The Jungle Cruise is an attraction at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, and other Disney theme parks around the world. It first opened at Disneyland in 1955 and was one of the original attractions at the park. There is a rich Jungle Cruise history that we’ll be discussing and covering together. Let’s begin, shall we?
The idea for the Jungle Cruise was inspired by Walt Disney’s own travels to South America and Africa, where he went on several jungle expeditions. He wanted to recreate the excitement and adventure of those trips in a theme park attraction. The Jungle Cruise was designed to be a boat ride that would take guests through a jungle setting, with animatronic animals and humorous commentary from a tour guide.
When was the Jungle Cruise Originally Built?
The Jungle Cruise attraction was first built at Disneyland in California, and it opened on July 17, 1955. It was one of the original attractions at the park and has since become a classic Disney ride. The attraction was later replicated at other Disney theme parks around the world, including Walt Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland. While the specific dates of the opening of the Jungle Cruise attractions at these parks vary, they all follow the same basic concept of taking guests on a boat ride through a jungle setting with animatronic animals and humorous commentary from a tour guide. The Jungle Cruise history is a rich one to be sure.
The original Jungle Cruise at Disneyland featured a more realistic, serious tone, with live animals and a lack of jokes. However, over time, the ride evolved to include more comedic elements and animatronics. The tour guides began delivering humorous commentary, and the animals became more cartoon-like.
The Jungle Cruise is a boat ride attraction that takes guests on a journey through a jungle setting. Here is a general overview of how the ride works:
- Boarding: Guests enter the Jungle Cruise attraction and wait in a themed queue area. When it’s their turn, they board a boat that holds up to 25 passengers.
- Departure: The boat leaves the loading dock and enters a canal filled with green-dyed water. The boat follows a track that guides it through a series of jungle scenes, each featuring animatronic animals and special effects.
- Tour guide commentary: A skipper, or tour guide, delivers humorous commentary throughout the ride, pointing out different sights and making jokes. The skipper’s script is pre-written, but they are encouraged to add their own personality and jokes.
- Jungle scenes: The boat passes through a series of jungle scenes, such as a temple ruin, a hippopotamus pool, and a native village. Each scene is designed to be immersive and full of detail, with animatronic animals and special effects like fire, waterfalls, and mist.
- Finale: The boat returns to the loading dock after completing the ride. At Disneyland, the finale features a waterfall that opens up to reveal a hidden path that leads to the exit.
There are many interesting and fun secrets associated with the Jungle Cruise history and in the ride. Here are a few:
- The plants and trees along the ride are actually a mix of real and artificial plants. The real plants are chosen for their tropical appearance, but the artificial plants are used to create a consistent look year-round.
- The water in the Jungle Cruise is dyed green to hide the tracks that guide the boats along the route. The green color also helps to create a murky, jungle-like atmosphere.
- The ride’s skipper, or tour guide, has a script of jokes and commentary to deliver during the ride. However, each skipper is encouraged to personalize their presentation and add their own jokes and humor.
- There are many hidden details and Easter eggs throughout the ride. For example, there is a hidden Mickey Mouse made out of coconuts near the end of the ride.
- Some of the animatronic animals on the ride have hidden features. For example, the rhinoceros has a hidden switch that allows the skipper to make it charge at the boat.
- The boats on the Jungle Cruise have names, such as Amazon Belle, Congo Queen, and Nile Princess, and each name has a unique backstory.
- The Jungle Cruise ride has a secret “backstage” area where boats are repaired and maintained. This area is hidden behind a waterfall and is not visible to guests.
During the Christmas season, Disneyland and Walt Disney World transform the ride into the “Jingle Cruise.” The ride gets a holiday makeover, with the addition of Christmas decorations and themed jokes from the skipper.
Here are some of the changes you can expect to see on the Jingle Cruise:
- Decorations: The ride’s queue area and boats are decorated with festive garlands, wreaths, and holiday lights. There are also themed props and decorations throughout the ride, such as presents and Christmas trees.
- Themed jokes: The skipper’s script is updated to include jokes and puns related to the holidays. For example, the skipper might joke about a “fruitcake disaster” or point out a “gift-wrapped” crocodile.
- Holiday-themed animatronics: Some of the ride’s animatronic animals are given holiday-themed accessories, such as Santa hats or reindeer antlers.
- Special music: The ride’s soundtrack is updated to include holiday-themed music, such as Christmas carols and festive instrumental versions of Disney songs.
Overall, the Jingle Cruise is a fun and festive way to experience the classic Jungle Cruise ride during the holiday season. The holiday version of the ride typically runs from November through early January.
In 2019, Disney released a film based on the Jungle Cruise attraction, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt. The film is a fictionalized adventure story that draws inspiration from the ride’s setting and characters. It was a box office success and has led to renewed interest in the Jungle Cruise attraction.
In 2021, the Jungle Cruise attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World underwent significant changes to remove cultural stereotypes and update the ride’s narrative to be more inclusive. The changes included replacing scenes featuring indigenous people depicted in a stereotypical and offensive manner, and adding new scenes with updated animatronics and storytelling.
This famous ride is so beloved among Disney fans. Next time you’re in Adventureland, hop aboard! You won’t be disappointed. We hope you remember the Jungle Cruise history while riding.