One of the more controversial parts of Disneyland’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride is the “Bride Auction,” a scene depicting women lined up for auction that will no longer be a part of the ride after next year, Disney Parks announced on its blog this week.
When the ride closes for routine maintenance in 2018, the scene will be altered to depict villagers lined up to give up their valuables, and the “Auction, Take a wench for a bride” sign will be redone to read “Auction, surrender yer loot.” Walt Disney World’s version of the ride will also be subject to the same modifications.
A tall, red-haired woman currently present in the ride as a prize will remain but be recast as a pirate herself, holding a rifle and wearing a feathered hat as she oversees the surrendering of booty. Presumably, the “We wants the redhead” voiceover will also be removed.
“Our team thought long and hard about how best to update this scene,” said Kathy Mangum, SVP, Atlantic Region Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering in a statement to the OC Register. “Given the redhead has long been a fan favorite, we wanted to keep her as a pivotal part of the story, so we made her a plundering pirate! We think this keeps to the original vision of the attraction as envisioned by Marc Davis, X Atencio, and the other Disney Legends who first brought this classic to life.”
The much beloved ride has been subject to alterations before to give new contexts: years ago, a scene depicting pirates chasing women was altered to show the women carrying food trays so the men would appear to be chasing after the food rather than the women. Another scene showing a pirate chasing a woman was reversed to show the woman shooing the pirate out of her home.
Imagineering Ambassador and Disney Legend Marty Sklar, who retired as Head of Imagineering in 2009 and worked closely with Walt Disney, said changes like this are a part of Walt’s vision for the park. “The Imagineers are simply reflecting what Walt started the day Disneyland opened – making changes that create exciting new experiences for our guests. I can’t think of a single attraction that has not been enhanced and improved, some over and over again. Change is a ‘tradition’ at Disneyland that today’s Imagineers practice,” Sklar said in a statement.
About the “Pirates” changes, he said, “Pirates of the Caribbean has always represented great Disney Park storytelling; it has set the standard for the theme park industry for half a century! But it’s a story you can continue to add fun to, with great characters in new ‘performances.’ That’s what the Imagineers have done with this new auction scene — it’s like a theatre show with a new act.”
The announcement was made in conjunction with several additions to the Disneyland Paris attraction, which reopens July 24 and will also include the “Bride Auction” changes. Not only will Captain Barbossa be making an appearance along with Davy Jones and Blackbeard, but the Blue Lagoon restaurant will also be re-themed as an all-ages restaurant called Captain Jack’s. Apparently, Captain Sparrow won it in a wager.