The Pirates of the Caribbean rides at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom at Disney World are some of the post popular attractions in the world. The original ride was such a fan favorite that plans for something different at Disney World were scrapped when guests loudly voiced their displeasure at the absence of the classic ride. Then, of course, along came the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise to reinvigorate Disneyphiles love of the animatronic boat ride.
However, a lot has changed since the first guests rode through in 1967 and 1973, respectively. Captain Jack Sparrow has been added in to the experience via a series of animatronics that have the savvy pirate hiding throughout the ride. Eventually, the pirates chasing terrified women dressed in nightclothes was reversed to give the women the upper hand (they now fend off invading pirates with brooms and rolling pins). But one weirdly tone-deaf sequence remained: the sex slave auction.
If you’ve never been on the Pirates ride, at one point the boat passes by a “Bride Auction” where the local women have been rounded up to be sold to the highest bidder. While the auctioneer tries to get the pirates to bid on a heavier woman, the men shout “We wants the redhead” who is as hyper-sexualized as a family-friendly theme park ride involving sex slavery can be.
Now it seems Disney has finally realized that’s kind of messed up. First announced on the Disney Parks blog, the 2018 refurbishment of Pirates of the Caribbean will change the tenor of the scenes. Instead of a “Bride Auction,” the pirates will instead be forcing the locals to put their valuables up for sale. With proceeds going to the pirates, obviously. Based on the concept art, it appears the redhead has switched teams and is now a valued member of the pirate invaders.
Some will say messing with Walt Disney’s original design is sacrilegious, but Disney has always changed with the times. And if one of those changes means parents not having to explain sex trafficking to their kids in the middle of their once-in-a-lifetime family vacation, all for the better.