The Pirates of the Caribbean ride has been a staple of Disney Parks since practically the beginning. However, as is the case with everything in the parks, things are constantly changing and updating. The ride has already gone through numerous alterations since it first opened in 1967, but now it's been announced that a famous segment of the attraction will be undergoing a major change. The "bride auction" is going away, although, the characters that make it up, including the famous redhead, aren't going anywhere.
The Disney Parks Blog recently unveiled the changes that guests will see when the Disneyland Paris version of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride reopens on July 24. While the major change they noted was the addition of the first animatronic character of Captain Barbossa, Geoffrey Rush's character from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, the change that's getting the most attention is the announcement of the planned change to the bride auction. The new vignette will see a redheaded female pirate, complete with a firearm, "helping" the locals to unload their valuables. Included in the announcement was the fact that when the attraction closes for scheduled refurbishment at both Disneyland and Disney World in 2018, this scene will also change in a similar way.
Currently, guests float past the market and find a large sign that reads "Auction: Take a wench for a bride." On one side of the waterway, a pirate is showing off one woman, trying to get a group of pirates to bid on her. The pirates, however, on the other side of the waterway, are much more enamored with another woman, a redhead who is showing off a bit of leg. The pirates then begin to chant "we wants the redhead." The character in question was referenced in a brief easter egg moment in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.
As one might expect, the planned change is being met by fans with calm and rational discourse. Just kidding, people are flipping out. Most of the response to changes to the classic ride has been negative. Many are assuming the change is being made due to some external pressure from people who felt the scene was inappropriate, even though there's no evidence of such pressure, and one would have expected that if that were the reason, this change would have happened decades ago.
Walt Disney famously said that his parks would never be finished because they would be constantly updated and changed, and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride has been a great example of this. The ride has been updated several times over the decades. Famously, sequences that showed pirates chasing after women were changed to the women chasing the pirates. In that case, there was external pressure to change the vignette, which is likely why that assumption is being made now. Overall, however, the biggest changes to the ride have been due to the film franchise. While the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie took its inspiration from the ride, in the ensuing years, the ride has in turn taken inspiration from the films, adding music from the movies as well as more than one animatronic Captain Jack Sparrow.
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride has numerous badass pirates, but at the moment none of them are female, and there were female pirates, so it's not crazy to make the decision to add one to the ride. At the very least, we'll hold off judgments until we see it. The new redhead will be on display in Paris this July and in Anaheim and Orlando on an undisclosed date (probably the summer) in 2018.