A scene that depicts women on the auction block apparently has no place in a Disneyland ride, even if the attraction is meant to depict the violence, debauchery and misogyny of a pirate’s life.
When the Pirates of the Caribbean ride closes for routine maintenance next year, the scene will be replaced, signaling the latest move by Walt Disney Co. to remove images that might offend park visitors.
Instead of women shown tied by a rope and lined up to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, Disneyland will install a scene showing town folk, lined up to surrender their valuables to the pirates. A banner that now reads “Auction, Take a wench for a bride” will be replaced with a sign that says “Auction, Surrender yer loot.”
The tall redheaded woman from the bride auction will remain in the new scene but instead of being a prize of the auction, she will become a rifle-toting pirate, donning a feathered hat.
Disney officials said Thursday that the change will take place next month at the Pirates ride in Disneyland Paris and in the Magic Kingdom Park next year.
The elimination of the bride auction is not the first modification to the Anaheim ride.
Over the last few years, the park has redesigned a scene that shows pirates chasing women to include trays of food in the women’s hands so that it looks as though the pirates are lusting after the food. A balcony scene was also re-created to show a woman chasing a pirate, instead of the other way around.
Other iconic Disneyland attractions have been redesigned in the last few years to address modern sensibilities.
Mock frontier rifles were removed from Tom Sawyer Island, and for several years the skippers in the Jungle Cruise were not allowed to shoot at the animatronic hippos with a fake revolver. Responding to complaints, Disney rearmed the cruise ship captains and gave them the green light to fire at will.
The latest change is yet another attempt by Disney to walk a fine line as it tries to appease guests who might object to the scenes of violence and misogyny, while maintaining as much of the park’s original spirit for longtime fans and purists.
Marty Sklar, 83, who helped design several of the original rides at the Anaheim park, said Walt Disney himself had long supported updating the rides.
“That’s what the Imagineers have done with this new auction scene — it’s like a theatre show with a new act,” said Sklar, who retired as head of Walt Disney Imagineering, which designs park attractions for the company worldwide.
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