Ye come seekin’ adventure and salty pirates, eh?

This is it… after touring through nine of the biggest blunders in Disney theme park history we have finally arrived at the top of our list of the Top Ten Disney Theme Park Controversies. If you have not read them all click HERE to get caught up…

Keep a weather eye open, mates, and hold on tight if you please… there be squalls ahead and Davey Jones waiting for them what don’t obey…

1) PC Pirates

Pirates less rape poster

Yo,ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

 We torture we rape and we don’t fear the brig.

Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

We treat women like slaves we’re misogynist pigs.

Drink up me ‘earties yo ho!

 

 Yo,ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

 We slit your throat and then we sing with glee.

Drink up me ‘earties yo ho.

We’re murdering terrorists and proud to be.

Drink up me ‘earties yo ho.

 

 Yo, ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

 We disembowel and we eviscerate.

Drink up me ‘eraties yo ho.

We like your women but not to date.

Drink up me ‘earties you ho.

 

We’re diseased and dirty, we’re oversexed studs.

Drink up me ‘earties you ho.

We wallow in feces and have a taste for blood.

Drink up me ‘earties you ho.

 

We’re wretched and drunk and may cut off your head.

Drink up me ‘earties you ho.

Aye, but we’ll also take your sisters to bed.

Drink up me ‘earties you ho.

 

 Yo, ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.

 

Um wait a second… what exactly are we talking about here?

Pirates of the Caribbean has never been politically correct. It is impossible to imagine much of the atttractcion passing through Disney’s corporate filters today.

pirates-overall

Looting, arson, murder and rape… now lets get a churro.

Earlier on the list we took a look Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It carries guests on an intoxicated romp through city streets and includes multiple attempts at vehicular homicide and a trip to hell. As very “un-Disney” as that attraction may seem it has nothing on Pirates of the Caribbean, a ride that celebrates looting, rape, torture, sexual slavery, arson and more.

Yet Pirates of the Caribbean is widely considered to be Disney’s top ride and in fact the greatest theme park attraction ever created. You would be hard pressed to find any ride designer, theme park fan or Disney freak who would not put Pirates at the very top of their “best of” list.

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Some concept art was even less subtle that what made it into the attraction.

Think about it. Pirates of the Caribbean is nearly 50 years old and is still one of the top draws at every park is appears in. It created an entire genre of rides and was chiefly responsible for defining what we know as a “Disney style” attraction. It was created by legendary Imagineers and has even spawned a hugely successful series of films.

Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1967 at Disneyland and immediately redefined what a theme park attraction could be. Moreover Pirates was the last attraction that Walt Disney personally supervised to the point of final design (though he did not live to actually see its completion). It is impossible to over-state the importance of this attraction regarding the history of the Walt Disney Company, modern theme park attractions or even themed experiences in general. Without Pirates there would be no Haunted Mansion. Without Pirates there would be no EPCOT Center. Without Pirates of the Caribbean there would be no Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Simply put: Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean is the absolute pinnacle of theme park design and the most significant attraction in Disney’s or any other theme park company’s history.

The attraction boasts lavish sets, memorable songs and amazing artistry, but also a rabid legion of fans that span multiple generations and cross all cultural lines. For a group of “really bad eggs” people flat out love these pirates.

Pooped-Pirate-Original

The original “Pooped Pirate”; sexual assault at gunpoint has never been so much fun.

With this in mind it can come as no surprise that fans were outraged and livid in 1997 when the Walt Disney Company announced imminent changes coming to the beloved attraction. What may have seemed amusingly naughty in the mid-sixties was feeling a bit more ominous 30 years later. The original incarnation of the ride clearly depicted swashbucklers chasing down women with a sexual intent. Pirates could be heard offering to share the “wenches” with guests and uttered other lewd and suggestive dialogue.

Upon examination the attraction is one illegal, illicit or morally reprehensible scene after another from start to finish. The town magistrate is tortured, the women of the town are rounded up and sold at auction and eventually the entire town is burned to the ground… Pirates were not nice guys.

