Skull Rock Yesterland
Photo of Skull Rock with flowers and waterfalls
Dine at Skull Rock, like the people in the lower left corner above.

After you get your hot tuna pie at Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship Restaurant, grab a seat at Skull Rock Cove, in the shadow of eerie Skull Rock. You might remember Skull Rock from Walt Disney’s 1953 classic, Peter Pan. Listen to the sound of waterfalls, as you enjoy your Chicken of the Sea cuisine.

Photo of Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Skull Rock
Skull Rock is just steps away from the Pirate Ship Restaurant.
 
Photo of Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Skull Rock
Take a walk behind the waterfalls.
 
Photo of Skull Rock at night
Skull Rock is even more dramatic at night.

Skull Rock became part of Disneyland in 1960, joining another icon from Peter Pan, Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship, which had been in Disneyland since 1955.

Skull Rock and the Pirate Ship were both victims of the New Fantasyland project in 1982. When the New Fantasyland opened in May 1983, guests found that the old tournament façades had been replaced by charming architecture; the old dark rides had been improved; Pinocchio’s Daring Journey had been added; and rides such as King Arthur Carrousel had been moved around to eliminate Fantasyland’s previously cramped layout. But Skull Rock and the Pirate Ship were gone—Dumbo the Flying Elephant had taken over the space.

Photo of Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris
Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris
Today, you can once again visit “Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Galley” and Skull Rock—not just in Yesterland, but also in Adventureland at Disneyland Paris.

Skull Rock is in an area of Adventureland called Adventure Isle. With caves, a suspension bridge, and a pirate lookout, Adventure Isle plays a similar role to Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland—except that it’s reached by bridges, not by a raft ride.

Photo of Skull Rock interior at Disneyland Paris
Inside Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris

The Imagineers who designed Disneyland Paris didn’t simply dust off the blueprints for the original Skull Rock. The skull now looks like sedimentary rock, upheaved so that the layers are at an angle. The inside of Skull Rock is a cave. The eye cavities are openings that provide a view toward Fantasyland from inside the skull.

For around a dozen years, the Disneyland Hotel at the Disneyland Resort had its own versions of Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Skull Rock. They were part of the Never Land Pool, which opened in 1999. They weren’t as big and fancy as their departed cousins in Disneyland’s Fantasyland—but the old Skull Rock didn’t have a hot tub or a 100-foot water slide. The hotel’s nod to Peter Pan didn’t survive the 2011 transformation of the Never Land Pool into the E-Ticket Pool.

Photo of Skull Rock at the Disneyland Hotel
Skull Rock at Disneyland Hotel’s Never Land Pool

If you’re in Southern California and you still want to visit Skull Rock, there are three ways to do so.

First, go on the Peter Pan’s Flight ride in Fantasyland. Skull Rock is part of the imaginative scenery that makes Peter Pan’s Flight a timeless ride that can be enjoyed over and over by all ages.

Photo of Skull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park
Skull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park

Next, drive out to Joshua Tree National Park, where Skull Rock was “imagineered by nature.” Take the 1.7-mile Skull Rock nature trail to see rock formations, plants and animals of the high desert. But you won’t find a shop with Peter Pan souvenirs (or hot tuna pie, for that matter).

Finally, buy or rent a DVD of Peter Pan, in which Peter Pan fights Captain Hook at Skull Rock.


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Last updated September 6, 2012.

Photograph of Skull Rock with flowers and waterfalls: by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor.
Photograph of Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Skull Rock: 1973 by Fred M. Nelson, Sr.
Photograph of Skull Rock side view: 1962 by Ron Garrison.
Photograph of Skull Rock at night: 1975 by Dennis Caswell.
Photograph of Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris: 2005 by Werner Weiss.
Photograph of Skull Rock interior at Disneyland Paris: 2005 by Werner Weiss.
Photograph of Skull Rock interior at the Disneyland Hotel: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photograph of Skull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park: 2003 by Werner Weiss.