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The new Pirates of the Caribbean at Shanghai Disneyland is amazing — watch the entire ride

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One of the best-kept secrets on the internet is the amusement park video community. This subculture uploads footage of every part of the amusement park experience: entering the park, eating at the overpriced restaurants, watching the kitschy stage shows, and, most importantly, riding the rides. The visits date back to to the 1980s and extend to today. This detail is exciting for amusement park nerds; we can tour new amusement parks from our laptops right when they open — or before.

Disneyland Shanghai isn't scheduled to open until mid-June, for example, but a video tour of the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride is already online. Judging from the footage published by YouTuber Matthew Finnemore, the ride is, if nothing else, technically astonishing. It's also a considerable departure from the US versions of Pirates of the Caribbean, which favor the classic animatronic characters of the 1970s — Disney has been careful not to overdo additions that incorporate computer-animated video and references to the Pirates of the Caribbean films of the early 2000s.

The ride is a mix of old and new

Pirates of the Caribbean Shanghai swings in the opposite direction. After a short intro that plays the greatest hits of the classic ride — i.e., prisoners begging dog for a key — we see our first trick: a skeleton transforming into a robotic Jack Sparrow. From there, things get weird. The boat appears to be surrounded by a high-definition, computer-animated trip across the ocean floor. Similar to new rides at Disneyland in the States, the ride has a brighter look that's heavy on the blacklight, like vinyl toys hung in a night club.

The mix of video and practical design is most impressive around the five minute and 40 seconds mark, when the riders move between to real boats while an animated pirate ship battle takes place in front of them, sending animated (and real) water into the air.

One note: these video rides are spoiled by flash photography. Each flash from a smartphone reveals the thrilling adventure is just a projection of a screen. The animatronics can't capture an explosive boat fight, but 40 years later, they still make for good photo-ops.