|The entrance sign for the Jungle Cruise.|
|Attraction type||Boat Ride|
|Opening date||October 1, 1971|
|Ride duration||9:05 minutes|
The Jungle Cruise is an attraction located in Adventureland
The genesis of what would eventually be known as the Jungle Cruise began in the 1950s with Walt Disney's True Life Adventures. Walt wanted to create an attraction for his Disneyland Park that would take inspiration from the films series, particularly from the "African Lion" installment. Disney enlisted the help of Harper Goff (who had worked on the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) to help design the attraction. Goff used not only the True Life series for inspiration, but also the 1951 film, The African Queen. That film featured the two main characters traveling down a river in Africa, aboard a steam boat. Goff took the movies basic premise, and expanded it to also include rivers in South America and Asia.
During the Jungle Cruise's early stages, Walt Disney had hoped to use real animals in the attraction. After researching the issue and consulting with animal specialists however, it was decided that live animals would not be feasible for a number of reasons. For starters, Disney decided that the animals would be too unpredictable to center a scripted show around, and that the passing guests would agitate the animals. Furthermore, it would cost Disney a lot of money, land, and man power to take care of the animals. After weighing these issues Walt decided to use artificial (Audio Animatronic) animals instead of real ones. The Audio Animatronic animals used in the attraction were sculpted by Chris Mueller and built at the Disney Studio in Burbank (although some of the animals were built on site). Engineer Bob Mattey was responsible for the effects that made the animals move.
In order to landscape the Jungle Cruise, Disney turned to Bill Evans who was in charge of gardening all of Disneyland. Evans used foliage from nurseries all over California, as well as displaced vegetation from the construction of the Santa Ana Freeway for the ride.
The Jungle Cruise opened with the rest of Disneyland on July 17, 1955 to rave reviews. Although the attraction was popular, one day Walt heard a guest say (referring to the Jungle Cruise), "We don't need to go on that ride, we've already seen it.” Horrified, Disney realized that he needed to update Disneyland's attractions in order to keep the attention of return visitors. To accomplish this, Walt asked Marc Davis to refresh the Jungle Cruise. Davis changed the tone of the attraction, making it a humorous trip, as opposed to the danger filled adventure that it had previously been. To this end, Davis created the Indian Elephant Pool scene (which opened in 1962) as well as the African Veldt and Lost Safari scenes (which opened in 1964). At this time, the script for the Jungle Cruise was rewritten, giving it a much lighter (and pun dependent) narration.
Due to its popularity in Disneyland, the Jungle Cruise was an obvious choice for inclusion in Walt Disney World's Adventureland. Under the watchful eye of Marc Davis, Disney World’s Jungle Cruise featured more "sight gags" and a longer ride time then its Disneyland counterpart. Scenes including: Inspiration Falls, the gorillas in the safari camp, pygmy war canoes, the Bengal Tiger, and the especially the Cambodian Ruins, gave Disney World's Jungle Cruise a unique feel. Construction began on the Jungle Cruise in the spring of 1969 and the attraction was ready for the Magic Kingdom's opening day on October 1, 1971.
Changes Since Opening Day
Since it opened the Jungle Cruise has experienced a series of major and minor changes. The changes to the attraction include:
- In 1971, bullfrogs which were located in the Congo scene were removed.
- In 1973, the Jungle Cruise's queue was expanded, and access to the queue structure’s second floor was removed.
- In 1991, the Jungle Cruise's queue was updated. An office was added to the line, as were many artifacts and props. Background music and a radio show hosted by Albert AWOL (the voice of the jungle) were added to the queue at this time.
- Also in 1991, the shack that is located across from the loading dock was covered with supplies and safari equipment.
- In 1994, the back half of an airplane was added to the Congo scene.
- In 1996, women began being cast as skippers on the Jungle Cruise. From 1971-1995 men were exclusively Jungle Cruise skippers (except for 1975-1976)
- Also in 1996, the black porters who (along with a white hunter) had been run up a pole by a rhinoceros, were changed to Caucasians
- In 1999, Jungle Cruise skippers stopped carrying guns (which they had used to shoot at hippos), however the guns have since returned.
