The 'wench auction' is an original part of the 50-year-old ride
Disney plans a new auction scene, but fans aren't pleased
After 50 years, Disney plans to remove the “Wench Auction” section from its fan-favorite “Pirates of the Caribbean’” ride at its parks, a Disney spokeswoman told CNN on Friday.
The scene, featuring animatronic characters, showed a line of women tied together under a sign that read, “Auction – Take a Wench for a Bride.”
Soon, however, the sign will say, “Auction, Surrender Yer Loot.”
Instead of just women, the auction will feature a mix of men and women auctioning off personal goods such as jewelry and clocks.
“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,” said Suzi Brown, a spokeswoman for Disneyland Resort.
The first Pirates of the Caribbean ride was installed at Disney’s Anaheim, California, location on March 18, 1967.
One of the redheaded “wenches” will become a pirate in the new display, overseeing the auction, according to Kathy Mangum, senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering, the division that designs Disney rides.
“Given the redhead has long been a fan favorite, we wanted to keep her as a pivotal part of the story, so we made her a plundering pirate,” Mangum said.
But not everyone is embracing the change.
One comment on the Disney Parks’ blog post that announced the renovations called it a “horrible, horrible” idea.
“The new idea isn’t funny, doesn’t advance the story (and) is insulting to the original. Smooth move,” the commenter wrote.
Another comment on the post said in part, “As one of the last rides Walt (Disney) oversaw I’m very sad they felt the need to change this. We need to stop shielding people from history. Why don’t we just give all the pirates cell phones instead of interacting with each other.”
Marty Sklar, the former creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, who worked with Walt Disney, said changes to park rides are part of what keeps Disney a unique experience.
“I can’t think of a single attraction that has not been enhanced and improved, some over and over again,” he said in a statement. “Change is a ‘tradition’ at Disneyland that today’s Imagineers practice – they learned it from their mentors, many of them Walt’s original team of storytellers and designers – the Disney Legends.”
The first park to have the section removed will Paris in July. It will be followed by the parks in Orlando and Anaheim next year.