Pirates Arcade Museum

Yester New Orleans has four things listed under “Adventures and Attractions” in your guidebook.

Everyone knows about the two big “E” tickets—Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. There’s also the Frontierland station of the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad (which is also listed under Frontierland).

Pirate’s Arcade Museum at Disneyland

Scan from Fall-Winter 1969 Disneyland Guidebook © Disney

Four attractions on Yester New Orleans Square map

But there’s a fourth attraction—Pirates Arcade Museum.

As you exit from Pirates of the Caribbean, make a right turn just before you reach Royal Street. Or you can enter directly from Royal Street.

Pirate’s Arcade Museum at Disneyland

Photo by Marion Caswell, 1977

Taking aim on the Freebooter Shooter

Welcome to the Pirates Arcade Museum. You say it looks more like an arcade than a museum? You’re right.

These are one-of-a-kind, pirate-themed Disney games in beautiful wooden cabinets with rope edges. Pull a dime from your pocket, and try your skill at an electro-mechanical shooting gallery machine. Try such favorites as:

  • “Freebooter Shooter”—Take pot shots at drunken pirates teetering on top of kegs, like those in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Earn ratings such as “spifflicated” and “cupshotten.”
  • “Cap’n Black”—Aim carefully when you play this very dark, spooky, and challenging machine.
  • “Captain Hook”—Blast away, as the machine plays “A Pirate’s Life Is a Wonderful Life” from Peter Pan.
  • “Pirate Shoot”—The artwork shows a one-eyed pirate, with the caption, “Test your eye, mate!”

Say hello to Fortune Red, the red-bearded pirate fortune teller. Put a coin in the slot on his cabinet.

Don’t leave without buying a postcard from the special postcard vending machine. These cards feature concept drawings for Pirates of the Caribbean by Marc Davis, the creative genius behind many of Disneyland’s greatest attractions.

At Disneyland, New Orleans Square opened in July 1966, but its major attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean didn’t open until March 1967. The Pirates Arcade Museum, located next to the exit from Pirates of the Caribbean, opened in the same time frame.

Despite its name, it was never really a museum. But if these one-of-a-kind devices were still around today, what great museum pieces they would make!

Pirate’s Arcade Museum at Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2005

Pieces of Eight

During the 1970s, the game arcade industry changed dramatically. Computer-driven video game cabinets superseded the games of yore.

When 1980 began, the Disneyland Souvenir Guide for 1980 still had four attractions in New Orleans Square, including this one:

Pirates Arcade
Pirate games for a doubloon or a handful of coins.

Later the same year, the Disneyland Souvenir Guide for 1980 had just three attractions in New Orleans Square, but an additional store:

Pieces of Eight
A veritable treasure chest of pirates’ plunder! Eye patches, decorative brass items, sailing ship models, mugs, masks, gifts and toys.

The shooting gallery games were gone, but a dubloon impression machine and Fortune Red remained in a corner of the store.

Pirate’s Arcade Museum at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1998

Pieces of Eight shop in 1998

Since 1980, Pieces of Eight has sold pirate souvenirs, such as skull mugs and Jolly Roger pennants. The shop has been the perfect setting for merchandise from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Pirate’s Arcade Museum at Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2005

Do you need some Kodak film?

The merchandise mix has changed over the years. There was a time when shops all over Disneyland stocked a good selection of film for cameras.

Pirate’s Arcade Museum at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2015

Fortune Red

Fortune Red has moved out of Pieces of Eight, but not far. He’s now in a passageway just outside the shop. Apparently, this allows more room for merchandise inside.

Visit Fortune Red the next time you’re at Disneyland. He’s taken up smoking again, after many years when his pipe was absent. For 25 cents he’ll dispense a fortune to you in the form of a printed card.

Pirate’s Arcade Museum at Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2004

Fortune Red in 2004

It’s too bad Fortune Red can’t tell anyone where “Freebooter Shooter,” “Cap’n Black,” and the other games went.

Perhaps those games were obsolete in 1980, but they would make great retro games today.

Click here to post comments at MiceChat about this article.

One-of-a-Kind Shop
Splash Mountain

© 2024 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated February 14, 2024

Special thanks to Dennis Caswell for the names and descriptions of devices.