The first thing we did was go on Pirates of the Caribbean, and normally that would be the end of that report, but! they recently made some changes to the attraction so now I have to talk about them. To be honest, I wasn't in favor of them, which I'll admit may have something to do with the fact that I'm pretty much against anything Disney wants to do anymore.
For those of you unfamiliar with the attraction, there was a part where the pirates have captured all the women of the town and were auctioning them off as brides. So on one side of the canal, you have the pirate who's spearheading all of this, with a line of women tied to each other by a rope, and a very large woman who is the current "item" up for bid, and a sexy redhead standing there as the main draw. On the other side of the canal, you have pirates heckling the auctioneer and the potential bride. The scene is pretty much the opposite of politically correct ("Are you selling her by the pound?"), so frankly, we were surprised they didn't change it back when they changed the scene with pirates chasing women to a scene with pirates chasing women-holding-food. (In the former version, they were going to do something very not family friendly, in the latter, they were just hungry?)
So they've finally realized how problematic the scene was and decided to change it, which I probably wouldn't have had as much of a problem with if they'd done it before I already hated all their changes. But now I'm annoyed with them, and they made it worse by saying that the redhead has switched sides and is now with the pirates. We're like, "Really? She's standing there using her sex appeal to get men to come buy other women, and you think she's not working for the auctioneer?" To be fair, maybe she wasn't doing it voluntarily, like she put on the "come hither" face because the auctioneer was going to beat her otherwise.
So now she's voluntarily on their side, and also heckling the auctioneer, so yay women empowerment? That's the other thing that bugs me, frankly. It's like they're saying, "Never fear, Women! You can be just as sleazy as these awful men!"
In the new auction scene, the line of people tied up has men and women in it, and they're holding things that the new imagineers imagined they thought of as valuable. (We only went on it once, so I don't know how valuable these valuables would have really been. All I remember is someone was holding what appeared to be a large marble bust? If it was really made of marble, it would probably be worth something, but I personally get the feeling that statues only really mean anything to the people who care about the person it was a statue of.) The auctioneer is trying to auction off...the eggs that the large woman is now holding, and looking much sadder than she did in the original version. (Because it totes makes sense to capture the townspeople and have them hold the items themselves instead of killing them off and taking whatever they wanted. Maybe if the pirates were especially sadistic.)
The pirates on the other side of the canal are heckling them as usual, and the redhead, now with the ever so original name of Redd (to be fair, it's possible that that was her name all along), is joining in and saying to the auctioneer that come on, we all know what they want is the rum. They needed something that starts with R, because before they would chant, "We wants the redhead!" so now they chant, "We wants the rum!"
After one viewing of the change, I can't say if it's better or worse. It's definitely different, and I think new costumes don't quite blend in with the style of the original ones (which are still there in all the other scenes). I was mostly looking at the overall scene, so I can't comment on the movements of the animatronics yet. I feel like the dialogue for the new version is weaker, but I admit that might be because it isn't as iconic as the original. On the other hand, I also know that when an "artist" tries to just copy something, it usually ends up being weaker than the original, and since that's basically what they were doing... We also think Redd's voice is annoying.
And it's hard, because I want to say I like the old scene better, but on the other hand, human trafficking is a real problem that still exists. I also want to say, "Well, yeah, but the pirates were not meant to be the good guys in this ride." But back to the first hand, thanks to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, they kind of do seem to be the good guys...which is really a horrible thought, because that was far from the only scene where pirates were doing awful things. There's another scene where they captured the mayor and tied him up over the well, dunking him occasionally to torture him into giving them information. It's Disney, so it's played very comically, but it's still pretty horrific when you think about it. When you start looking at it that way, the whole ride starts to be problematic...until you remember that it was meant to put you in a scary situation. Walt Disney just never wanted to make it so scary that it was traumatic.
They also added a weird scene to the right before the cannon fight, where there's some guy tied up over a treasure chest, and an octopus. I'm not sure what the point of it is, but the octopus looked very glassy. I'm not sure if that's how octopi look outside of water...
And that's our report about the Pirates of the Caribbean update. The short version is we have mixed feelings about it.
Today I'm thankful for finishing our work, getting to go to Target and buy more chocolate peanut butter, getting to try the white chocolate peanut butter, learning a little tiny bit more about the Anime Expo schedule, and having a super cool birthday present for our favorite nephew.