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Pirates used to chase the ladies…

Though the ride depicted many wretched things it did so with a tongue-in-cheek approach than softened the hard edges and created an overall tone that was lighthearted and campy. Regardless, in the mid nineties there was a growing swell of complaints that the acts portrayed on the attraction were not appropriate for a family fun park. It could be argued that Disney was actually presenting a fair and accurate representation of Pirates rendered in a more palatable manner (ironically Disney is often accused of white-washing the realities of history). One could also be reminded that Pirates were outlaws and criminals and any attraction themed around them would need to include the acts that they were known for. Nonetheless park management decided it was time for a change.

Pirate-Chase-5

…but then they started chasing chicks.

Originally the pirates pursued attractive woman as they scurried away in a famous series of chase scenes. One heavy-set woman turned the tables and lustfully ran after a scrawny pirate. This scene, with an apparently sexually starved woman, was also seen as offensive; critics asked why it was only the heaviest woman who not only welcomed the Pirate’s amorous attentions but actively sought it out as well? And why was it that the only woman the pirates were not interested in happened to be the overweight one? Beyond concerns of weight discrimination critics lashed out about the general premise and the overtly sexual and abusive themes.

Pirate-Chase-1

From lustful desire…

Pirate-Chase-3

…to self protection.

The first changes gave the heavyset woman a rolling pin to brandish. She was no longer lustfully chasing down an unwilling pirate lover but now fending him off and protecting herself.

More changes came later in a rather ham-fisted attempt to remove the sexual overtones from the chase scenes. A 1997 overhaul (to the original Disneyland version) added food and drinks to the hands of the fleeing damsels in distress. Disney aimed to tell guests that the pirates were now hungry, not horny. The scoundrels were not chasing the women themselves but rather the delicious delights in their possession. Not content to leave the largest women alone they oddly upped the weight insensitive suggestions by having her now chase down a pirate who was carrying a hunk of ham. No longer was she trying to bed a bandit or even trying to chase him away, rather she was so ravished with her endless need to gorge herself that she just had to get her hands on that ham at all costs. The rest of the more slender women trotted along protecting dinner from the grubby hands of the invading riff-raff.

Ham-Pirate

Must Get HAM!!!!

A short bit later another scene originally depicted a drunken buccaneer known as the “Pooped Pirate”; exhausted from his encounter with an unwilling victim he rested against a wood barrel. Guests would hear his frustrated commentary as he held a piece of her undergarments and asked for our help in finding her. The terrified woman would occasionally reveal herself. Trembling with fear she hid in a barrel near the would-be rapist. This scene was altered so that the Pooped Pirate (now surrounded by a bounty of food) complains about hunger and how he is in search of a fine pork loin (you really can’t make this stuff up). For some unexplained reason a scared cat of all things replaced the poor woman in the barrel.

Pooped-Pirate-Rehab

He’s still pooped but now he is bloated and in search of a pork loin as well… doesn’t he see one sitting right next to him?

Similar changes were previously made at the Walt Disney World version of the ride. There the female victims carried treasure in lieu of food and while the terrified woman remained in the barrel she held a treasure map suggesting the pooped pirate was in search of gold and not a different kind of booty.

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The original version… does adding some mugs on a tray really change the meaning?

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Just give the guy the freaking mugs already… it would make things a lot easier and he is really thirsty.

Other clearly controversial and misogynistic scenes remained largely untouched, most notably the auction scene depicting enslaved woman as they are sold to the highest bidder for the apparent pleasure of the drunken sailors nearby. The pirates are most enchanted with the busty redhead while a less conventionally attractive woman cowers with embarrassment (and perhaps concern that she will be chosen at all); another sobs with fear.

Red-Head

Are they suggesting sex crimes are OK if you are really hot?

