Disney will replace the "wench auction" in its Pirates of The Caribbean rides

Posted Friday, June 30, 2017 9:08 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The pirates will no longer be saying “We wants the Redhead” in Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland after the auction scene undergoes a modification in 2018. The Walt Disney Company plans to make changes to the auction scene in the classic attraction at Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris in the coming year.

Read more from The Orange County Register.

See also: Disney Parks Blog

Saturday, July 1, 2017 9:58 PM

Lot of racial talk here, so here's a provocative thought experiment, what if instead of being women being sold it was black people, and instead of calling them wenches they called them niggers? If that's abhorrent why is buying a wife any different?

I'm not a PC man by any stretch, I don't really think it needs changing and I don't like the idea that society at large says it needs changing. But I can't help but dismiss the stuff about the ride being representative of history as utter nonsense. I doubt a real pirate would break into song halfway through pillaging a town for example. It's a fantasy Disney version of a pirate attack, it's already lite on murder and rape, maybe it's OK if they go lite on human trafficking as well.

Saturday, July 1, 2017 10:21 PM


Didn't mean to take it out of context (trying to re-read it now)

Let me be clear, I'm not saying the movie shouldn't be shown. As part of a lecture series or museum series certainly.

Hell, I own an international version (Spanish). I can look at it and see it as a product of its time. Doesn't make it acceptable by today's standards, but I know that going in, so I can ignore that part, and acknowledge the inherent problems with the film and its depictions of slavery and race.

obviously the film stands on its own, much like Gone With the Wind and even Birth of a Nation.

Sunday, July 2, 2017 12:26 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

My mother once refused to get out of the car at a Walgreens because all of "those people" were there. (She was referring to African-Americans.) Agatha Christie, the acclaimed murder mystery author, has characters in the original prints of her novels from the 20s and 30s saying things like "He's Jewish, so he's clearly a suspect."

I take a deep breath and remind myself that people are the product of their place and time.

I have no problem with Song Of The South being available in the U.S. But I get why the Disney company doesn't want it released domestically and why they would want to "tidy up" Pirates. They don't want to risk offending guests.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Sunday, July 2, 2017 8:17 AM
TheAcrophobicEnthusiast's avatar

I was gonna weigh in but then I realized joz pretty much Mic dropped this thread.

Last edited by TheAcrophobicEnthusiast, Sunday, July 2, 2017 8:20 AM

The best of all the jokers is clearly Mark Hamill.

Sunday, July 2, 2017 8:32 AM

I saw Song of the South about 10 years ago, in a history class while in college. The professor had a bootleg copy and showed it as a historical piece. Other than feeling like I was on Splash Mountain with the music, parts of it were in fact "that bad". That said, it was easily the most influential and memorable moment from that class, which was the History of the American South.

Last edited by BrettV, Sunday, July 2, 2017 8:33 AM
Sunday, July 2, 2017 9:42 AM
Jeff's avatar

I only allow for "product of your environment" for dead people. If you're alive today, you have unprecedented access to information and are free to make your own decisions.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Sunday, July 2, 2017 10:47 AM

I expect quicker change from 25 year olds than 85 year olds. The impact of decades of experience, re-enforcement, etc. is significant. Are there some 85 year olds who are quick to change? Yeah. I have seen a few. But having watched my parents, their siblings and parents/siblings of friends of similar age, they are in the minority.

As for access to info, again from my experience, its more theoretical than real for a lot of older people. The internet (and the content that is provides) has largely passed my parents by. Its not for a lack of trying (on their part, my part, my siblings' part or even my kids' part). Just does not click for them. Cell phones were (and continue to be on some level) a struggle. Add in health and memory issues and its just not going to happen. Now that doesn't mean there aren't tech savy 80 year olds out there. Just that from my experience they are in the minority.

Sunday, July 2, 2017 11:00 AM
rollergator's avatar

Shades said:

Disney needs a Blazing Saddles ride.

But they'd have to build a complete replica of the city of Rock Ridge... ;~P

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Sunday, July 2, 2017 11:19 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

joz said:

Lot of racial talk here, so here's a provocative thought experiment, what if instead of being women being sold it was black people, and instead of calling them wenches they called them niggers? If that's abhorrent why is buying a wife any different?

That's exactly where the conversation went in the discussion about the HHN actor calling the teenage girls whores - so it's not new ground.

Honestly, I don't think it's the same. I'm sure it could be argued either way and I'm not interested in doing so because it's not important.

What if instead of women being sold it was cookies, and we called them tasty little delicacies? (Bakers of the Caribbean?)

It's not just as simple as comparing it to something else and saying, "See. That's bad so this is too." There's context, tone, etc. There's plenty of shades of grey - even within the "bad" part of the spectrum itself.

