Disney has announced an addition to the storyline of the classic attraction the Jungle Cruise. These changes will replace the negative depictions of indigenous people in the ride which according to Disney aims “to reflect and value the diversity of the world around us.” Disneyland has soft opened the Jungle Cruise and we have first look photos below!
Imagineers are reimagining part of the story to focus on that of a skipper’s Jungle Cruise boat trip gone wrong with boat wreckage and featuring the first animatronic skipper ever inside the attraction. The classic Jungle Cruise jokes will remain! This refurbishment is happening in stages at Walt Disney World while the ride remains open. At Disneyland the ride has been closed, but will reopen this summer – date below.
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Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise has Reopened With Soft Openings
Though the attraction is officially scheduled to reopen on July 16, Disneyland had a soft opening of the newly renovated Jungle Cruise attraction this week.
Here are some photos that Disney provided of the changes to the attraction.
The work on the new attraction is still ongoing.
Here’s a look at photos from the new rhino scene that was just installed in Walt Disney World. This same scene will also be coming to Disneyland.
Jungle Cruise’s New Story Update
Imagineer, and former Jungle Cruise skipper, Kevin Lively shared an update to the classic Jungle Cruise on the Disney Parks Blog. The Jungle Cruise will get a story update that for the first time ever will feature a skipper show figure inside the attraction and not just as your river tour guide! Guests will follow the story of a skipper’s boat with an adventure gone wrong resulting in a boat crash with chimps boarding the leftover wreckage of their boat and the travelers on the boat chased up a tree by a local rhino. Guests will also see the return of boats that used to travel the river such as the Mekong Maiden and the Kwango Kate.
Disney also shared concept art showing some of the changes including updates to this classic rhino scene.
Guests will also sail by their wrecked Jungle Cruise boat which has now been taken over by chimps:
New Ride Ending
The new ending of the Jungle Cruise will now feature Trader Sam’s new “Lost & Found Location” turned into a… gift shop! According to the Disney Parks Blog, all the best rides end with a gift shop, right?
This ride ending replaces the current Trader Sam animatronic at Walt Disney World and will also be coming to Disneyland!
New Jungle Cruise Characters
Disney is expanding the attraction’s backstory centering around Alberta Falls, the granddaughter of Dr. Albert Falls, the original proprietor of the Jungle Navigation Company Ltd. The Disney Parks Blog shared this clip of an “interview” with Alberta Falls so guests can get a glimpse of this new character’s personality:
This most recent update Disney shared in March regarding the Jungle Cruise changes mentioned we will get details ‘later this year’ about the renovation which gives us a vague idea of when we might expect the ride changes.
Disney Imagineers Describe Upcoming Changes
Imagineers will invite current Jungle Cruise skippers at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom to a Jungle Navigation Company Roll Call where they will be among the first to hear more about the new updates to the ride!
You can also read quotes from Disney Imagineers on how this update is meaningful to them below:
Reading the below comments from Disney Imagineer Kim Irvine give great context for the changes to the Jungle Cruise. Did you know that when Disneyland first opened the attraction was not focused on humor? It wasn’t until Disney Imagineer Marc Davis designed the classic vignettes that are still in the ride today that the ride was changed.
The Disneyland attraction was changed again substantially when the Indiana Jones Adventure was added to the park in 1995. Read more about the history of the changing attraction in an interview from D23 with Imagineer Chris Beatty.
You can watch the full video released from the Disney Parks Blog with insights from Imagineer Kevin Lively and current Jungle Cruise skippers:
We will continue to share updates as we learn more about when the ride will close for this refurbishment along with any other news in relation to this update! It’s not altogether surprising to see Disney reimagine this portion of the ride after they announced the retheme of Splash Mountain to a Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Princess and the Frog ride. Either way, I cannot wait to see an animatronic skipper take center stage in this classic attraction.
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