When Disney announced that one of the most iconic scenes on one of its most iconic rides in both Disneyland and Disney World was going to be changed on its blog last Friday, the parks' fans were, more than anything, a bit surprised. The famous auction scene of "Pirates of the Caribbean," which features a line of women being auctioned off as brides by pirates, will receive a makeover in 2018, trading wenches for riches. The blog post mainly covers changes to Disneyland Paris' version of the ride, only mentioning that some of those changes would carry over into the U.S. at the very bottom of the page, but those details that we do have describe an auction of loot taken from the townsfolk rather than women.
Though the change in subject matter would seem appropriate for a family-oriented park, many fans were upset by the change. "Pirates" is one of the last rides designed in Walt Disney's lifetime and the auction scene is one of its most famous pieces, specifically for the fact that Walt showcased the scene when originally crafting the ride and for the technological advancements found in its Auctioneer animatronic. Though the ride changed to accommodate the addition of Jack Sparrow into the story in 2006, the effect on original scenes was hardly as drastic. The last change altered lesser-known dialogue and added a few new animatronics. This change would alter an entire scene's worth of original dialogue and animatronics.
While history buffs and those who don't believe the auction should have been changed for the sake of modern conceptions of women are out of luck, fans of Disney history should be relieved to know that some of the ride's most famous animatronics, the Redhead and the Auctioneer, will remain in the scene. In fact, the Redhead is going to take on an even larger role, actually becoming a pirate herself and taking charge of the auction. Concept art suggests iconic lines will also remain, like the Auctioneer's, "Show 'em your larboard side," since the bride seems to be turning to show off the loot on her hip.
The change should also be good news for fans of Disney's technology, merchandise, and lore. Walt Disney World just recently saw the addition of new animatronic technology in Pandora, and Shanghai Disneyland already has some of this technology in its version of "Pirates," so, if we're lucky, the changes to the ride will also come with some advanced animatronics, especially at Disneyland, which hasn't seen much new tech recently. The updates to the scene, specifically to the Redhead, will likely come with new merch, too, and though those updates can be taken as simple changes, they can also be seen as additions to the ride's story: After being sold to pirates, the Redhead has become a pirate herself.
Though this update is a large change to Disney history, it is not one without positives. This particular change actually comes with a good number of positives, though it's up for debate whether those outweigh the fact that it alters one of the ride's and the parks' iconic moments. How do you feel about Disney's choice?