So… the reaction thus far to the “refurbished” scene for Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has been… mixed.
While I’m unsure specifically why many longtime Disney Parks fans have not taken kindly to “Redd” thus far, I have a suspicion that many cite its lack of reverence (or reference) to the original as the culprit.

Could elements of the original dialogue have been used in the new scene?  Yes.

Could Imagineering have relied on double entendre to explain away some of the more generally offensive content?  Yes.

But let’s not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good here.
I’d like to commend Disney for taking the initiative in recognizing the fact that although the scene (as it was previously depicted) was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it presented a problem in this #metoo moment.
Would you rather have public opinion eventually reach a crescendo where, when forced, a change of this scene seemed forced and ill-timed?  I’d rather Disney do this of their own accord and set their own terms while, at the same time, seem both sensitive to and reactive toward cultural forces outside their walls.

To that you might be thinking… aren’t we just replacing sexism and human trafficking for alcoholism and gun violence?

Again, yes... but
i’d make the leap in assuming the Disney company prefers one set over the other.

So now we find ourselves in a situation where some Disney Parks fans feel burned by the transition.  Is it worth spurning or isolating that group while looking to get ahead of the “political correctness” curve?

While I assume the Disney company may feel satisfied that its proactively managing the brand, i’d have to think there is some other motive.

My best guess?  Merchandising.

Now that Pirates of the Caribbean features “Redd,” they have a reddy-made (get it?) replacement for the “We wants the redhead!” merchandise.  For those that have visited the attraction gift shop / exit, you might remember seeing a t-shirt or a small presence tucked away in the corner.  But overall, the fan community zeitgeist outweighs the amount of attention or effort the Disney company had ever put into “We wants the redhead.”
Was this because Disney was already sensitive to the issues mentioned above?  We may never know… but nonetheless, an opportunity arises with this change.

Previously, Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise was predominantly marketed and sold to young boys.  As an inclusive step, the introduction of “Redd” makes a visit to the Pirates League with your daughter (or niece, etc.) more likely.  It makes it more likely that your young lady would want a hook hand, an eyepatch or a Pirates of the Caribbean t-shirt.
Why pass up the opportunity to sell this attraction to 100% of your guests?

Also as a father to a young daughter, I am appreciative of this change because it takes a scenario where a woman makes the best of a grim situation… and flips it on its head.  “Redd” now has agency.  She has power, influence and a voice.  I hope my daughter is never in a situation where she does not have these things.  I also hope I do well enough to teach her that a life of piracy is not a good choice.

In conclusion, I see two major benefits and one major obstacle for Disney after making this change:

The good?  More potential profit and a more inclusive Pirates experience.
The bad? Some sour Disney Parks fans.

Ask yourself this then…
If you’ve clicked on and read this article, or if you regularly visit the Disney parks and this change to Pirates of the Caribbean has made you salty- will you really change your behaviors or attitudes (generally) because of the change?  Doesn’t Disney already have your money?
If you honestly answered yes to the first question above… I appreciate your iron will.  However, please don’t ruin the experience for those that have embraced this change.  Do your best to vote with your wallet and your feet, because we all know that Disney is keeping score.

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