Last week, the Internet was abuzz with rumors of a change to Pirate of the Caribbean at the Disneyland resort. The “beloved” bride auctioning portion of the ride is going to be replaced. While the changes will happen at the Disneyland Paris resort this year, the US-based parks (Disneyland and Magic Kingdom) can expect to see the changes in 2018, along with the annual refurbishment.
Changing this ride is not new. Decades ago, the dirty pirates chasing the women in a following scene were changed to reflect some of the women getting the upper hand and chasing the pirates.
In 2006, with the inception of the successful film franchise, an audio-animatronic Jack Sparrow was added to each scene, along with the complete re-theme of Tom Sawyer’s Island to a “Pirates Lair” with an accompanying storyline AND a character picture opportunity. While we won’t talk about why Captain Jack is no longer allowed on the Island now, let’s just say that it fits.
Critics of the changes are most likely to point out that this is a material change to the Pirates of the Carribean ride. To be honest, this is complete bull. The auctioneering scene is less than a misguided blip in the history of pirate lore. If we start talking about the auction, then we can also start talking about the various brothels pirates would visit. Do we then talk about Pillaging, Plundering and Rape (the Pirate’s “creed”)? Do we talk about scurvy and rickets and the economics of rebuilding a whole town pirates have decimated? Do we talk about fire safety?
No, none of this is relevant because this is a ride. A suspension of disbelief. And, sometimes, a quick place to cool down in an otherwise packed park. Will removing the auction change anything about the name of the ride? No. But what this change may do is shed some light on the systematic way women are treated in history and RID the park of archaic gender norms that have no business being placed on the next generation.
And for those who might be less than interested in a conversation about the above, I’ll leave you with the following words of Walt Disney… the man who spent YEARS of his life refining this ride (originally it was a walk through!):
“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”