I look at it this way. Did anyone ever think this was a problem before? Did anyone honestly ride Pirates and think, "Wow. That's an offensively dated scene."

Some. Maybe? Not many, I'd imagine.

How many would have thought that if it were the slavery scene you describe?

That's the difference.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Sunday, July 2, 2017 11:20 AM
Sunday, July 2, 2017 12:35 PM

There is a lot of selective outrage. Interesting to me to see what issues are able to rise to a level of a change of being made. And there are some people who seem to be looking for something to find offensive. Look hard enough and you likely will find something. Doesn't mean there aren't things that are offensive (and to at least some degree its in the eye of the beholder -- and as a white, straight male I am likely more tone deaf to offensive than anything). I am not sure there is anything of substance here (though I don't really care on either side of this one and agree that attractions will be changed/updated over time) though given its an amusement park attraction, I tend to doubt it.

As a father of a teenage daughter, I pay more attention to how women are treated in society. Pretty much every day you see something that is cringe worthy or makes you cover your daughter's eyes and ears or scratch your head. And its on a whole host of issues from portrayal in the media, importance of appearance, roles in workplace/social structure, etc. Interesting to me that of all those issues, this one gains traction (not only that it garners a change but also it seems to me the insignificance of it in the grand scheme). I suspect that had they not announced a change, few people would have even noticed (and I am not talking about people here or Disney fan boy sights who would immediately notice if changed the color shade of its napkins). Even with the announcement, I bet there will be a lot of people who never will notice.

Monday, July 3, 2017 1:19 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

Shades said:
Disney needs a Blazing Saddles ride.

No, they need a Young Frankenstein Ride :-)

All the ride ops could be dressed as Frau Blucher (insert horse neigh here)

Just, please, not a Spaceballs ride...

From Mouseplanet:

This change is certain to be met with criticism from die-hard fans who hate to see any changes made to the classic attractions, especially those touched by Walt Disney himself. Disney Legend Marty Sklar, who worked closely with Walt Disney during the earliest days of Disneyland, says the changes are in keeping with Walt's vision of the parks:

"To me, the Imagineers are simply reflecting what Walt started the day Disneyland opened—making changes that create exciting new experiences for our guests. I can't think of a single attraction that has not been enhanced and improved, some over and over again. Change is a 'tradition' at Disneyland that today's Imagineers practice—they learned it from their mentors, many of them Walt's original team of storytellers and designers—the Disney Legends.

"Pirates of the Caribbean has always represented great Disney Park storytelling; it has set the standard for the theme park industry for half a century! But it's a story you can continue to add fun to, with great characters in new 'performances.' That's what the Imagineers have done with this new auction scene—it's like a theatre show with a new act."

In fact, Pirates has been updated several times since first debuting at Disneyland in 1967, and each change has had its share of fans and detractors. Most notorious was the change made to the ride in 1997, in which a scene of pirates chasing women through the town was altered by placing trays of food in the women's hands, thus framing the conflict as one of gluttony rather than lust (the Walt Disney World version of the ride, which opened in 1973, had always featured food).

Last edited by slithernoggin, Monday, July 3, 2017 6:52 AM

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Monday, July 3, 2017 8:56 AM

I include the Disney fan folks who object to any change Disney seeks to make in the group of selective outrage/looking to be offended people.

Most notorious was the change made to the ride in 1997, in which a scene of pirates chasing women through the town was altered by placing trays of food in the women's hands, thus framing the conflict as one of gluttony rather than lust

This change I think is at the heart of the issues we have with how to treat women and how they view themselves. We try to remove/hide the lust aspect yet it still remains (largely as a matter of biology).

Monday, July 3, 2017 9:22 AM
Rick_UK's avatar

Or Maverick.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Monday, July 3, 2017 9:37 AM
Jeff's avatar

GoBucks89 said:

There is a lot of selective outrage.

Maybe, but I also think that you have to factor in intent and context, also. Those aren't excuses for social and cultural missteps, but they should influence the reaction of the outraged. Going back to the Peter Pan thing, I don't think Walt was thinking, "I want to disparage Native Americans with bad stereotypes and really show women where they belong," and because that wasn't his intention, outrage wouldn't be the appropriate response. But at the very least, I can teach my child that these depictions are not appropriate, and here's why.

Honestly, same thing with Confederate monuments. I'm not outraged by their existence, but in the context of what they stand for, I think it's reasonable to expect that memorializing a force that wanted slavery to persist is not acceptable.

And to bring it home, I don't think the Pirates scene was really intended to be about human trafficking and sex slaves, but rather an allusion to the acts of fictional pirates. Decades later, knowing that it's still a real thing in the world, where at least in the US we're still fighting the trivialization of an entire gender's role in society, yeah, a change is probably in order when the target audience is young families.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Monday, July 3, 2017 2:17 PM

I agree that context and intent matters. But looking at those doesn't necessarily avoid selective outrage. And a lot of outrage/offense is feigned. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. Often more likely to get results if you overstate the issue/concern over it.

