Friday, May 27, 2011

The best Disney pirates you've never heard of

When I selected the options for this month's poll of your favorite Disney pirates (along the right-hand side. Have you voted yet?), I knew I was leaving out plenty of other possible choices - Pintel, Ragetti, Angelique, and more from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; Israel Hands, George Merry, and the rest from Treasure Island; any number of possible choices from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction; that one fat pirate in Captain Hook's crew with the tiny fez. I also knew I would be leaving out my favorite Disney pirates of all, because as awesome as they are, it's likely very few of you have ever heard of them.

Here they are:

From left to right: Billy Books, Bad Mood t' Blackhearted, Captain Dante, Laverne Enchante, and Johnny Crimson.

Never heard of them? That's probably because they appeared for a very limited time, only in Disneyland. How limited of a time? Just one day.

Why? Because these characters were portrayed by honorary cast members, winners of 2007's Disney Dream Jobs Competition in the pirate category. They made videos explaining why they'd make great pirates, like this one from Brynne Geiszler (aka Captain Dante)...




or this one from Stephanie Bell Burke (aka Laverne Enchante):




20 were chosen as finalists by Disney and co-sponsor careerbuilder.com, and then the public voted on the winners. There were five categories in total, the others being parade performers, princesses in waiting, Haunted Mansion butlers and maids, and Jungle Cruise skippers. I know all about it, because I was one of the Jungle Cruise winners, but I've written about that before. This month is for talking about pirates.

The Dream Job winners as a whole were a great group. We chatted online before the trip, we bonded during our four days together, and many of us have kept in touch ever since. We all made friends in and out of our own categories, but it did seem as though, as a group, the pirates bonded the fastest and the closest. Appropriately, they were definitely the loudest and rowdiest group of all.

I wouldn't trade my Dream Job experience for anybody's, but each group's experience was different, and there were certainly aspects of the other's gigs that were appealing too. The butlers got a private, lights-on tour of the Haunted Mansion before the park opened that I very nearly begged to intrude upon. The princesses had wonderful interactions with adoring kids.



Captain Dante teams up with Captain Jack in Disneyland.


The pirates had a lot of fun perks: They were given specially-created characters just for them, each with their own individual curse (Billy Books was cursed with the ability to read, Captain Dante had to carry the skull of her dead husband who heckled her from beyond the grave, etc.). Their awesome costumes were all assembled from leftover pieces that had been used in the recently-wrapped Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. They performed alongside of Disneyland performers in a show on the Pirates' Lair on Tom Sawyer Island and performed improv with guests afterward. They got to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in full costume and in character.

The couple of times we all appeared in the park together, no one paid much attention to we skippers or the Mansion butlers or maids. The parade performers and Princesses in waiting got some attention. The Pirates were treated like stars. People wanted their photos and autographs just as they would've from Disney characters they'd always known.

Here's a highlight video for Kenny White (aka Bad Mood t' Blackhearted)'s experience:




and here's the story of Billy Bean (aka Billy Books):




Now you also know about the five coolest Disney pirates that most people have never heard of. If you'd like to read more about their experiences Kenny White has written about his Dream Job adventure here.

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