After 50 years, Disneyland is dumping the “wench auction” from its Pirates Of The Caribbean ride.
Disney announced the controversial human trafficking scene from the iconic ride – which opened in 1967 – will get a makeover. The scene featuring animatronic women who are shackled together for the highest-bidding pirate will be overhauled. The scene has been singled out as a sexist part of the classic pirate ride.
According to EW, instead of putting a red-haired woman up on the auction block in a “wench sale” to shouts of “we wants a redhead” from a pirate bidder, the woman on the block will be changed to a female pirate. Her fellow women in chains will be replaced by townsfolk surrendering their valuables to the female pirate.
Walt Disney Imagineering, the team responsible for the theme park’s many creations, released a statement regarding the much-needed update.
“Our team thought long and hard about how best to update this scene,” a Walt Disney Imagineering executive tells the Orange County Register in a statement. “Given the redhead has long been a fan-favourite, 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 created by Marc Davis, X Atencio and the other Disney Legends who first brought this classic to life.”
“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!” he adds. “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.”
A spokesperson for the park agrees it’s time to update the ride with the scene change but promises the overall Pirates experience will be maintained. The changed scene will debut at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in 2018.
“We believe the time is right to turn the page to a new story in this scene, consistent with the humorous, adventurous spirit of the attraction,” the spokesperson says.
The Imagineers say this new change is all part of the tradition begun by Walt Disney himself, adding that rides have continuously been tweaked and adapated since the parks opened.
“To me, 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,” Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar says. “Change is a ‘tradition’ at Disneyland that today’s Imagineers practice – they learned it from their mentors, many of them Walt’s original team of storytellers and designers – the Disney Legends.”
The decision to change the ride has irked a few fans on Twitter, but the change is a welcome one for many more.