Disney may have been taken aback by the very vocal complaints these changes garnished. It was not only the fans but also even some of the original designers (mostly old men by this time) who complained. Xavier “X” Atencio, the show’s writer and composer of its catchy song feared that the changes turned the pirates into “The Boy Scouts of the Caribbean”. The mainstream press picked up on the changes too and soon newscasts were filled with stories about Disney “caving” to pressure while others criticized the changes as either not going far enough or that no changes should have been made at all (Disney could not win for trying). It was unprecedented to have such a widespread outpouring of concern and anger (on both sides of the controversy) over alterations to a theme park attraction. Late night talk show hosts made jokes, radio shows discussed the various implications and Disney was caught in a media storm it surely did not expect.

Pirates-scared-girl

The undertones of scenes like this were probably lost on most riders.

Perhaps Disney should have simply left the attraction alone. As George Lucas also discovered around this same time; when a classic is altered, regardless of the intent behind it, those who grew up with said classic and those who have true love and admiration for it will never accept the changes. It is as if a piece of their childhood has been ripped away from them and tossed to the side. People fear that it is a slippery-slope leading to a bland homogenization of everything they once loved. Disney was placed in a very difficult situation; the critic’s points could not be denied but the fans love of the attraction knew no bounds. It is very unlikely that proponents enjoyed the ride because it suggested misogamy and in fact most who rode probably never really understood it that way to begin with, to them it was a silly spoof.

To be fair other more positive alterations were made to the Disneyland attraction at this same time. The recently closed World of Motion ride at Epcot made many audio animatronics figures available to be re-used. Marc Davis, the same Imagineer who designed the pirates and in the same exaggerated cartoon fashion, designed these figures. In fact many of the World of Motion figures were sculpts originally created for Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney’s designers tried to incorporate these animatronics into the attraction in order to better flesh out the story and enhance several scenes.

Wolrd-of-Motion-Pirate

Look Familiar?

motionviking

Six years later Disney released “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl”, a big screen action adventure movie with very loose ties back to the original attraction. The movie starred Johnny Depp and was a massive hit, so big in fact that Disney decided to alter the theme park attractions once again. This time the stated intent was not to sanitize the more lewd aspects pirate life but rather to inject elements of the film series into the attraction that inspired it. Nonetheless it gave Disney another crack the more suggestive parts of the ride.

In 2006 a new version of the attraction debuted. Disney decided to alter the chase scenes once again. Now in the Florida version two pirates inexplicably run in a circle each holding an end of a treasure chest. In Disneyland vignettes featured newly empowered women chasing pirates who have stolen pies (man those pirates really are nasty). No longer are the pirates trying to capture the women for sexual gratification, treasure or even to satisfy their hunger. Now the women are the aggressors hunting down the befuddled and inept seaman.

Pooped-Pirate-Current-2

Today Mr. Depp peeks at a map while the pooped pirate tries to beat him to the treasure. The entire plot of the ride has changed.

pirates47

Johnny, Johnny everywhere!

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The pooped pirate remains but now Captain Jack Sparrow (from the films) peers from the same barrel that once hid the frightened girl. It appears as though Jack is looking over the treasure map the pooped pirate clutches. The plot of the attraction has been shifted, Pirates are now in search of Jack Sparrow and trying to beat him to the treasure, the town and its inhabitants are inconsequential. Additional figures of Captain Jack and his nemesis Captain Barbossa were added as well. Even music lifted from the movies found it’s way into the attraction. Most of the changes made in 1997 were removed including several of the World of Motion figures and the overall “Pirates are hungry” motif. Now the attraction that inspired the films had been consumed by them. Pirates of the Caribbean had been turned into a promotional synergistic corporate shill.

For thirty years Pirates of the Caribbean stood virtually untouched, then within a decade nearly every scene had been alltered in one way or another. Additional minor changes continue today (in order to insert more elements from the movies) with more inevitably to come as the film franchise marches on. Somehow through all of this the auction scene that in many ways is the most offensive of them all remains intact.

Wench-Auction

There are at least four offensive things in this image, can you spot them all?

