Disney's 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ride to undergo some major updates
by: Shelley Caran
Pirates of the Caribbean, the last attraction Walt Disney personally oversaw at Disneyland before his passing, is at the center of a heated debate among Disney fans.
The Disney Parks Blog announced that the enhancements and changes that are part of the Disneyland Paris Pirates of the Caribbean attraction opening later this month will be coming to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in 2018 as part of the ride's scheduled refurbishment.
While the attraction has seen many additions since its opening in 1967 at Disneyland and 1973 at Walt Disney World Resort, this refurbishment will bring the most changes to the ride to date.
Once the Pirates of the Caribbean updates are complete guests will find that Disney Imagineers have enhanced the show with new Audio-Animatronic figures, costumes, special effects, lighting, and sound, including some of the now-classic musical themes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Marty Sklar, former former vice chairman and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, had this to say about the upcoming changes to Pirates of the Caribbean attraction:
“Pirates of the Caribbean has always represented great Disney Park storytelling; it has set the standard for the theme park industry for half a century! But it’s a story you can continue to add fun to, with great characters in new ‘performances.’ That’s what the Imagineers have done with this new auction scene—it’s like a theatre show with a new act.
To me, the Imagineers are simply reflecting what Walt started the day Disneyland opened—making changes that create exciting new experiences for our guests. I can’t think of a single attraction that has not been enhanced and improved, some over and over again. 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.”
And these new Audio-Animatronic figures are at the heart of the debate over the ride's upcoming additions, because in addition to Captain Barbossa joining the skeleton crew and Davy Jones warning guests that 'Dead men DO tell tales' the popular auction scene will be getting a massive make-over.
The familiar 'Auction – Take a Wench for a Bride' banner will soon read 'Auction, Surrender your loot' banner where underneath the iconic Redhead 'Wench' will take on a new role as the lead plundering pirate who is helping the local townspeople “unload” their valuables at the Mercado during an auction.
Kathy Mangum, senior vice president, Atlantic Region Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, said, “Our team thought long and hard about how best to update this scene. 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! We think this keeps to the original vision of the attraction as envisioned by Marc Davis, X Atencio, and the other Disney Legends who first brought this classic to life.”
This change has sparked quite a discussion about preserving the nostalgia of the theme park versus updating attractions to be more in line with today's 'family friendly' atmosphere.