Attraction Spotlight – The Jungle Cruise

One of the iconic attractions at Disneyland (July 17, 1955), the Magic Kingdom (October 1, 1971), Tokyo Disneyland (April 15, 1983), and Hong Kong Disneyland (September 12, 2005 and named the Jungle River Cruise). The Jungle Cruise takes you down the rivers of Asia, Africa, and South America in replicas of the 1930s tramp steamers. While there is a script, the narration is typically all ad-lib and full of jokes given by the Cast Member piloting the boat. There are several audio-animatronic animals along the course of the cruise showing you scenes of headhunters, a destroyed camp, a pride of lions, elephants, tigers, and more. Disnyland Paris is the only Magic Kingdom like park open without a Jungle Cruise attraction, though Shanghai Disneyland opening in 2016 may or may not have one. For the Holidays starting in 2013, The Jungle Cruise turned into the Jingle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom and in Dinsneyland with renamed boats, decorations on the docks, and some holiday related jokes added into the mix.

The Ride:

In general the original Disneyland version has been left unchanged minus the spiel since day one, with only 4 scenes added and a route being redone for the Indiana Jones Attraction queue. The MAgic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland versions are nearly identical except the Magic Kingdom sails counter-clockwise and Tokyo Disneyland sails clockwise. Hong Kong Disneyland’s version is vastly different with a completely diffeent route which alo circumnavigates Tarzan’s Treehouse and has a grand finale featuring a battle between the angry fire and water gods. Hong Kong also has three diffenerent queues, one for the three languages available, so guests can experience it in their preferred language. The languages include Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. Each Park has it’s own set of boats with unique names that are not shared with the other parks.

Using the Magic Kingdom version, guests board their boat and disembark from the docks into the Amazon River passing butterflies with huge foot long wingspans all the way around Inspiration Falls which marks a transition into the Congo River. There the skipper tells you that a Pygmy Welcoming Party is waiting for you, however, as you go by the place is deserted. The skipper ponders what scared them off until you spy a giant python. You alo see gorillas raiding a camp marking a transition into the Nile River.

On the Nile, you pass some elephants, then onto an African Veldt where several local animals watch a pride of lions enjoy dinner. Continuing on you spy lost safari group chased up a pole by an angry rhino making sure they get the point.

You continue on to pass Shweitzer Falls which you will get told as you end up going between the falls and the rock face that you are seeing the Backside of Water. But as you continue on you find yourselves in a pool of hippos that the skipper has to scare off before they charge the boat. From there you will start hearing drums and spy an ambush waiting for you, as you escape down the river you transition onto the Mekong River.

On the Mekong you aproach ruins of a temple destroyed by an earthquake or some such disaster. There is some debating on going in and then you proceed on end where you’ll spy cobras, tigers, baboons. As you exit the ruis you’ll come to a pool of elephants enjoying a liesurely afternoon in the river. One of the elephants playfully acts like he will spray you down as you go by.

The trip wraps up as you wind back around to the docing area passing Chief Nami, the local head salesman. He offers you a special, 2 shrunken heads for 1 one of yours. From their you continue around to the docks to return to land concluding your cruise around the world.

Boats:

  • DisneyLand
  1. Amazon Belle
  2. Congo Queen
  3. Ganges Gal
  4. Hondo Hattie
  5. Irrawaddy Woman
  6. Kissimmee Kate
  7. Nile Princess (Wheelchair equipped)
  8. Orinoco Adventuress
  9. Suwannee Lady
  10. Ucayali Una (Wheelchair equipped)
  11. Yangtze Lotus
  12. Zambezi Miss
  13. Magdalena Maiden (Decommissioned in 1997)
  14. Mekong Maiden (Decommissioned in 1997)
  • Magic Kingdom
  1. Amazon Annie
  2. Bomokandi Bertha (Wheelchair lift equipped)
  3. Congo Connie
  4. Ganges Gertie
  5. Irrawaddy Irma
  6. Mongala Millie
  7. Nile Nellie
  8. Orinoco Ida
  9. Rutshuru Ruby
  10. Sankuru Sadie
  11. Senegal Sal
  12. Ucyali Lolly
  13. Volta Val
  14. Wamba Wanda (Wheelchair lift equipped)
  15. Zambezi Zelda
  16. Kwango Kate (Retired in 2000)
  • Tokyo Disneyland

  1. Amazon Annie
  2. Congo Connie
  3. Ganges Gertie
  4. Irrawaddy Irma
  5. Kwango Kate
  6. Nile Nelly
  7. Orinoco Ida
  8. Rutshuru Ruby
  9. Sankuru Sadie
  10. Senegal Sal
  11. Volta Val
  12. Wamba Wanda
  13. Zambezi Zelda

  • Hong Kong Disneyland
  1. Amazon Annie
  2. Congo Queen (Wheelchair accessible)
  3. Ganges Gal (Wheelchair accessible)
  4. Irrawaddy Irma
  5. Lijiang Lady
  6. Mekong Maiden
  7. Nile Nellie
  8. Yangzi Ying Ying
  9. Zambezi Zelda

Stats:

  • Duration – 7 to 8 minutes
  • Type – Boat Ride (yes they are real boats, not following an automated track)
  • Height Restriction – None
  • Thrill Level – Slow but humorous
  • FastPass+ Available at Magic Kingdom
  • Hong Kong Disneyland has a max of 8 boats active at a time.
  • Tokyo Disneyland has a max of 12 boats active at a time.
  • Magic Kingdom has a max of 10 boats active at a time.
  • Disneyland has a max of 8 boats active at a time.

Fun Facts:

  • In several variations of the story, it is said that Walt heard a mother telling their child that since they had been on the ride last time they were at the park, they did not need to ride it this time. This supposedly lead Walt into getting the Imagineers to work on a slew of attraction upgrades and improvements.
  • While the basic spiel is often the same, you are likely to get a different experience each time you ride due to the Cast Members ad-libbing. Some of them will about have you rolling overboard from laughter.
  • Probably one of the most well known jokes is about the Backside of Water.
  • At the Magic Kingdom, while they are not visible from the attraction you will see scenery and maniquins/audio animatronics from the Walt Disney World Trains as they pass by the attraction area. It’s really the only area with that added touch on the railway.
  • Jungle Cruise was parodied as Timon and Pumbaa’s Virtual Safari on The Lion King Special Edition.
  • The original idea was for it to be a serious documentary like spiel and no jokes were used until 1962. Now while the scenes are entertaining, it’s the comedic spiel with it’s intentionally bad puns that make the attraction so wonderful.
  • The downed aircraft visible near the hippo pool at the Magic Kingdom is actually the back half of the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior from The Great Movie Ride over in Hollywood Studios.

    This is a fun attraction that typically stays fairly busy. How much fun your trek is depends on the Cast Member Skipper. Some of them are amazing at this, so I’d definately recommend checking it out. Unless you’r going to that park multiple days I’d probably suggest using your FastPass+ on other things like pace Mountain and Splash Mountain though. Just make a beeline over early in the morning before the crowd picks up and you should be good to go and off on your jungle trek fairly quickly.


    Patrick

     

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