- In 2000, much of the canopy in the Amazon scene was removed as was the fog effect.
- Also in 2000, the boats were replaced with more modern vessels. The new boats looked essentially identical to the old ones, although the color scheme changed and props were added to the boat.
- The Jungle Cruise's original entrance sign was removed in 1991. The current entrance sign was added in 2000 as part of the FastPass instillation refurbishment.
The queue for the Jungle Cruse takes place in the office of the fictional Jungle Navigation Co. According to a sign in the queue, the company takes guests on riverboats which depart from the Adventureland Dock and take guests to the Zambezi River, Irrawaddy River, Schweitzer Falls and the Congo River. According to the backstory, the Adventureland Dock is itself located on the Amazon River. The company appears to be run by British colonialists.
While waiting in the queue, guests hear Albert AWOL "the voice of the jungle".
These transmissions can be heard over the speakers in the queue line.
"Jungle Cruise bay this is Branco Beauty. We have run aground just south of the house. All hands are fine, we will wait till the tides change. Over."
"[Laughter] This is Jack. Hey look, you know that shipment of tea? We ran into a whole pool of hippos and upset the boat. We're doing fine but those hippos got the last of the Earl Gray. [Laughter] Looks like Mrs. Habberson's gonna be disappointed."
Transmission from Sir Reginald, who was waiting for Jack's shipment.
"Hello? Colonel are you there? Hello?"
"Yes Sir Reginald."
"Good, jolly good. I'm trying to find out about that shipment. They called me from the home office, said the supplies would be delayed by a full month, due to problems with the jungle shipping company."
Transmission from Trader Dan, but will return to Sir Reginald afterwords.
"This is Trader Dan reporting attacking [static]. We just made it through but, but it was close. They're, they're armed with arrows, poison darts, repeat, hostile [static] are attacking. Stay clear of the river north of [static]."
Back to Sir Reginald.
"Now where was I? Oh yes, the shipment! We still require the Earl Grey tea, quinine, mosquito netting and piano wire."
"I quite understand sir, I'll see what we can do."
"Good, jolly good. Thank you Colonel, cheerio!"
"Jungle Cruise skippers this is Alligator Al. With all this rain Schweitzer falls is running at about a hundred-fifty thousand gallons per hour. Current's shifted and is real strong here, if you have to come this way lower the tag in at about eight degrees south. Otherwise you're gonna get real damp. Over."
"This is Tropical Imports to all customers. The mail packet has arrived, along with the new shipment of canned goods, linens, ship's canvas and gunpowder. Mail and special orders are ready for pickup, again this it Tropical Imports announcing that this week's shipment has arrived. Feel free to tie up at the dock. Over."
"Attention all boats on the Irrawaddy near Mandalay. This is the colonial portmaster. There have been reports of some disturbances in your area, please travel with caution."
"Recovery, recovery this is Macon Maiden. Come in please."
"I hear you Jack."
"Did Joss load already?"
"Good... I'm heading down river to the outpost, wanna join me for a game of rummy?"
"Wouldn't miss it."
"See ya there. Oh, and watch out for those crocs as you pass Trader Sams. Hear they been biting hard."
"You got it - recovery, out."
"Macon Maiden, out."
The Jungle Cruise features a live skipper and thus the script for the attraction is often unique. The description below does not give the skipper's dialogue; it instead focuses on the sights that guests see while on the attraction. For a list of jokes that the skippers on the Jungle Cruise often use see: List of Jungle Cruise Jokes
The Jungle Cruise begins with guests exiting the loading dock and entering the Amazon River. Here, guests see giant butterflies, remnants of a safari, and Inspiration Falls. After traveling down the Amazon, guests transition to the Congo River. Here, the first thing guests see is the sight of pygmy war canoes on a nearby beach. Although the boats are empty, the sound of tribal drums beating in the distance can be heard as the boat continues on. After turning a corner, guests come face to face with a yellow and brown python, before the skipper decides to swing by camp to pick up supplies. When guests arrive at the camp however, it seems gorillas have overrun the camp. Near the bank of the water, a jeep is flipped over and cans and boxes are scattered all along the beach. Inside the tent, a group of gorillas are seen "playing" with various belongings. The father ape tries to put on a small helmet, as the mother ape sits nearby holding a baby. Also in the tent, two young gorillas are shown holding guns, which they are “innocently” pointing towards the boats.
