Speaking of Thor: Ragnarok, in a previous edition of this column, we shared links to stories on The Los Angeles Times website about Disney influencing local elections in the city of Anaheim. Apparently, those stories rubbed Disney the wrong way, as it soon banned the L.A. Times from advance screenings of Thor: Ragnarok and other movies … only to wind up reversing said ban amid a growing backlash against the company’s decision.


The times they are a-changin’ in Adventureland at Walt Disney World. Over the summer came news that the ride scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where women were auctioned off as brides would, as Inside the Magic puts it, be “reworked into a new animatronic setpiece, one that empowers the Redhead character rather than subjugating her.” Now we have a precise timetable for when that will happen. On Monday, February 26, 2018, the pirate auctioneer will utter “Who wants the Redhead? for the last time, as the attraction enters a period of refurbishment and then reopens on Monday, March 19, 2018, with the newly liberated Redhead having undergone a makeover to become a pirate herself.

This change has already gone into effect at Disneyland Paris. You can see video of that below (and if you speak French, maybe you can understand what the animatronic figures are saying).

Personally, it took not riding the attraction for many years for me to see Pirates of the Caribbean with fresh eyes and realize what an oddity it is. I was on the boat as co-chaperone for a group of kids, and suddenly, it was like: wow, this is intense. The kids were crying. And who could blame them? Jack Sparrow appearances aside, the ride is very dark — both literally, in that it has extremely low lighting, and figuratively, in that the subject matter it depicts is also dark. There are sudden dips in the boat track, skulls and skeletons abound, pirates pillage and burn a town, men wallow drunk in the mud with pigs, and women are chased and sold into slavery.

It’s all in good fun, of course … until suddenly it’s not anymore. A lot of people are attached to the old version of Pirates, but in this one instance, at least, while traditionalists or nostalgists might balk, I don’t think Disney can be too begrudged for wanting to evolve with the times.

Having already waded into such perilous waters, we might as well talk about another controversial attraction change. It’s been a year since the U.S. Presidential election, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the Hall of Presidents to reopen with its new talking Trump figure. The latest rumor via WDW News Today is that it might not happen until next year.

Needless to say, fan reaction on social media has been mixed and not devoid of politicism. Inside the Magic has even shared suggestions for other patriotic attractions that could replace the Hall of Presidents so as to avoid having a ride that needs to shut down like this every time a new leader of the free world is elected.

Finally, if news of a live-action Star Wars TV show and a whole new Star Wars trilogy created by Rian Johnson has not already destroyed your brain, Jedi News has new information on the Star Wars: Galactic Nights event coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Newly confirmed as the event’s host: actor Warwick Davis, the star of Lucasfilm’s Willow, who got his start at the tender young age of 12 playing Wicket W. Warrick, the Ewok Leia first encountered in Return of the Jedi.

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