Looking at the Pirates ride (and although I was on it a month or so ago, I do not recall all the details like I know many of you here do), I recall there being violence, theft, arson, torture, drunkenness and a bride auction. And in the end, the bad guy gets the spoils with a drink in his hand singing a song surrounded by treasure. Young families are good with everything there except the bride auction?

And I have a vague recollection that there is a weight issue involved with the bride auction? The hot redhead and a heavier "wench." Though I may be remembering that wrong. If my memory is right though its interesting to me that the talk is about the sex slave aspect of the scene as the basis for its removal. Female park goers experiencing the ride are more likely I would think to experience body shaming/weight issues than they are human trafficking or sex slave issues. Though again my memory may be wrong on that part of the auction in which case the point goes away.

As a father to a teenage daughter, I have more issues with the Disney princess concept than I do the soon to be former wench auction.

Monday, July 3, 2017 5:11 PM
Jeff's avatar

You're kind of asking about the double standards we have for entertainment, which I agree are pretty weird. We can roll with tons of violence in every movie, but show a boob and people lose their minds. Totally agree, that's ridiculous.

But again, I'll ask about context. Is fantasy arson and pillaging, in the context of the ride, being perpetrated against any particular race, gender or socioeconomic group? That's where things get to be a little more complicated. I mean, in Resident Evil, the zombies don't care about your ethnicity or whether or not you have testicles. They just want to eat brains. Now rewrite those movies where the zombies only want to eat the brains of black people, or women, or even Republicans. See? Now it's not cool.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Monday, July 3, 2017 8:12 PM

You are selectively looking at context. From what I understand of the zombie genre (not much of an understanding I admit), there would be no basis for zombies to single out any group of people. So there would be no context for that. There is context for a wench auction with pirates. They wouldn't (most of them in any event) be looking to marry guys. Is Silence of the Lambs appropriate? Or should Buffalo Bill have not killed only women (overweight at that)? Or does the context of serial killers matter?

I wasn't talking about selective outrage in the context of Pirates when I initially made the statement. Though once you brought up young families I asked the questions about everything else that I would think would concern families. Seems to me its selective even in that context. But that wasn't my real point.

Selective outrage is often evidenced within the same group. So you can't justify it based on saying one affects a particular race, gender or socioeconomic group and the other doesn't.

Its interesting to me when you look at the change to the California Pirates Ride noted above, chasing women was deemed unacceptable but buying/selling them (presumably as some type of sex slave) was just fine. Selective outrage?

Monday, July 3, 2017 8:20 PM
rollergator's avatar

How did we get from "Buy a bride" to "sex slave"...50 Shades of Grey?

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Monday, July 3, 2017 8:34 PM
Carrie J.'s avatar

Isn't all outrage selective? I mean, isn't selectivity at the heart of all personal opinion? Puppies make me happy and cats don't...and don't even get me started about babies. But I don't think my lack of emotion about cats makes my happiness about puppies any less valid.

I think for an entertainment venue, it makes perfect sense to move beyond anything that involves humans being tied to ropes and being sold. The collective human taste changes constantly and I think it makes sense for Disney to evolve this way. To me, it's not really about being offended by it so much as it being about no longer being entertaining due to the changing times. That's why we now cringe at jokes in TV/movies that we once either tolerated or thought were funny. Things change. It's life.

Totally agree about Disney princesses, by the way. Completely unrealistic depiction of hair and body types. And far more damaging to female psyches than a silly pirate skit.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Monday, July 3, 2017 11:42 PM

Selective outrage is really just a nice way of saying hypocritical. In that sense, its not hypocritical to prefer dogs over cats (or babies). Its just a matter of personal preference. Which distinguishes it from changing the silly pirate skit but leaving the Disney princesses. Its not a matter of personal preference (though it may well be a matter of revenues).

And no doubt there are gray areas. Different people will have different views in many cases. As I already noted, offensive is often in the eyes of the beholder.

What selective outrage does in many cases is it allows us to pat ourselves on the back as being progressive, correcting wrongs, being sensitive, will to change when needed, etc. When in reality its often an arbitrary change (maybe even an easy one -- how difficult ultimately is this change to make--as I noted, I suspect a lot of people will never notice?) leaving the more important issues unchanged (often more difficult changes and much less popular ones -- talk of making significant changes to Disney princesses and see the revolt begin with changes to heart of franchise rather than a silly pirate skit). Even though you note the Disney princesses are far more damaging to the female psyche than a silly pirate skit.


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