Pirates of the Caribbean is still an awesome ride but it is a ride that now has a different tone, a different plot and a different intent from the original incarnation. It is not so much about whether it is a “good” or “bad” ride but rather about what happens when a truly beloved experience is altered (and many would argue unnecessarily so). Perhaps they had no choice? Perhaps times have changed? But Disney messed around with the crown jewel in their collection and because of that it earns the number one spot on our list.

Did we miss anything? Are you surprised? Do you agree or disagree?

Let us know and lets hope that there are precious few controversial surprises to come!

43 thoughts on “Ye come seekin’ adventure and salty pirates, eh?

  1. I will have to see if there are any old discussions still on the web about people arguing for and against changes to the ride– I’d like to see what they were saying. The pirates were certainly amoral, but it’s not like the ride held them up as a good example. It’s often been said that the ride starts out showing what happens to these sinners in the end– they eventually turned on each other and died by the sword. Riding in the little boat, I always felt like we were accidental observers, stumbling onto the lost caverns, luckily making our way through the cannon-fire, and too small to be worth the attention of the pirates looting the town. If anything, the moral of the ride is that bad guys don’t prosper. If they were just some hungry guys who stopped into town for a bite to eat, it doesn’t make sense. If anything, the NEW version seems to support the idea that piracy is worthwhile, with Captain Jack gloating over the captured treasure at the end (unless you imagine him as one of the skeletons on the beach later– surely not what Disney had in mind).

    • There are still critics today who are upset about the auction scene and site very real and sad statistics about sexual slavery that occurs around the globe. They say there is nothing fun about this.

      Of course they are not seeing the overall attraction or the context. It’s complex because just as the average guest probably does not pick up on some if the more sinister themes neither do they catch the comeuppance.

      Critics argue that showing any type if real world brutality is sending bad messages. Fans argue it is harmless and presented in such a way as to not be damaging.

      • I agree that sexual slavery is one of the worst things in the world. But like a lot of Disney rides, most of Pirates is about the gags. The dunked mayor spitting up water like a fountain, the restless catcallers waiting to get past the unattractive merchandise, the little band of animals so enamored that they’re singing the theme song along with their conquerors. While the sets in Pirates are strikingly realistic, the people are somewhat cartoony. The whole ride reminds me of a child’s dream of what “a pirate’s life” would be like. Looting! Cannons! Carousing! Setting things on fire! Spooky caves and lost lagoons! Scaring townspeople! You get where I’m going… the allure of the high seas and adventure– that’s what Pirates of the Caribbean has always evoked for me. Yes, you are not guaranteed to live until retirement, but you’ll pack a lot of living into the couple of decades you do get. The best Disney attractions allow you to be someone else for a little while– a space traveler, a race car driver, an explorer of some kind. Why not become a pirate for a little while, grab the sword you pretended to have as a child and wave it in the face of all that is civilized and proper? Yar har, that’s the life for me.

        • The kid’s imagination comparison is perfect. Pirates is in essence a really fancy version of playing army or cowboys and Indians… Then again some people think those are bad things as well.

          The cartoony look of the humans brings up another issue:

          Marc Davis had a very comical sight gag style of illustrating. When Blaine Gibson made the sculpts he was very careful to be very true to Marc’s caricature style and feel.

          They are clearly NOT realistic humans nor are they trying to be. One if the greatest elements of pirates is that it is almost like traveling through an animated film.

          Then they add very realistic Johnny Depp figured and it is horrible and jarring.

          Sure, people love those figures because they do look like Depp. They would be great in The Great Movie Ride. They are nice figures… But not for Pirates!

          It would be like going back to say Snow White and adding an eight dwarf played by a human.

          • Great thoughts, Teevtee. You are right, Depp’s realistic figure clashes with the rest of the pirates. Even his movements are far more sophisticated. It reminds me of the audio-animatronic Ellen in the dinosaur part of “Universe of Energy.” She just doesn’t go with the illusion of the ancient world the Imagineers strove to create.

          • Coming soon… Ellen invades Pirates.

