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Arts & Culture

Disney Announces Changes To Pirates Of The Caribbean Ride

(SOUNDBITE OF DISNEY STUDIO CHORUS SONG, "YO HO (A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME)")

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is the soundtrack to one of Disney's most beloved theme park rides.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YO HO (A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME)")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.

SHAPIRO: "Pirates Of The Caribbean."

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The ride opened at Disneyland in 1967, when attitudes were different. Now, in 2017, Disney has announced that there will be some updates to the ride.

SHAPIRO: Like getting rid of a scene that shows a line of weeping women standing under a sign that says auction, take a wench for a bride.

SIEGEL: The new scene will feature a female pirate auctioning off stolen gold and jewelry.

SHAPIRO: Eric J. Lawrence is a longtime Disney fan and amateur Disney historian. He says this isn't the first time the ride has had to be updated.

SIEGEL: In the 1990s, Disney changed a scene that showed pirates chasing women around a building.

ERIC J LAWRENCE: They just simply changed the tone of it by having the women be carrying food. And so instead of the sexual urge it was more a gluttony urge that was sort of motivating these pirates to be chasing the women.

SHAPIRO: Lawrence says a fair amount of controversy bubbled up over that change. People eventually got used to it.

SIEGEL: Today, many people have praised Disney for removing a wink to human trafficking. Still, there are purists out there.

Please don't do this. It would break my heart. That's one comment on Disney's announcement. Is nothing sacred?

SUSAN VENESS: People get so emotionally connected to these attractions. And when they change it is really difficult. But I do think some of the changes Disney has made have been for the better. And it probably is about time this one moves on a bit.

SHAPIRO: That's Susan Veness. She wrote the "Hidden Magic Of Walt Disney World" book series. And she herself is a bit on the fence about the new female pirate.

VENESS: I tend to be a person who really likes the classics to stay in their original form. But she can be a cool lady pirate. And I think they add a fun element for girls to look beyond just the princesses. And that, to me, is always a good thing.

SIEGEL: Meanwhile, no changes have been announced to the song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YO HO (A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME)")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho.

SHAPIRO: But Disney does give a hoot whether its pirates kidnap and ravage.

SIEGEL: Pillage and plunder - still on the table.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YO HO (A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME)")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Drink up, me hearties, yo ho. Maraud and embezzle and even hijack. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me. We kindle and char and enflame and ignite. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho. We burn up the city, we're really a fright. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho. We're rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.