time onstage rather than down amongst the crowd.

Yes, children, this is your tutor!

Yes, children, this is your tutor!

At a Meet & Greet such as they’ve had at Disneyland,

you get a much quicker “visit” with Jack as there will always be a line of folks waiting behind you! But you get a moment of personal discourse with him which can create a lovely memory of engaging with this rapscallion – and of course, a photo op!

The pros of the Meet & Greet are being up close with your favorite character and getting to take a picture with him. But the con is the briefness of time you have with him.

Time to say goodbye already?

Time to say goodbye already?

So the choices wind up as: stageplay and interactivity with kids vs a special moment to associate with the character, leaving you with a decision (if you could only pick one) of whether you would rather spend more time watching your favorite character or spend less time meeting him?

For me, as a “big kid”, I’d rather have a shorter time but more personal interchange with a character I really like, than watch him in the tutorial – although it is a charming show. So in this particular case, I’d pick the Meet & Greet for myself. However, for the younger kids, I’d say the Pirate Tutorial would be a more fun experience with the possibility of learning a trick or two from Captain Jack Sparrow himself! Savvy?

How would you choose to encounter this infamous pirate given the chance?  Or have you done so already?

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