            Watch Ellen and Johnny goof around and dance while some sort fo Pirate attack unfolds in the background.

          • An eighth dwarf played by a human… wasn’t that the plot to a Will Ferrel movie?

  2. I think the greatest harm that has happened to the WDW Pirate’s is the division of the queue and not allowing guests to use/experience both sides freely.

    I don’t remember the WDW ride without the “pooped” pirate wondering about the X on the map and it marking the spot for treasure but I do remember the pirates chasing women (who were not holding anything). As a kid maybe I didn’t register their intent but I remember the change and not liking it as much. It sounds like the changes were more severe at DL and it probably hurt more as that was the original.

    Now with the films being included I am torn, I love the movies so when Jack came into the ride I was fine with it (except for the end scene). Now the “dead men tell no tales” skull is gone and I am extremely disappointed by that removal. I LOVED that talking skull. I’m ok with the “waterfall” projection and the mermaids but that removal really took the ride down a notch for me. It now isn’t my hands down favorite ride, its now tied with Haunted Mansion as my favorite.

    Side note: I’m surprised the updating of the hitchhiking ghosts or the other changes to HM didn’t get an honorable mention over the weekend. Seems like that is a controversial move making them digital instead of original. I love the old effect but I think the new one fits just as well and makes it a little more playful.

    • The Mansion changes were something we considered but for the most part they were fairly well received.

      It’s an example of updating an attraction without fundamentally changing it.

      • Seeing DL Pirates last year for the first time in a very very long time made me miss the skull that much more. The Paris Pirates is great too. The missus and I got to ride that back in ’10 and I remember it feeling like WDW Pirates before the films got incorporated.

        The skull and the parrot “barker” out front are something I’ll miss forever.

        • I really don’t understand why they removed the parrot. I guess it did not directly fit the movie theme? Too goofy?

          I don’t know, it’s that type of thing that really bugs me. It was a wonderful detail and they lessened the experience by removing it for just no reason whatsoever.

    • Basically, the movies HAD to be included once the first movie became as popular as it did. There’d have been a whole generation of kids riding it and being confused.

      HOWEVER, they did an incredibly ham-fisted job with the additions. They went, if you’ll pardon the expression, way overboard. Every other word in the script is now “Captain Jack Sparrow.” They should have only added one or two figures from the movies, and they should have been done in an artistic style that matched or coordinated with the existing figures in the attraction. They stick out like sore thumbs, and it’s painfully obvious they’re recent additions instead of an integral part of the experience.

      • I’m not so sure that they HAD to add the movies into the ride.

        I understand why they wanted to but source material often differs from movies based on it.

        Kids would have had fun exploring a pirate world sans Capt. Jack just as we did.

  3. The Pirates/Food thing happened around the same time when the parks were first developing a real fanbase online. I remember having HUGE thread/arguments about it on AOL. Most people ripping Disney, some people defending it.

    What is very interesting is how many items on this list (and a lot of the near misses as well) happened within a very brief timespan. Pirates, Toad, Horizons, World of Motion, Subs, Skyway, McDonald’s, giant icons, DCA announcement, Disneyland New Tomorrowland, and replacing Figment were all in like a 5-6 year span — which happened to coincide with the explosion of the internet.

    This was the tail end of the 90s, which was supposed to be Eisner’s vaunted Disney Decade. Instead things went drastically off track — at least as far as the fans were concerned, and really was the beginning of Eisner’s star losing its luster (he could previously do no wrong). A lot of these things valued slick marketing or PC correctness over quality. As Disney was launching itself into one of the best “corporations” out there, its creative, risk-taking roots started taking a back seat.

    It’s very hard to argue against any of the items on this list. They probably are the top controversies. The one distinction I would make is that just because something is a controversy doesn’t mean Disney was in the wrong. For example, I personally enjoyed the McDonald’s fries (just as I enjoy Starbucks today). In retrospect that controversy seems like a lot of hullabaloo over nothing. I was never Pleasure Island’s biggest fan, so its closure never bothered me the way it bothered others. And I even think Winnie the Pooh is a worthy Fantasyland attraction — just wish it hadn’t stepped on Toad in the process.