As the boat travels on pass the camp, guests enter the Nile River. Here, they pass by African elephants who "trumpet" as the boat passes by. Further on, guests see gnus, giraffes, zebras, impala, and vultures in the distance. The boat also passes by lion’s den, where a pack of lions is shown eating a zebra.
After taking a sharp turn past the lion’s den, guests see the "trapped safari scene". Here, four men on safari have been run up a pole by a large rhinoceros. Past the safari, guests come across a beach which features two large crocodiles (named Old Smiley and Ginger) who hiss as guests pass by. Past the crocodiles and straight ahead, guests see the beautiful Scenic Falls. Passing the falls, the boat then takes another sharp turn, before it enters the hippo pool. Here (with the sound of crickets in the background) guests navigate past some hippopotamuses, which pop out of the water on either side of the boat. Although the hippo’s initially pose a threat to guests, the skipper fires a warning shot which keeps the hippos at bay. In the hippo pool scene, guests can also see the back half of an airplane (the front half of the plane is used in the Great Movie Ride.
Just past the hippo pool, guests come upon the headhunter village. Here, the sound of the native drums can once again be heard in the distance. Along a nearby beach, a canoe full of skulls can be seen in front a small hut, which houses three warriors jumping around with their spears. Nearby, a smaller hut houses three drummers who have seemingly been making the beats that guests have heard in the background. After surviving the village, the boat is attacked by Zulu warriors. Seven men hide in the bushes along the shore with their spears raised. Although the sound of whizzing spears can be heard overhead, guests survive the attack, and soon find themselves passing under Schweitzer Falls. The Falls mark the transition between the Nile and Mekong (formally called the Irrawaddy) Rivers.
As the boat enters the Mekong River, guests find themselves heading into ancient ruins. On either side of the boat, crocodiles watch closely as the riders pass by. As guests enter a temple, the boats pass by a statue of the Hindu God Vishnu. Inside the crumbling temple, relics depicting scenes of Hindu mythology surround guests, and for a brief moment the boat passes by a tiger who growls menacingly. Just pass the tiger, a python stares intently at the boat as it passes by. Traveling deeper into the ruins, guests hear the soft sound of xylophones in the background. Two pythons sway to the music, as the boat passes a mound of treasure, as well as giant spiders (similar to the ones that were formally found in the Haunted Mansion).
After exiting the temple, guests find themselves in the Elephant Bathing Pool. While elephants squirt water around them, the boat narrowly misses getting sprayed. Just pass the elephant bathing pool; guests pass Trader Sam, who sells shrunken heads. The skipper usually comments that Sam is willing to "trade two of your heads for one of his". After passing Sam, guests arrive back at the dock and unload.
Fun Facts and Trivia
- The temple scene is not found in the Disneyland version of the Jungle Cruise.
- The Jungle Cruise has the lowest elevation of any attraction in the Magic Kingdom.
- Marc Davis' original plans for the Jungle Cruise expansion called for a scene in which a gorilla hit crocodile in the head.
- Another planned scene (designed by Marc Davis) that was never used would have featured a baboon family standing on a rock formation.
- The sound of bullfrogs can be heard while guests travel the Amazon. This is because the attraction originally called for Audio Animatronic frogs in this location.
- Walt Disney originally wanted to use the squid from the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the Jungle Cruise.
- Chris Mueller sculpted the Audio Animatronic animals found on the Jungle Cruise, and Bob Mattey created the effects that allowed the animals to move.
- The hippo pool is the deepest part of the river that the Jungle Cruise takes place on.
- A cargo truck appeared outside the Jungle Cruse form 1994-2000.
- The python in the Congo scene has changed colors many times since 1971.
Jungle Cruise Boat Names
Every boat on the Jungle Cruise has an individual name. They are:
*Sankuru Sadie is the only boat to have ever sunk in the Magic Kingdom. It sank in 2004, but returned to service.
* Kwango Kate was retired in 2000.