[UPDATED] People Are Mad Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Will Update to Be Less Offensive toward Women

Disney has made several updates to their Pirates of the Caribbean attraction since it opened in 1967 but a new one is causing a stir. They’re upcoming change will make the ride less offensive toward women.

I’ve only been on this particular ride twice in my life so I don’t have it memorized as well as some Disney fans but the company has announced a new update. The portion of Pirates of the Caribbean that featured a “wench auction” of women is being overhauled at several of the parks. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom site shows how the scene is currently displayed (screenshot):

The Disney Parks Blog wrote that “When Pirates of the Caribbean re-opens at Disneyland Paris on July 24, guests will discover new surprises as well as a band of new buccaneers.” But the update will also carry over to Disney World in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in California come next year. They write:

You’ll even discover that a familiar character is playing a new role joining the pirates ranks and helping the local townspeople “unload” their valuables at the Mercado auction. In the U.S., this famous redhead will appear in a similar scene at the Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland park in 2018 following a previously scheduled refurbishment.

Kathy Mangum, a senior vice president with Disney Imagineering said in a news release “Our team thought long and hard about how best to update this scene. 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!” I didn’t really have an opinion on that portion of the attraction but the update sounds pretty rad, no? A character having agency is always a plus in my book. While some Disney fans are fine with the alteration and even applaud it, there are several commenting on the blog to express their displeasure.

Please don’t get rid of the auction, there is no need to make this politically correct, they are pirates after all. I don’t mind the other changes though.


What a terrible idea. That scene is THE iconic scene of the entire attraction. And you’re going to change it because? I grew up going to WDW and now take my family there. Never once have any of us thought that selling brides was a good thing. Never once did we think that Disney was encouraging that type of behavior. What a terrible TERRIBLE idea.

Then there’s this gem:

This is NOT a change we want. Why does “equality” mean women have to look like or act like men? Must we remove ALL of Walt’s ideas from the park? This is a change I absolutely oppose and it would be yet another reason NOT to visit the park. Leave it as it is.

Because apparently holding a gun means you’re acting like a man. And then there’s this one that doesn’t actually understand what the It’s a Small World attraction is actually about:

We Wants the Redhead! My all time favorite part of the ride! After 50 years why change it? It’s like a national landmark! What’s next? Let’s change all children in it’s a small world into plain white robes because you are stereotyping other peoples cultures. Where will it end? If you don’t like it, don’t ride the ride!

Of course this isn’t the first time the ride has been changed. The NY Daily News points out “In 1997, the part of the ride featuring male pirates chasing women around was changed to pirates chasing women holding pies — making the object in pursuit the dessert instead of the females.” And after the Pirates of the Caribbean films became popular, Disney added Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow (and others), which makes this comment standout as it pertains to what’s showing up on television these days.

I’ve ridden on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride probably 30-40 times since our first visit in 1968, when I was 6 years old, and I can assure you I’ve never been traumatized, offended, or suffered any ill social effects from that particular scene. It’s a ride. There are far worse stories being played out in movie theaters and on television than the auction scene on Pirates of the Caribbean.

[UPDATE] Inside the Magic (via TMS) posted a new video of the updated “redhead scene” at Disneyland Paris. She looks awesome.

(via NY Daily News)

12 Responses to “[UPDATED] People Are Mad Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Will Update to Be Less Offensive toward Women”

  1. lev36 says:

    Always one of my favorite rides in the park. And I’m all for Reddie casting off her chains and taking up the cutlass herself!

  2. VBartilucci says:

    The scene is not quite sufficiently explained. The wench currently up for auction is a bit…tubby, and all the pirates are jeering and telling the auctioneer to get to the redhead, who is totally showing herself off.

    And IIRC, back in the days when they had the pirates chasing the girls, thay had the chubby girl from auction chasing the pirate.

    And I won’t lie to you, I always thought the scene was funny.

    I totally get that people can be and are upset by it. It’s a dated gag, but I always liked it, and I don’ t think society will dissolve when they get rid of it.

    But Disney’s no fools – I will lay odds that they’re going to make a new set of “Classic moments” products, wither prints or a diorama, or what have you, and the classic Mercado auction will be one of them. And it will sell very well to a specific demographic.

    I kind of like the idea of making her a pirate. Maybe they’ll even give her a name

  3. doc says:

    An odd hill to die on: “When I was a boy, I came to Disney World for one thing: the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where women are sold into sex slavery!”

  4. Kerry says:

    As a Disney lover, I’ve read/written in several posts discussing this today. There was so much stupidity defending the human trafficking and not acknowledging what the scene actually meant that I had to take an Ativan. Oh, and then some guy tried to say (TW) that rape was an evolutionary tool, and that morals were subjective.

    …I might need to take another Ativan.

  5. Aimee says:

    Well, not only is this scene not remotely the most iconic scene from the ride (that’d be the jail scene with the dog and the keys) but this isn’t even the first time they’ve made this kind of update to the ride! There is a scene where there used to be pirates chasing women through their houses but a few years ago they changed it to the women chasing the pirates out of their houses with rolling pins and brooms. I hated that scene before but now it’s my favorite so I’m hoping the same will happen with the redhead.

  6. JenM says:

    Already hearing about Disney parks fans who plan to chant “Me wants to the redhead!” whenever the boat goes past the updated scene. I love the Disney parks, but yeah…they do have devotees that will cry to the heavens anytime anything gets changed. A bunch of them got mad last year when Disney briefly removed some alligator/crocodile references from the Florida parks after a little boy was killed by an alligator there last year. They seemed to think not having a crocodile joke on the Jungle Cruise ruined their vacation far worse than the family who went home without their son last summer.
    I love the ride, but that scene would never have been there if that ride had been built today. I think what it is flies over most kids’ heads when they see it, and most adults get that it’s just an old ride…but I don’t see anything wrong with giving it an update that’s a little less cringeworthy. They’re Disney World pirates, not real pirates.

  7. Is the Redhead a character from the ride? Cuz I’m coming up with Merida and Ariel and both seem super out of place.

    I did lol that some dude said the scene was “THE iconic scene”. Like, every year he and his family of hamsters take a trip to Anaheim so he can laze around the pirate ride and bask in the daydream that if he lived in an animatronic pirate land he could buy a robot lady.

    I have zero attachment to this ride.