Yesterland
Skull Rock
at Skull Rock Cove
Skull Rock at Disneyland

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Welcome to Skull Rock Cove. You’re in the world of Peter Pan, Wendy, John, Michael, Captain Hook, and Mr. Smee from Walt Disney’s 1953 classic, Peter Pan. The secluded cove is hidden behind Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship Restaurant.


Get your hot tuna pie below deck on the Pirate Ship. Take the gangplank from the ship’s port side directly to the cove. Sit on a barrel at a table and enjoy your Chicken of the Sea cuisine. Listen to the sound of the many waterfalls emerging from eerie Skull Rock and from around it.

Skull Rock at Disneyland

Photo by Fred M. Nelson, Sr.

Just steps away from the Pirate Ship Restaurant

Skull Rock at Disneyland

Photo by Fred M. Nelson, Sr.

With the lantern at the stern of Captain Hook’s ship.

Skull Rock at Disneyland

Photo by Ron Garrison, 1962

Walking behind a waterfall

Skull Rock at Disneyland

Photo by Dennis Caswell, 1972

View from the Skyway

Skull Rock at Disneyland

Photo by Dennis Caswell, 1975

Even more dramatic at night

You don’t have to buy food to enjoy Skull Rock. You can treat Skull Rock Cove and Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship as a walk-through attraction.


Skull Rock became part of Disneyland in 1960, joining another icon from Peter Pan, Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship, which had been in Disneyland since 1955.

Detail from the souvenir map of Disneyland, 1964

© 1964 Walt Disney Productions

Detail from the souvenir map of Disneyland, 1964

Skull Rock and the Pirate Ship were both victims of the New Fantasyland project in 1982. When the New Fantasyland opened in May 1983, guests found that the old tournament façades had been replaced by charming architecture; the old dark rides had been improved; Pinocchio’s Daring Journey had been added; and rides such as King Arthur Carrousel had been moved around to eliminate Fantasyland’s previously cramped layout. But Skull Rock and the Pirate Ship were gone—Dumbo the Flying Elephant had taken over the space.

Monstro at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Rockwork between Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Storybook Land Canal Boats

Although Skull Rock is gone, the rockwork to the left of Monstro the Whale is said to be a remnant from Skull Rock Cove.

Today, you can still visit Skull Rock at a park called Disneyland. But it’s the one in France—Disneyland Paris.

Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2005

Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris

Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2005

Inside Skull Rock at Disneyland Paris

At the Paris park, “Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Galley” and Skull Rock are in an area of Adventureland called Adventure Isle. With caves, a suspension bridge, and a pirate lookout, Adventure Isle plays a similar role to Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland—except that it’s reached by bridges, not by a raft ride.

The Imagineers who designed Disneyland Paris didn’t simply dust off the blueprints for the original Skull Rock. The skull now looks like sedimentary rock, upheaved so that the layers are at an angle. The inside of Skull Rock is a cave. The eye cavities are openings that provide a view toward Fantasyland from inside the skull.

Skull Rock as a float at Magic Kingdom Park

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2018

Skull Rock as a float at the Festival of Fantasy Parade, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom Park never had a permanent outdoor Skull Rock, but it has one as part of a long-running daytime parade, as well as inside Peter Pan Flight.

Skull Rock at Disneyland Hotel’s Never Land Pool

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Skull Rock at Disneyland Hotel’s Never Land Pool

For around a dozen years, the Disneyland Hotel at the Disneyland Resort had its own versions of Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Skull Rock. They were part of the Never Land Pool, which opened in 1999. They weren’t as large and detailed as their departed cousins in Disneyland’s Fantasyland—but the old Skull Rock didn’t have a hot tub or a 100-foot water slide. The hotel’s nod to Peter Pan didn’t survive the 2011 transformation of the Never Land Pool into the E-Ticket Pool.

If you’re in Southern California and you still want to visit Skull Rock, there are three ways to do so.

First, go on the Peter Pan’s Flight ride in Fantasyland. Skull Rock is part of the imaginative scenery that makes Peter Pan’s Flight a classic ride that can be enjoyed over and over by all ages.

Skull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2003

Skull Rock at Joshua Tree National Park

Next, drive out to Joshua Tree National Park, where Skull Rock was “imagineered by nature.” Take the 1.7-mile Skull Rock nature trail to see rock formations, plants and animals of the high desert. But you won’t find a shop with Peter Pan souvenirs (or hot tuna pie, for that matter).

Finally, watch a Blu-ray or stream of Peter Pan, in which Peter Pan fights Captain Hook at Skull Rock.


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Updated December 14, 2018