Dining in Disneyland: “Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides” World Premiere

Read about one of the best nights in Heather’s life! Our Dining in Disneyland columnist shares all the details from the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides World Premiere in Disneyland!!

Last Saturday, I had one of the best nights of my life. It was literally that fun. I went for the food, but stayed for the movie… . Or wait did I go for the movie and stay for the food. Either way, I was happily stuffed by the end of the event. Mix a little Johnny Depp with a great meal, awesome snacks, and fun friends & well, it’s perfection.

World Premiere Park Map

World Premiere Park Map Info

World Premiere Park Map Info

The World Premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides was held at Disneyland on Saturday, May 7th, 2011. A few months back when Disneyland announced they’d be selling a limited number of tickets to the event that benefited the Boy & Girls Clubs of America, I immediately knew what I was getting my husband for his birthday. There’s nothing wrong with giving a gift that both parties benefit from, right? Besides 100% of the profits went to charity AND it was tax deductible.  Win, win.


When the big night finally rolled around, we checked into our room at the Disneyland Hotel, got ourselves all spiffed up, and met up with some friends to check in and get our “credentials.”

All spiffed up and ready to walk the Black Carpet

The pick up area was organized alphabetically by last name.

Credential Pick Up

The credentials were full of information; they included our seating assignment, a schedule of the night’s events, our dining area, a map, and a list of rides that were open both before and after the movie.

Credential Front

Credential Event Information

Credential Event Map

In preparation for the premiere, Adventureland, Critter Country, Frontierland, & New Orleans Square were closed in the late afternoon as these were the areas where the event was actually taking place. The rest of the park remained open, but did close early, after the black carpet arrivals were over.

Main Street Black Carpet Entrance

Thousands of fans were able to hang out on the provided bleachers that lined the Black Carpet route to get a glimpse of the arrivals. Some of these folks were said to be waiting in Downtown Disney as early as Friday night to get the best spots on the bleachers.

Black Carpet Entrance Detail

Walking the black carpet was a wild experience. Before this, I had never been to a movie premiere and walked the carpet, red or black. The route went down Main Street, to the right around the “Partners” statue of Walt & Mickey, in front of the castle and through the gates of Frontierland. It then continued through Frontierland and ended just in front of –  you guessed it – The Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

The first thing I noticed walking down the carpet were the lights; it was SO bright. There were a ton of cameras and people cheering. Everyone got cheers, famous or not. After I realized that this was going to be a completely wild scene, I thought I’d better savor every moment. I then became as snap happy as the people in the bleachers.  instead of taking pics of stars, I was taking pics of them!

Black Carpet Chaos

We arrived a bit early, long before the cast members, so we didn’t see any A-listers at this time. We did run into Pirate Mickey & Jack the Monkey from the Pirates movies, which pretty much made my night.

Pirate Mickey

Jack was totally the best dressed on the black carpet.

Jack the Monkey and his Handler

Disney also hired special pirate performers for the night. I spoke with one of them at length and he was hysterical. He told me that since they were not Disney employees, they didn’t have to watch what they said about the guests. He then went on to insult a few starlets and tell me some cheesy pirate jokes (“Why didn’t the pirate buy the corn at Disneyland? Cause it was a Buck-an-ear”). It was actually a very funny conversation. These “outsider” pirates were all up and down the black carpet.

A Really TALL Pirate

There were pirates on stilts, pirates juggling, pirates singing, pirates on giant cannon balls, pirates in balloon ships, pirates telling jokes, literally pirates everywhere you turned.

Rollin' Around on a Ball Pirate

Musical Pirates

What I thought was super cool about this was that they interacted with both the people in the bleachers and the people walking the carpet.

Balloon Boat Pirate

With all of the entertainment and photo snapping, it actually took us quite a while to walk the carpet.

Some More TALL Pirates. Notice the Tiny Boots on the Stilts!


I REALLY wanted to walk the carpet later so I could see the cast, but I also wanted to eat. Plus I knew I’d be arrested for accosting Johnny Depp and I didn’t want to end up in Alice’s Room (aka Disney Jail). (Yes that is what it is called and yes it exists. I know this because my sister went there in high school, but that is a story for another time.) As soon as we walked into Frontierland, we noticed that all of the concession carts were open.

Hungry for something sweet? Help Yourself!

We also realized that no one was collecting money.  You know what this means? All of the popcorn, churros, cotton candy, frozen lemonade (both regular and strawberry) and other frozen treats you could eat!

Even this guy got in on the free cotton candy action!

No joke, look at this woman happily passing out churros. Freakin’ heaven!

Churros with a Smile! (sorry it's blurry)

We grabbed a churro and headed to The Golden Horseshoe for dinner.

