Purist fans of Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride are wishing they could force company officials to walk the plank for doing the unthinkable.
The classic attraction, which turns 40 next year, is getting an overhaul timed to coincide with the movie premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," the second in a trilogy of films starring Johnny Depp. When the popular ride reopens June 26, it will look a lot more like the movie series that it inspired, complete with swashbuckler Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Capt. Barbossa.
Internet message boards have been in mutiny for months, with fans debating whether Disney is taking corporate synergy and marketing too far — and that's saying a lot for a company that capitalizes on just about every character tie-in imaginable.
"If it ain't broke, why fix it?" grumbled fan Candy Richter, 39, who grew up riding Pirates of the Caribbean. "I think it's really lamentable when society feels that they need to go back and adjust their pop culture icons to fit whatever new spawns out.... I don't think people are going in Haunted Mansion and wondering where the Eddie Murphy character is."
In a break from its ride-opening tradition, Disney is not giving any sneak peeks, not even to park employees, until after the movie's celebrity-studded premiere at the Anaheim theme park Saturday. The movie is set for wide release July 7.
Disney is banking that fans, even the die-hards, will not be disappointed.