The next time you go on the classic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disney World Orlando, you just might be doing a double-take during one scene in particular. That’s because the famous “redhead auction scene” that takes place about mid-way through the ride has received some modern upgrades, and we’re not just talking about mechanical, either.
For years, people have complained that the wench auction was rather distasteful in a modern world where women are rapidly becoming more appreciated and more valued. In accordance with the feelings of their park guests, Disney Imagineers decided to spruce up this scene a bit. Rather than remove it altogether, though, Disney made the alterations while still retaining the scene’s original tone and essence. It’s still an auction, and you can still see the fiery redhead, but nowadays she’s looking just a tad bit more empowered than before.
As they always do, Disney weaves a narrative into their rides, and this scene is still no exception. Now visitors of this swashbuckling world can see a feisty female pirate (aptly named Redd) actually auctioning off her own wares rather than being the item auctioned off.
“The pirate auctioneer now oversees a sale of the townspeople’s most prized possessions and goods,” reveals Imagineer Kathy Mangum. “In this scene, the familiar redhead figure has switched sides to become a pirate…who’s just pillaged the town’s rum supply and has something to say about it.”
She even has a speaking role as well. In an effort to make her goods more alluring than her competitor’s chickens, she exclaims, “Aw, quit your cluckin’, the gentlemen wants the rum — dontcha, boys?” to which all the scallywags in attendance yell back “We wants the rum!” rather than the previous more crude line “We wants the redhead!”
This, of course, is hardly the first socially-conscious change Disney has made regarding the classic ride, as they previously modified the scene in which pirates were chasing women around. Now, instead of depicting men lustfully pursuing them, the scene shows the women pursuing the men trying to get back their stolen possessions.
All of these changes over the years (including the addition of characters from the films, such as Captain Jack Sparrow) have all been done with the mindset that Walt Disney himself coined and lived by: “Keep moving forward.” This same alteration will soon take effect in the Disneyland version of the ride come this April.