The Golden Horseshoe

Depending on your credentials, there were six different places to dine. Each location served the same meal, this was just a way to keep people organized and spread out.

Each Restaurant had its Own Dining Sign

Locations included the French Market, Blue Bayou, Riverbelle Terrace, The Golden Horseshoe, Hungry Bear & Cafe Orleans. Our location was The Golden Horseshoe.

Golden Horseshoe Buffet

Golden Horseshoe Dessert Buffet

When we arrived we immediately decided that we needed to weasel our way into a better place. They were providing the typical Golden Horseshoe entertainment, which was both annoying & loud this evening. It was also very hot and dark in there.

Golden Horseshoe Entertainment

So, we got our food and ended up sitting in the lovely outdoor seating of the Riverbelle Terrace. This was awesome, because we could continue to watch the arrivals pass us by as we ate.

My Dinner Plate

The dinner buffet was quite tasty. It included a variety of pirate themed foods. I had the green salad, which was a bit blah.

London Town Mixed Greens

The potato salad which was very good (loved it with sea salt).

Ye Old Providence Potato Salad

The chicken breast was very moist. I also savored a giant heap of mac n’ cheese, which was by far my favorite dish. Warm cheesy goodness.

Baked Mac & Stafford Sage Derby Cheese w/ Union Jack Cracker Crust

There were five people in our group and between all of us each dish was sampled.

Marooned 5 Bean Salad

We all cleaned our plates, but I think the overall opinion of the food was that it was more about the atmosphere and event than gourmet food.

Scottish Seared Salmon from the 7th Sea & St. James Palace Pan Roasted Poussin Chicken

The food was good, but definitely not the best meal I’ve ever eaten at Disneyland. After all, to cook for that many people is a daunting task. It was sort of like fancy cafeteria food.

The Royal Guards Vegetable Spears

Blackbeard's Banished Bangers w/ Roasted Peppers & Black Pearl Onions

After dinner I filled a plate with tasty treats.

Dessert Menu

Tasty Treats

The English Trifle & Dundee Cake was my favorite. It was fresh fruit layered with cake and custard. So yummy.

English Trifle & Dundee Cake and British Burnt Cream

I also tried the United Kingdom Apple Pie (yum!).

United Kingdom Apple Pie

And sampled the Special Pirates Logo Caribbean Cookie Doubloons (also yum!) and the British Burnt Cream (more yum!)

Let the Memories Begin

After dinner we cruised around to check out the scene.  All of the main Disney characters were out and dressed as pirates.

Pirate Goofy

Pirate Donald

There were three different photo locations where you could take photos and later pick up free prints from the photo pass stations. Sadly, I did not realize this until after the event, but luckily, I had two empty memory cards on my camera and two charged batteries! The amount of photos I took was ridiculous.

We also checked out the World Premiere of the new X Box Game: Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. There were X Box consoles set up where you could play the game. The area also included a life size Captain Jack Sparrow made of Legos. Pretty cool.

X Box World Premiere of Lego Pirates of the Caribbean Game

There were 6 different attractions that were open before the movie started: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, & Jungle Cruise. Before the movie we rode Pirates, which featured a special Blackbeard effect (replacing the Davy Jones fog) and Haunted Mansion. We were able to walk right on to both rides. After the rides, arrivals were still happening. Most of our party went to their seats, but I forced my hubby to go back to the black carpet with me for a hopeful glance of Johnny Depp. We saw lots of people come through, even Penelope Cruz.

Penelope Cruz

I heard the screams for Johnny, but alas, he was whisked away and never made it the entire length of the carpet. So sad for me.

We then made our way back to the enormous theater that was built for the premiere. The screen is the first outdoor theater to show a 3D movie. It was constructed on the Rivers of America just for this one night.

Screen built on the Rivers of America

The seating featured a stadium style arena and every single seat had a great view.

Movie Screen Shot (just before I had to check my camera in)

Before heading to our seats, we had to check in our cameras.  Each of us was handed a souvenir tub of popcorn and a full sized bag of Pirates of the Caribbean themed Pirate Booty.

Popcorn Tubs & Pirate's Booty

There were also drink stands where you could pick up a bottle of water or soda.

Beverage Stand

The 3D glasses we were given to wear were by XPAND, some super fancy new 3D technology that was pretty amazing.

XPAND 3D Technology

XPAND 3D Glasses

Snacks in hand, we made it to our seats, which were to the left of the stage right in the middle of the Dancing with the Stars posse. Cheryl Burke was right behind us & Master P and Romeo were in front of us. Romeo even told us he’d write us a check if we voted for him. Unfortunately he did not ask for our addresses, so I don’t know how that would have worked out.

