‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride changes have some fans seeing red

A certain redheaded wench gets a new role in refurbished “Pirates of the Caribbean” rides at Disney parks, but some fans of the beloved attraction are ready to jump ship.

Kathy Mangum, senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering, revealed the changes Thursday in a blog post about the July 24 reopening of the attraction at Disneyland Paris. Along with other changes, the “bridal auction” scene – in which pirates auction off captive women – will recast a redheaded woman, now among the captives, as a pirate helping seize valuables from a line of townsfolk.

In a rendering posted to the blog, a sign that now reads “Auction: Take a wench for a bride” will read “Auction: Surrender yer loot.”

Similar changes will be made to the scene at rides in Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2018, Mangum writes.

Long a favorite among Disney fans, the scene has occasionally sparked criticism for what some call a “sexist” approach to women. Another oft-criticized scene in the ride, in which pirates originally chased women, was altered in 1997 to feature hungry pirates chasing women carrying food – and one woman chasing a pirate.

“We believe the time is right to turn the page to a new story in this scene, consistent with the humorous, adventurous spirit of the attraction,” says Suzi Brown, Disneyland Resort spokeswoman, in a statement to The Orange County Register.

The move gained plenty of applause online.

Not everyone’s happy with the change to the beloved ride, which opened at Disneyland in 1967, however.

And still others found it hard to sympathize with the critics.

Several Change.org petitions asking Disney to reverse the decision have been posted, with the most popular having around 1,500 supporters as of midday Friday.

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