Spending a full day with Capt. Jack Sparrow might be a little much, but Steven Amos is willing to do it for a good cause. Amos will endure an endless loop of Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride Saturday.
The experience is a fundraiser for Give Kids the World, the Kissimmee-based nonprofit resort that gives weeklong vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses. Amos is the organization’s vice president of advancement. The more money he attracts, the more outlandish his day may become.
“For every $100 that I raise, I’ll do a pass on Pirates of the Caribbean,” he said. “As certain fundraising thresholds are unlocked, I also put my body through some challenges — either only eating turkey legs for the entire day or drinking 20 ounces of the Beverly drink from Epcot. I tried to keep the spirit fun, but all while trying to raise funds for Give Kids the World.”
Although he was a Walt Disney World employee for 10 years, he doesn’t have an inside source or a shortcut at Pirates of Caribbean. After each ride, he’ll cycle back through Pirates’ winding queue, going in and out of pitch-blackness of the ride and the blinding Florida sun.
“I’m hoping to navigate the queue as fast as I can,” he said. “But as part of the challenge, you know, standing in queues is also not the most pleasurable experience. So I’m going to do all 13 hours of the operation of it as a day guest.”
Amos, who lives in Winter Garden, won’t be using Disney World’s Genie+ system or the Lightning Lanes, he said.
“There’s not really an advantage to doing Genie+ because I’m repeating the same attraction over and over again,” he said. “So, I mean, if someone wants to provide me a favor, sure, but I never go out and ask for any special treatment when I go to the parks.”
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Pirates of the Caribbean, which opened at Magic Kingdom in 1974, is a boat ride that takes passengers through eerie settings, down a darkened hill, past warring battleships and through scenes of swashbuckling high jinks. There are multiple sightings of an animatronic Johnny Depp, who starred as Sparrow in several “Pirates of the Caribbean” films for Disney.
Saturday — which is Amos’ birthday — will be his third theme-park endurance test to benefit Give Kids the World. His first such outing was a daylong “it’s a small world” marathon, which literally left him feeling seasick the next day, he said. The next year he did a full day aboard Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination With Figment ride at Epcot.
“On the first year I did it on ‘small world,’ it was in August after the pandemic reopening, so the parks were capacity-restrained and a little bit slower,” he said. “And Figment was never more than a five-minute wait to begin with. … So I ended up doing about 30,000 steps that day just from exiting the attraction and walking through the queue.”
He sought a more challenging ride this year, he said.
“I think what people were trying to say is that indoor, [with] air conditioning, can be easy. But there’s now the high risk of getting wet either from the drop or from when you’re in the scene where cannonballs are being launched and water’s being splashed,” Amos said.
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“It could add misery. It makes it so you know that I’m not sitting on my phone the entire time because I would not put my phone at risk,” he said.
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“I think I’ll probably start looking forward to getting excited for the two-second drop to add some excitement to the day.”
For the Pirates experience, he established a $10,000 level, and if that’s reached “I will go to a face-painting stand at Magic Kingdom, and one lucky donor who donated to the campaign can choose what my face paint will be for the entire 13 hours of the park.”
Last year he brought in $11,000, he said. If he tops that mark, he will dress as a pirate as much as park rules allow.
“I always say I either have a lot of friends or I have a lot of enemies because these fundraising thresholds are usually met very quickly,” Amos said.
For more information, go to Amos’ fundraiser page for Give Kids the World on Facebook.
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