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Disneyland dumps 'wench bride' auction from Pirates of the Caribbean

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Bruce Chambers/The Orange County Register via AP

Disneyland is once again changing some classic-yet-controversial elements of its Pirates of the Carribean ride.

The park has announced plans to give the iconic 1967 dark ride a makeover that will include replacing its animatronic bride auction scene. Instead of a redhaired woman being shown on an auction block as part of a “Wench Sale” (along with a pirate calling out, “We wants the redhead!”), the character will be changed into a female pirate. While the scene has for decades been a part of the beloved ride depicting traditional pirate tropes, it’s also increasingly been criticized as sexist.

“Our team thought long and hard about how best to update this scene,” said a Walt Disney Imagineering executive in a statement to the Orange County Register. “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.” A park spokesperson added: “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.”

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Several years back, Disneyland changed another sexually suggestive scene in which marauders were endlessly chasing female villagers in a loop. The designers gave the women trays of food to suggest the pirates were merely hungry.

The changes will be completed on the ride in 2018 and will affect versions in Anaheim, California; Orlando, Florida; and Paris, France.

Back in 2006, the park added in characters from Pirates of the Carribean film franchise, including Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbossa.