Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go -- Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland is a fantastic amusement park ride. After schlepping around Disneyland with the sun beating down on you, feet blistered and sore, senses dulled from the saccharine sweetness of Disney magic, there’s nothing like a 15-minute sit in a bobbing boat, surrounded by cool air and scenes of pirate-y mischief. Fires burn, good men are tortured, and drunkards nap with adorable piggies. Hey, they’re pirates and no one is asking them to be saints. Pirates gonna pirate. But part of this ride is out-of-order: the bride-selling scenes.
The first features a line of captive women -- some elderly, some buck-toothed, most clad in white, all weeping -- tied together at the waist with a thick rope in a sad line. A banner above them proclaims “AUCTION - Take a Wench for a Bride.”
The weeping women are background decoration, while the true focus of the scene lands on two other women -- first a lady in red who stands proudly at the head of the roped line some distance away from her unhappy peers. She’s heavily made up and her pert bosom threatens to spill out of her top. She lifts her skirts with one hand to show off her legs, her other hand tangled in her lovely auburn locks. Her face is peaceful, even serene. Of course, she’s not the one for sale at the moment.
The woman on the auction block is dressed modestly and holds herself high with a sweet smile on her face. She’s also unapologetically fat -- well proportioned and lovely, but fat. She looks relaxed and proud, even as the auctioneer asks, "What be I offered for this winsome wench? Stout hearted and corn-fed she be." A drunken pirate cries, "Are ya selling her by the pound?" He’s ignored while the auctioneer instructs her, "Shift yer cargo, dearie, show 'em your larboard side." She complies and turns with the same docile smile.
(Fun fact: This “wench” has a name -- Tiny.)