The Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship was one of early Disneyland’s most iconic attractions, even if it wasn’t actually an attraction.
Sponsored by the Van Camp Seafood Company, the ship was a restaurant known for serving tuna fish sandwiches and tuna burgers. The “poop deck” of the ship provided an elevated vantage point for park guests to take in Fantasyland and beyond.
According to author and Disneyland historian Sam Gennawey, “Sculptor Chris Mueller worked on the mermaid for the bow, but Walt did not like it, so he asked animator Marc Davis to take a shot. Davis used Tinker Bell (Margaret Kerry) as the prototype, and Mueller translated Davis’s drawings into three dimensions.” The overall ship design was done by Imagineer Bill Martin.
On August 29, 1982, the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship restaurant closed after selling its last tuna sandwich and the structure was torn down to make room for a major overhaul of Fantasyland.