Johnny Depp needs some public image rehabilitation, and badly. When it came out last year that he had physically abused former spouse Amber Heard, a dark and sickly pallor was cast over the heretofore beloved actor’s profile. It isn’t helping that he hasn’t been in a good movie since 2011 (Rango, though director Gore Verbinski’s follow-up The Lone Ranger has its supporters), and hasn’t been in a really profitable one since 2014’s Into the Woods. The guy will have to save a little face if he wants to secure his future in this business, and what better way to do that than to play to the only demographic unaware of his revolting personal life: the youth!

Variety reports that Depp made a surprise appearance at Anaheim’s Disneyland amusement park on Wednesday evening in character as boozy seafarer Captain Jack Sparrow, much to the delight of the innocent children and what I imagine must have been at least mild discomfort from their parents. Popping up on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride that spawned his most successful franchise — a franchise that just so happens to be unveiling its latest chapter next month, adding a guerrilla-marketing angle to this stunt — he tossed off a few of the most beloved lines from the series of adventure films.

Reports indicate that brought a bit more life to queries about where the rum has gone than the usual animatronic likeness of Depp that does the bit, to which I will add that nothing sounds more frightening than Robo-Depp.

The question of whether the Pirates franchise can still work is very much up in the air. Between a sullied Depp, main characters out of the equation and the long wait time since the last installment, this has turned into something of a gamble.

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