Disney dropping controversial bride auction scene from Pirates of the Caribbean ride

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Changes are coming to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Walt Disney World, including removing one of the ride’s features that has been criticized for being politically incorrect.

The controversial scene involves animatronic female characters who are tied up in front of a banner that says “Auction: Take a Wench for a Bride.” A redheaded woman who is taking her turn on the auction block smiles and twirls back and forth in a brightly colored dress as a pirate calls out “We want the redhead!”

Photo by Joel via Flickr.

The scene was designed to play on pirate tropes but has long been criticized for being sexist. Another scene that showed pirates chasing after women was changed a few years ago to have the women carrying trays of food, implying that the pirates were just hungry, instead of the original rape-and-pillage context, and some of the women chasing the men.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, the scene will be redesigned with the redheaded woman taking the role of auctioneer instead of chattel to be sold, inviting the townspeople to “surrender yer loot” at a more traditional auction.

Artist’s concept rendering of new Pirates of the Caribbean ride scene at Walt Disney World. Image credit: Disney Imagineering.

“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,” said Kathy Mangum, senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering.

The attraction will be getting other updates, including adding additional characters from the film series and featuring a new role for Jack Sparrow, as portrayed by Johnny Depp, in the restaurant connected to the ride.

The changes will affect Pirates of the Caribbean at all four Disney parks that have the ride: Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. Paris will be the first park to be renovated, scheduled to reopen later this month, and construction will continue at the other locations through next year, according to CNN.

Pirates of the Caribbean first opened in 1967 and was the last attraction where the design and construction was overseen by Walt Disney himself. The company patriarch died three months before the attraction opened.

Photo by Joel via Flickr.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

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