    The only item that I think might be a bigger deal than some of these is FastPass+ and the magic bands. That one seems to be non-stop uproar. It might be worthy of booting McDonald’s from the list, but really, I can’t complain. Excellent series!

    • In going over the list I agree Shane that the 90’s was a very rough patch for the parks. Odd since so many were designed and built then but they were all cut short on budgets and other issues.

      This was in fact when Frank Wells died and Eisner turned against the parks.

      But most of the park woes can be traced directly back to the failure of Euro Disney and the massive waves it created.

      In fact I foolishly realize that we failed to actually include Euro Disney! Though it was mentioned repeatedly it certainly deserves to be very very very high on the list.

      Let’s call the list the biggest AMERICAN park controversies then.

  4. I still love PoTC at Disney World, but I would love to have ridden this ride back before all the changes. I remember once riding it before all the film stuff was added (back in the early 2000’s) but I never got to enjoy it before then, and I barely remember it. I was fairly young.

    This was a great series of posts. I hope you guys will continue to write more throughout the rest of the year.

    • Thanks Walter…

      We are always adding to the blog though not on any specific schedule… so keep checking back and read our past stuff… lots of fun stuff there.

      As an aside if you have not yet had the chance try and get to Disneyland. Their version of Pirates is much longer and more elaborate than the WDW version… in fact it is really what I consider to be THE version of the ride… sort of the only one that counts.

      There is a very interesting history as to not only why the Disneyland version is much longer but also why the WDW version is somewhat trunkated.

    • One of my strongest memories of my first childhood WDW trip in 1982 was our boat stopping under the portcullis for what seemed like forever. I was sure it was going to come crashing down on our boat and impale us! The whole ride was a much scarier experience.

      (They don’t even HAVE a portcullis anymore!)

      • Fair enough Melissa but I bet your age then and now has as much to do with your memory of being scared as the actual attraction has.

  5. Great job, really wasn’t expecting this at number 1, but in a lot of ways, it was the right choice.
    Quick question, if you ever do the WDW48 again, will FassPass+ be an issue?

    • I’m surprised that a lot of people seem surprised that this pulled in at #1. Of all the things on the list this made the biggest waves in terms of the mainstream press, the general public and die hard fans. Sure fans were upset when Figment was removed or Horizons was closed but the general public never heard of it or cared. Yes, DCA and Disney’s America both had a lot of press but they were new parks that in some ways did not affect existing attractions… but Pirates created a storm of bad PR for Disney and upset many, many fans.

      To me it is #1 because as I said Pirates is THE theme park attraction that set the bar and created everything else that followed…

      Anyway… to answer your question… yes, FP+ is an issue and yes we have discussed ways to make it work for a WDW48 type of run… of course whether it helps or makes it flat impossible is up for debate.

    • Glad you have enjoyed it Ben… There is a big long history of the parks and learning about them really is interesting.

  6. POTC has always been my favorite queue in WDW. Love the damp, dimly-lit corridors with cannon-balls everywhere. I REALLY loved it as a kid.

    I hate the way political correctness has swung the pendulum TOO FAR in the opposite direction in our society. This is not a Disney problem so much as it is a modern America problem. But, as far as the POTC changes go, this has never really bothered me. I supposed that is because I still deem the ride as amazing and so since the ride hasn’t suffured from the changes (IMO) I don’t mind them.

    • It is still a great ride Ben but you have to place yourself in the position of someone who grew up with the original and suddenly had that reipped away. The entire tone of the ride is different now. Sure, it is still a boat ride through spooky caverns but or a larger scale the entire plot and mood is different and it is now a movie tie in to boot.

      Look at the crazy backlash Lucas got after he screwed up I mean altered Star Wars… same thing here.

