Pirates of the Caribbean – Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida: The Chess Board Stalemate Rumor
Pirates of the Caribbean is a popular attraction in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The line for this ride has some of the best and most detailed scenery. Part of the line includes a peek-down view into a dungeon cell where two skeletons were playing chess.
Rumor online was that they were at a stalemate in their game of chess – a funny joke that they died unable to finish the game. Story goes that Imagineer Marc Davis intended for the stalemate in the original art and design of the ride.
We scoured the net to find out if this rumor were true or not, but with little success. A few sites mentioned the rumor, though each offered totally different placement for the chess pieces and no conclusive photos. So on August 27, 2003 we took a friend’s camera with us to the Magic Kingdom in WDW to find out once and for all.
The original image taken:
While Marc Davis may have wanted a stalemate, the fact is, THE PIRATE CHESS BOARD IS NOT IN STALEMATE.
This started a bit of an obsession. Every time we rode the attraction, we tried to get a shot of the board. In the early years, it was more challenging due to digital camera limitations. So there’s a wide variety of quality to these shots. As Florida residents living about an hour away, we have the opportunity to get there more often than most. (I have to admit, I’ve also gotten pretty good at taking this photo. 😉 It used to take several minutes for me to get the shot. Now I can take it almost without stopping! LOL)
While we found out that the pieces do in fact move, they do so randomly. A result of cleaning, dusting and the board being bumped or shifted rather than anything intentional. Sadly though, throughout the entire process, over the course of a dozen years, and through a refurb, the fact remains that the chess board is NOT in stalemate.
In 2006, Pirates of the Caribbean closed for several months for renovation and refurbishment. Captain Jack Sparrow was added to the attraction as well as some scenery and script changes. It was believed that during the renovation, the chess board would be finally, properly set to be a stalemate. Sadly, this proved NOT to be the case.
Images and content originally posted on my personal site, GivenEyesToSee.com.
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