The Cursed Treasure is a collection of items found in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at the Disney theme parks. In the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and its related media, it appears as the Treasure of Cortés.
The cursed treasure was a collection of gold, jewels, fabrics, relics and other goods which was possessed by the town of Puerto Dorado in the Caribbean island of Isla Tesoro. It was stored in the armoury of the fortress of Castillo del Morro on the island, a fortress built in the year of 1643. The treasure would be stored in a stone treasury marked with the crest and name of a man called Marci Daviso though his relation to the treasure and/or fortress is unknown. It is unknown how or when it became cursed but the curse of the treasure seemed to cause those who stole it to be struck down with a sudden and violent death, seemingly becoming undead as a result.
In the 1710s, the pirates of a vessel known as The Wicked Wench came to Isla Tesoro in a race to the treasure with rival pirate Captain Jack Sparrow. One pirate interrogated the town magistrate Carlos for the location of the treasure and by unknown after this another pirate obtaining a key to the fortress' key. Jack came to study the map without this pirate's knowing and steal the key to break into the fortress and claim the treasure for his own.
By unknown means the pirates of the Wicked Wench claimed this treasure from Jack's possession. After burning Puerto Dorado to the ground, the pirates would establish a lair within the grottos of Isla Tesoro where they stashed their newly acquired treasure. However, the pirates were all suddenly killed by the treasure's curse and left as skeletal carcasses and ghosts in the lair which they once dwelled. It can be assumed that many others came for the treasure, all equally doomed and left as corpses and spirits.
The treasure would also possibly show itself to be affiliated with the spirits of Davy Jones and a mystical undead skull. These spirits would cause mortals from the 19th/20th century to come across the treasure and later be sent by waterfall to the golden-age of piracy where they witnessed the raid of Isla Tesoro. An unknown point of time after the curse was enacted, the treasure was reclaimed by Captain Jack Sparrow to unknown consequences.
The cursed treasure was a MacGuffin from the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Disneyland and fit into the archetype of lost pirate treasures such as those of William Kidd in real-world history (itself referenced on the poster for Disneyland's attraction) and Captain Flint's treasure from Treasure Island.
The treasure and the skeletons surrounding it in Dead Man's Grotto would go on to inspire the Treasure of Cortés on Isla de Muerta in the first Pirates of the Caribbean film as-well as its own cursed skeletal crew. The success of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series resulted in alterations to the ride as-well, this including the stone chest containing the cursed Aztec gold medallions to be among the horde of cursed treasure, the original Blackbeard-inspired captain of the Wicked Wench to be replaced with Barbossa, and a scene of a pirate leader enjoying the treasure in the fortress while using crew-mates for a throne to be replaced with Jack Sparrow singing Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me) with a parrot.
In the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction of New Orleans Square, the treasure made two appearances. First it would be seen in Dead Man's Cove with the skeleton of a pirate frozen counting doubloons atop a mountain of gold, while it would be seen again at the end of the ride being enjoyed by plundering pirates. The treasure is also mentioned throughout the ride by many different pirates and spirits with the living pirates demanding the location of the treasure while undead ones warned guests of its curse.
In Walt Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean the treasure only appeared in the treasury scene as much of Dead Man's Cove was removed due to space limitations as Adventureland was not built with Pirates of the Caribbean in-mind. Meanwhile in Disneyland Paris, the treasure grotto scene appears at the end rather than the beginning to enforce an anti-crime message. It would also be refurbished to include Jack Sparrow singing atop the mountain of gold and show the grottos to be inhabited by a skeletal Barbossa.
The treasure is the central MacGuffin for the Pirates of the Caribbean levels of this game, here being the plunder of Blackbeard which is stored under the mayor's mansion on Puerto Dorado. The player teams up with a pirate named Black Barty in-search of the treasure.
- In Disneyland, a LEGO Jack Sparrow mini figure is hidden in the treasure room of Dead Mans' Cove.
- The name Marci Daviso found on the crest above the treasury is an allusion to Marc Davis.
- In an unused script for the attraction, the crew would have used three chained-up crocodiles to protect the treasure.