      • Yeah, I understand why others have issue with the changes. I was just saying in my opinion the changes haven’t brought the quality of the ride down. Is the ride plot/feel different? Yes. But in my book it was a 10.0 before and it’s still a 10.0 now. Those points are amassed differently, but same score.

        As for Lucas, HAN SHOT FIRST!

  7. Very interesting commentary, and well worth the wait.

    I really have to wonder at the changes brought about over the years. In Disney World’s early years, there was little concern of guests being overly scared or offended by Pirates, Mr. Toad, or Snow White. It seems that the Magic Kingdom has started removing anything ominous. Would you say the Haunted Mansion has been getting softened up as well? The pop-up ghosts have decreased in number, and the “hitch-hiking ghosts” segment has become less creepy, more zany. However, the feeling of having “braved” these attractions sticks in the mind of people, especially younger guests.

    Two parting thoughts– I can’t remember what the WDW Pirates ride used to empty into. It wasn’t always a huge gift shop, was it? Did you just stroll back out to the main walkway? And I wanted to say that at least they have not tried to add a “pre-show movie” (like with Test Track or Dinosaur) to this ride. The queue IS the pre-show. You just jump in and experience it.

    • As far as I recall Melanie WDW Pirates has always exited into the plaza as it does now… there may have been a time when that plaza sold less merchadise and there certainly was a time when the merchandise was more unique. However I do not think it every bypassed it completely.

    • ” It seems that the Magic Kingdom has started removing anything ominous.”

      Well… they still have that nightmarish alien encounter over in Tomorrowland. Not too many people would go so far as to define Stitch’s Great Escape as “ominous”, per se, but it certainly suggests calamity or great harm (but mostly unpleasantness).

      • I just remembered– we also lost the wonderful ominous opening to “Rio Del Tiempo.” If you remember the original version, you cruised slowly past the temple in the cool darkness, then around the bend and into the misty corridor. You approached a statue that eerily came to life and spoke, and then went on to view surreal Mexican dancers acting out ancient myths. That talking statue used to freak me out, but I still loved it. I heard the old music soundtrack to that part of the ride the other day and it all came back so vividly. Changing it to the new “Donald” version took something away from the ride, for me. It would be like filling the sinking temple part of the Jungle Cruise with comical animals and a happy soundtrack, so the tigers and snakes wouldn’t scare anyone.

        • Took something away?!? It massively alters everything about the ride!

          And I used to have a crush of than Mexican girl dancer!

          • good grief. Somehow I had blocked out the memory of your crush on the Mexican dancer girls. You gushed about it during the entire Mexico ride during WDW47. I see THAT didn’t make it into the video.

          • Dude she was so hot. Fortunately there is a photo if her in the EPCOT book so I can relive that crush forever.

          • I always liked that blonde French woman having dinner in the windy Paris restaurant in Impressions de France.

    • Also, that silly cartoon graveyard queue kind of negates the whole “foreboding” part of entering the Mansion.

  8. I think the biggest change for me is the “anti-villain” shift, which has been park wide. Villains are being watered down all over. They have fan clubs, show up at dance parties. I can’t think of an attraction left that features a truly scary bad guy/girl. The original pirates were scary bad guys, and there was a sense of foreboding from the very beginning of the ride, it got flat out scary at some parts, and relief at the end when you escaped. Now it’s more “let’s hang out with these fun pirates”. There is no light without dark, but apparently we can’t “handle” the dark anymore.

    • We hit the maximum level of scares with the original Alient Encounter… and attraction that actually truly tried to scare guests… and did!

      Reaction was negative as many guests had no clue what they were getting into and complained after the kids were terrified. Disney really follows what guests say… which I htink it s huge mistake. Companies need to lead and give customers the best they can. When you follow focus groups and surveys you are bound to deliver a watered down product that only satisfies the lowest common demononator and that is what we are seeing with the parks today.

      • Agreed that Alien Encounter WAS truly scary. When the alien breathed down the back of your neck was terrifying to the younger me. Now I would love it and I’m bummed that it isn’t around any more. I never complained though.

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