A cover band dressed as pirates were playing top 20 hits; we heard their versions of the Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha and more. I thought they were pretty horrible, but everyone was in such a good mood that most people just danced along with them.


At about 9:00, a bit later than scheduled, the lights dimmed and it was time for the movie to start. Before the movie actually started though, we were introduced to Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Rob Marshall, actors Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Ian McShane, Keith Richards, Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Sam Claflin. This part was really exciting. Finally, I got to see Johnny Depp. Even though it was from afar, it was fantastic. I am not embarrassed to say that I screamed so loud for him my throat was hurting for a good part of the evening.

Our seats had a blankets on them, which was a good thing because by this time it was starting to “heavy mist.” Not quite rain, but really thick mist. I was so worried it was going to start pouring, but nope — just on and off mist for most of the movie.  Kind of a bummer, but it didn’t affect the the movie quality or experience. We just left a little damp.

As far as the movie goes, I don’t want to ruin it for you. However, I will tell you this. Keith Richards is amazing; he really makes the perfect pirate. I also loved the addition of Blackbeard & the chemistry between Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp was awesome.

Another tip?  Seriously beware of the mermaids. They are hot, but they will also rip your face off. The first film in the installment is my favorite, and On Stranger Tides comes in as a close second. FYI, there WILL be a Pirates 5. Be sure to watch until after the credits.

Teaser for Pirates 5 (when the movie ended, everyone got out their phones!)

After the movie, we were treated to fireworks, and the selected park areas remained open until 1:00am.

Fireworks (taken with my phone...)

We left the theater to ride some rides. On our way out people were standing around passing out treats! Would you like a Mickey Bar? Ummm, yes please! How about a frozen banana or a fruit bar? Yep, I’m still in heaven…

The Perfect Midnight Snack!

After a treat break, we rode Big Thunder Mountain, hit Pirates of the Caribbean again, and then ended with the longest Indiana Jones run ever. Since it was the end of the night, they let us ride 3 times in a row without getting out of the vehicle.

We were some of the last people to leave the park. As we walked down Main Street to exit, the bleachers were empty and cast members were already removing the decor.

Cast Member Removing Captain Jack at the End of the Night

Penelope Cruz as Angelica

Ian McShane as Blackbeard

Empty Main Street

Talk about a night to remember.

Exiting the Park at 1:10 am

This one goes down as one of the best in the Heather History book.


  1. Emma says

    thank you for sharing your amazing experience… everything looked fantastic! I cannot wait to see this movie next week :)

  2. says

    So worth the wait & even more pics then you tweeted during the event! Yea Heather, thanks so much for all the fun details & great photos. And happy belated birthday to your hubby, certainly would go down in my book as BEST birthday ever.

  3. Ashley W says

    What a great account of the evening! I’m SOOOOO jealous of the experience you had! Thank so much for sharing!

  4. DtownBlue says

    Fantastic review – it told us everything! (Well, except the plot of the movie, so thanks for that!)

  5. Tina Wiggins Delaney says

    This was SO awesome! I really enjoyed all of the pictures and the description. I am taking my teen son and his friends to the midnight showing next Thursday. Can’t wait! Thanks for reviewing. Indeed sounds like a night to remember!

  6. says

    Thank you so much for sharing such an amazing night. We were one of the crazies camping out the day before. We met Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Jerry Bruckheimer and more. They were all really nice. I just shared some pix on my blog too. Can’t wait for Pirates 5!

  7. Alex says

    Thanks for posting this! I wish I could have gone, I might go to the premiere for the fifth one if they don’t up the price from 1000.

    What goodies did you get to take home? Were the blankets on the chairs and buckets for snacks and stuff pirate themed gifts or just for use while watching the movie?

  8. says

    @Joyce, I WISH I got to see Johnny up close. Only got to see him from afar.

    @Alex, we did get to keep the blankets, they were just plain black fleece though. Would have been cool if they were Pirates themed. The popcorn buckets were themed and on the way out we were given our own Premiere fancy 3D Glasses. The night was really amazing.

  9. Jacqui says

    Love your outfit with the beautiful dress and the striped socks. Wish I could have been there, but thanks for the article to let the rest of us in on the fun!

  10. vanessa says

    Beautiful dress! How in the world do you stay so fit while eating so much yummy Disney food!! lol Thanks for sharing this with us and as always, *drools* The food looked amazing!

  11. Heather Sievers says

    @Vanessa & Jacqui – I got the dress at Loehmann’s. LOVE that store.
    @Vanessa – My life motto is I work out so I can eat out! ; ) (& small portions…usually)

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