New auction scene debuts on Walt Disney World's Pirates ride

March 19, 2018, 10:57 AM · Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom has gotten its new Auction scene, allowing American audiences their first look at Disney's changes to this iconic moment from one of the company's most beloved and enduring attractions.

Disney announced the changes last year, and first installed the new scene in Disneyland Paris' version of the ride, which does not follow the same narrative as the Disneyland original and shorter Walt Disney World version. (Disneyland will get the new Auction scene later this year.)

The new scene subtlety changes the decoration of its animatronic women, but in doing some profoundly changes its message. In the old scene, the women were being auctioned off, with the bidding pirates dismissing the portly "bride" up for sale and lusting after the Redhead next in line.

New auction scene

The new version eliminates the depiction of human trafficking and fat shaming by putting objects in the women's hands and switching a couple of them into men, making the auction about the stuff instead of women. And the Redhead has changed teams, now brandishing a gun and a pirate tricorner hat.

It's evocative of the change that Disney made many years ago to the chase scene, putting platters of food in the women's hands, switching the theme from impending rape to gluttony.

FWIW, I defended Disney's changes when they were announced last year. The TL;DR was that since Disney undercut the Pirates' punishment at the end of the ride by adding Captain Jack Sparrow and letting him get away with it, the company needed to tone down what had become an unpunished glorification of some nasty behavior. But, ultimately, I doubt that most Disney World visitors will even notice that anything has changed.

Replies (19)

March 19, 2018 at 11:07 AM ·

My cousin took her kids to this before the changes and related how they had some questions about that scene so she's happy that they're changing it. I love classic stuff too but let's face it, attitudes change and especially today, a family park presenting something like that was a bit tough so I'm not too upset about it.

March 19, 2018 at 11:21 AM ·

It just doesn't make any sense to me. Why would a pirate want to buy a used grandfather clock or a chandelier? I understand the reasoning behind wanting to change the scene... but really they should have tried harder.

March 19, 2018 at 11:40 AM ·

Historically there would be rape, torture and killing but the original scene was of courses painfully terrible.
Thankfully they added guns, making it more magical and in the current political climate such a great message for schoolkids.
It's a shame Disney didn't go all the way and changed the AA in the red dress in a transgender person.

March 19, 2018 at 11:49 AM ·

It's crazy to me that the original scenes were ever there in the first place... and a reminder how much has changed since the '60's.

March 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM ·

Social Justice Warriors of the Caribbean

March 19, 2018 at 12:10 PM ·

The original scene lost its context when they first removed the ladies chase scene and the woman in a sleeping gown in the barrel and replaced with Johnny Depp. Perhaps the women should have some agency in the debachery if they can restore somewhat similar scenes. Safe family attractions can be boring. The danger is lost today. Why not have a horologist (Pirates 5) in the attraction?

March 19, 2018 at 12:21 PM ·

I was a little bummed about the change, because I tend to be nostalgic, but reading the comments and other perspective, I totally get it. It's about the message, and making small steps to changing what the narrative on what is "okay"...

March 19, 2018 at 12:26 PM ·

Despite the changes, I'm pretty sure the next time my son and I ride, we'll still be saying "We wants the redhead!" as we go by (as usual).

March 19, 2018 at 2:11 PM ·

I'm offended by the stereotype that Yetis are lazy and don't move about. Disney should do something about that.

March 19, 2018 at 2:23 PM ·

It's nice to know that pirates were really just fun loving, inoffensive businessmen. Disney, thanks for the sanitized, whitewashed and totally boring new scene...

March 20, 2018 at 2:14 AM ·

I really like the new scene. The redhead animatronic moves very nicely and “we wants the rum!” Is actually a great line. Not much to miss here IMO.

March 20, 2018 at 4:37 AM ·

I’m not ‘upset’ per say...but the whole point was pirates WERENT GOOD PEOPLE...so they did BAD THINGS. I mean, every pirate in that ride is supposed to be a drunken bafoon. Do we get rid of every alcohol reference or change the narrative that every pirate in the ride is celebrating their 21st birthday? I get it, Disney has a corporate image they want to portray and that’s fine. This just seems so ridiculous to make and promote this change as a ‘changing the narrative’ or ‘respecting women’ when they still have a couple Uncle Touchy-Feely creeps for executives..

March 20, 2018 at 5:01 AM ·

It been reported that the upgrade to "the Red head" anamatronic in the WDW version is due to the "Wicked Witch" being re-purposed from the Great Movie Ride. The DLP "Red Head" is mute and just moves a bit.

March 20, 2018 at 6:44 AM ·

Well what's wrong with Human trafficking being depicted in a ride about Pirates? Are we going to pretend it didn't/doesn't exist? It makes more sense then marauding Pirates having a yard sale. Pathetic.

March 20, 2018 at 6:46 AM ·

They forgot the Lemonade selling Pirates lol

March 20, 2018 at 12:24 PM ·

I understand the reason for the change..... but if people were offended by that scene then they must have a wonderful life for that to be their Biggest concern in life.

March 20, 2018 at 12:35 PM ·

At least looting, burning and mass murder are still politically correct...

March 25, 2018 at 9:42 AM ·

Guys, it’s Disney. The pirates are glorified heroes. If I want to explain human trafficking to my five year old, I’ll watch a documentary.

What other attraction in Disney tries so hard to keep it real?

March 25, 2018 at 6:11 PM ·

Think of it like this: imagine if Sea World decided to stop breeding whales and doing the whale shows before it became a big issue. That's pretty much what Disney is trying to do here. It might not become a big deal, but with all the attention and sensitivity around women issues these days (not only trafficking and rape, but also pay gap etc) they would rather not risk it and be ahead of the curve.

It comes down to a business decision. What happens if you change it? Nothing. What happens if you don't change it? Maybe something bad.

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