Anthony Murphy
Writer

Published: January 2, 2014 at 10:09 PM

The interesting thing to consider is how sensibilities and contexts seem to have changed. Something fine now is taboo and vice versa.

My theory of why the Auction sticks around? The Redhead, while going to be auctioned, seems to be the real one in charge in that scene.

Tony Perkins

Published: January 3, 2014 at 1:24 AM

Thanks for the thoughtful post.

With the changes Disney has made to PotC over the past couple decades, they have soft-pedaled some of the pirates' evil deeds to become more akin to playful misbehavior (like the movies). The ride's signature song is also quite whimsical so it fits into this new paradigm of whimsy ostensbily being pushed by Disney.

I suppose another simple reason the wench scene remains is it would be quite costly to redesign that entire show scene, so it could just be a matter of money and profit. If there were a true outcry, I suppose they would change it in order to avoid the bad PR, but I haven't heard of any movement calling to delete the wench scene.

In any case, the addition of Jack Sparrow completely changed the main narrative thrust of the attraction. It used to be a look at those awful pirates and their degenerate lives so we should be thankful we don't join them (dead men tell no tales). But now dead men do tell tales and get the treasures as the narrator tells us as we ascend the final waterfall. Whimsical misbehavior a la Jack Sparrow has its rewards.

In any case, the DL version of PotC is still a great attraction, and one of the most amazing ever created.

Annette Forrest

Published: January 3, 2014 at 6:46 AM

This article was just excellent. I really enjoyed it. I LOVE these stories on the history of different attractions. This is why I make TPI one of my breakfast reads every morning. Nothing better than starting my day with some TPI wonderfulness! :)
Eric Fisher

Published: January 3, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Disneyland is an amusement park. As such, when I visit the park I expect to see things I would never see in real life. Elephants flying. The Yeti. A woman being auctioned off. Would I tolerate the 3rd, in real life? No. On the other hand, I am descended from slaves, so I know this went on. The controversy over "Pirates" is a tempest in a teapot. It is fantasy, nothing more. Are we concerned that the young women on the storybook boat ride (at least used to) dress like they are in private elementary school? I hope not. We are being too sensitive here. Parents can use this as a teaching tool - and talk about how far (we would like to think) we have come from days when these practices were, at the very least, tolerated.

Bob Dylan addressed this topic in a song called "Long Ago and Far Away". My favorite version is by The Brothers Four. I recommend it to you.

Herwig Delvaux

Published: January 8, 2014 at 3:54 AM

Thank you, absolutely bright story, Matt !
But...
Not all things are, as the wishfull thinking wants them to be to fit in a framed story about how and why changes occurred. Especially when it comes to an attempt, retracing the attraction history, one must be more carefull. It starts with registering what was.

Quote: < The next scene featured pirates chasing townswomen around, trying to capture them. ..//.. Now, the women chase pirates who are carrying looted goods. >
"Now" ?
No, sorry, not true. It was "ever since" !
The original boosted BOTH pirates chasing woman (the 'logic', as "joke opener" / see video 4:53>) AND woman chasing pirates (the unprobable contrasting scene, as "joke maker" / see video 5:02>), and chicken chasing chicken (gender?? ;-) as "the supplementing cartoony offset from history").
If you trace well the-making-of, you will be able to find the discussions around this well reasoned scene composition which was meant to get a "ohh, and haha, and I-got-it" sentiment from the carefull re-visiting rider.
PoTC is the kind of elaborated attraction where re-riding is so rewarding, as to "get" details and humour only after you've seen it several times. One could say: perfect marketing in re-riding. But also just, perfect theatrical complexity, which was THE thing that made Disney, Disney... To be more precise : 'Walt' Disney, not Disney Corp. ...

The far majority of recent "A ticket" Disney attractions have NO experience depth anymore, they are mental flat, singular level only, visual experiences, where the next rides after the first one don't bring on new findings.
My theory behind this, is that the new attractions have been deprived of the traditional film scenarists & animators leading roles in the development. Even if very expensive, the multi-level/depth story magic (and humour) is ... missing.

This brings me to a totally different assumption why the original mental 3-level scene of the chasing-around's, was changed into a 1-level boring, after refurbishment : the actual non literary simplicity of the "imagineers'" minds. Like : < oh, woman chasing pirates is more "fun" , right? So, let's do just woman chasing pirates. >
I dare to postulate, that most probably, "the 1990-ies public opinion" has nothing to do with it. But the flattening of the whole imagineering job to nothing more then a repeated technical exercise, probable has all to do with it. And harmfull descisionmaking, in brand marketing. 'Jack Sparrow' needed to have a spot, there... from a purely commercial IP-contract viewpoint. Having a "star" dropped in a standalone fantasy, is mentally destroying the fantasy, because it recalls "his acting in the film", and distracts from the original power of the attraction scenario.
Perhaps, true imagineering is almost dead, with Disney? (And still growing with Efteling, at less then 10% of comparable development budgets) Disney still builds the-best-there-is, but only on an uninspired technical level...