Disney’s Jungle Cruise Ride Getting Updates and Enhancements

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Changes are coming to Disneyland and Disney World again, in the form of the Jungle Cruise ride. Given that the ride has been criticized for being racially and culturally insensitive, it makes a lot of sense that updates are coming. And personally, I’m very glad they are. Prepare to set sail once more and experience new and exciting river adventures at Disney’s Jungle Cruise ride. Here are the details we know so far…

Jungle Cruise Concept Art
Jungle Cruise Concept Art [Source: Disney Parks Blog]

Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom Park

Jungle Cruise is famous for its pun-filled boat tours and lush wilderness expedition. It has been guiding guests to the ride of their lives since 1955.

Excitingly, on January 25, Monday, Disney announced something fans (like me) have been waiting for. Apparently, “more humor, wildlife, and skipper heart” will soon be experienced at the Jungle Cruise attractions at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort.

The Jungle Cruise Attraction Signage at Magic Kingdom
The Jungle Cruise Attraction Signage at Magic Kingdom [Source: Walt Disney World]

For the first time, the skipper role won’t just be an experienced, witty guide but will also be represented by a show figure within the Jungle Cruise ride itself.

Plus, fans might finally find out what happened to some boats that are no longer making their way around the river — specifically the Kwango Kate and Mekong Maiden.

For more details, check out this video by Kevin Lively, a former Jungle Cruise skipper.

Why Are They Updating the Jungle Cruise Attraction?

Famous for their skippers’ puns and wildlife expedition, the Jungle Cruise Ride upgrade is set to “reflect and value the diversity of the world around us,” according to Michael Ramirez, the Public Relations Director of Disneyland Resort. 

“Continuing a tradition that Walt Disney started more than six decades ago when he first enhanced the Jungle Cruise, the new creative concept for our river’s journey will be original to Walt Disney Imagineering, just like the attraction itself.”

Michael Ramirez,
Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

The move to update the experience comes before the much-awaited release of Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt. However, Disney stressed that the attraction changes are independent of the film.

The refurbishment follows updates to other attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain. The company had already announced Splash Mountain’s makeover theme, which would focus on the iconic film The Princess and the Frog, featuring Princess Tiana, Disney’s first-ever Black princess.

What Disney’s Jungle Cruise Adventure Is All About

An Audio-Animatronic Tiger from the Jungle Cruise Attraction at Magic Kingdom
An Audio-Animatronic Tiger from the Jungle Cruise Attraction at Magic Kingdom [Source: Walt Disney World]

For those who might not know, Jungle Cruise offers a river tour where beasts and wit prevail. The 10,000-mile cruise is led by a skipper, a trusty guide who navigates guests through some of the most treacherous waters. 

The Jungle Cruise Adventure is a 10-minute voyage you won’t forget. It features lush foliage, waterfalls, hungry lions, curious gorillas, angry hippos, bathing elephants, and more. Travel through the Amazon, the Nile, and down Asia’s Mekong River with humor, wildlife, Disney magic, and everything in between. 

What This Exciting News Means For Fans

Jungle Cruise Concept Art Featuring the Kwango Kate Boat
Jungle Cruise Concept Art Featuring the Kwango Kate Boat [Source: Disney Parks Blog]

Cutting a long story short, Disney’s Jungle Cruise enhancements are going to be exhilarating.

Although it has gone through previous changes, it won’t be surprising if it becomes even more diverse, humorous, and magical. The new experience sounds like it will be more enjoyable for everyone.

But fans could still expect a few familiar features, such as the legendary dry wit humor of skippers and the lively, unforgettable wilderness experience.

Kevin Lively says, “Ultimately, the jungle gets the last laugh.” What does that mean? I hope we’ll find out soon!

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Neal Tucker is one of the world’s most engaging Disney influencers, with thousands of views and responses across his blog, podcast, and social media profiles every month.

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