The Skeleton Pirate Captain is a character from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
This pirate was captain of the Wicked Wench at some point during the 18th century around the time that they established a base in Dead Man's Cove on Isla Tesoro where they stashed their blood-money. According to the ghosts of his crew, the captain was, "A man o' delicate taste, the cap'n—'is quarters rigged with the finest furnishin's money did not buy" and as much was true with him having had a well furnished cabin in Dead Man's Cove where he kept maps, a harpsichord and even a pet parrot.
Due to the curse of the treasure they stole from Puerto Dorado, the crew of the Wench was all killed and left as skeletons and ghosts in their lair. The captain was victim of this curse, having been left in his bed while examining a treasure-map. It is unknown what the contents of the captain's map were at their time of death considering that they had already located the treasure of Isla Tesoro.
When the attraction first opened, all of the skeletons in the grotto scenes were represented by real skeletons due to the limitations of props at the time. Many of these skeletons were apparently replaced though it is largely believed that many remained. Whether or not this is true to the captain is unknown but it is known that the skull on his headboard is in-fact one of the actual pieces of human remains.
In the Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the attraction, the captain appears in the pirate's lair section of the cavern sequence. The captain can be seen in their quarters, lying in bed while dressed in a night-cap and gown while examining a map with their magnifying glass. As guests pass by the captain, the harpsichord in the room plays itself due to being haunted with the skeleton of the pirate's parrot perched nearby. Removed ghostly narration spoke of the captain and his curse.
In Disneyland Paris, the captain appears across from Jack Sparrow and Jack's parrot who are enjoying the treasure stolen by the Wench now that the pirates have all died.
The captain was adapted to film as Ponce de Léon, a historic Spanish explorer identified as having discovered the Fountain of Youth. The captain's shipwreck is found by Jack and Barbossa with them going on to try and claim the captain's map. When Jack tried to steal it, Ponce's head moved as if to indicate that he was undead resulting in Jack and Barbossa deciding to leave the map alone. The prop bed in this film was the authentic prop from the attraction.
- Identification of the captain from their life is unclear though theories of identification do exist.
- Captain Barbossa: In the modern attraction, Barbossa is shown as the captain of the Wicked Wench and he is known in the film series to have been cursed by treasure into becoming an undead skeleton. However in Disneyland Paris Barbossa is seen separate from the captain in the grotto scene, being undead and aboard the Helmsman's ship.
- Blackbeard: In the original attraction, the captain of the Wicked Wench was the historic pirate-captain Blackbeard, something still true of Disneyland Paris' version of the attraction. However the historic Blackbeard died in South Carolina in 1718 in a way completely different to his portrayal of death in the attraction. Additionally, Blackbeard's ghost used to be shown in the grottos with no implication of connection to the skeleton though due to removal the canonicity of this can be disputed. This portrayal from the films also died differently than the captain's death in the attraction though again, the canonicity of this can very easily be disputed.
- Mutineer/New Captain: It is possible that Barbossa and/or Blackbeard were replaced by a new captain following or during the events of the attraction, off-screen. This could be through mutiny, crew election (historically pirates democratically decided on captains and quartermasters) or some events leaving the typical captain of the Wench unable to take charge. Most members of the crew could be considered though it should be noted that the captain in the attraction has two hands meaning it wouldn't be the Treasure Keeper and it likely wouldn't be Redd not just due to the pronouns regarding the captain in removed scripts being he/him but also because Redd makes appearances in New Orleans Square which she likely wouldn't be able to do if she were cursed in the grotto.
- Treasure Raid Leader: Prior to the 2006 refurbishments of the attraction, another pirate leader different to both Blackbeard and Barbossa appeared in the treasure-room of Castillo del Morro using his crew-mates as a chair while enjoying the gold. This captain had a grey beard and a green coat and was identified by former imagineer Jason Surrell as having been a pirate-captain in his book Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. Due to the scene's removal the canonicity of this can once again be disputed.
- Le Capitaine: Disneyland Paris' Pirates of the Caribbean shop is known as Le Coffre to Capitaine (French: The Captain's Chest) and is the abode of an unidentified pirate-captain who has a pet parrot. It is however unknown if the shop was located on Isla Tesoro as would be presumed for the captain being the proprietor and there are no visible references to the crew of the Wicked Wench within.
- The Auctioneer: The Auctioneer was a prominent member of the Wicked Wench's crew who made a considerable profit during the raid of Puerto Dorado off of auctioning off stolen goods from the townsfolk to his fellow crew-mates. He dressed in extravagant clothings and expensive jewellery fitting with the characterization of the skeleton captain and is modelled after artwork made for Bartholomew Roberts, a historic pirate captain who was once planned to appear in Disneyland as an undead pirate. However the evidence for this theory is considerably conjectural but it would make sense for a notable character seen by guests the attraction to be the one who later assumed the role of captain and the Auctioneer probably fits best into that role.
- In an unused script for Pirates of the Caribbean, the captain's undead parrot would have spoken and repeated lines from when the pirates were planning their raid on Puerto Dorado such as, "Morgan says the streets are paved with gold".
- In addition to the parrot, the captain would have had three chained up pet crocodiles in an unused script for the attraction which would have been used to keep the crew's treasure safe.