First, it’s important to note that this is not the first time Jungle Cruise has gone through changes and updates. The ride was originally a “serious” adventure through tropical waters but is now a more humorous expedition with hilarious scenes. D23 sat down with Disney Imagineering Creative Portfolio Executive Chris Beatty to get information about the coming changes.
A big question I’m sure a lot of Disney fans have is “Why is Jungle Cruise being changed?”. Here’s what Chris Beatty had to say:
“We are constantly evaluating ways to enhance attractions and experiences in our parks. We want to make sure everybody has the best time—that guests from all over the world can connect with the stories we share and that how we bring those to life are respectful of the diverse world we live in. And when they get off the attraction, they know that we have done our homework because these are the details that matter. When you look at the Jungle Cruise, as it is today, there are just a couple of scenes that don’t do that and needed a refresh. But I want to make sure people know we are not changing the whole Jungle Cruise. This is not a re-envisioning of the entire attraction. It’s the Jungle Cruise you know and love, with the skippers still leading the way, and at the same time, we’re addressing the negative depictions of “natives.” So that’s one of the scenes we’re going to go in and change.”
So, what will be changed? First, Beatty shared that for the first time ever, scenes in the ride will be linked together! Have you ever wondered who the explorers being chased up a pole by a rhino were? There will now be a new storyline that links those explorers to the rest of the attraction. Each explorer will now have their own backstory and cultural heritage. There will be a birdwatcher, an entomologist, a wildlife painter, and a photographer, and each one will have a different reason for being on the expedition. You’ll notice in the picture above that there are 5 people on the pole. The fifth one is an animatronic skipper who was also chased up the pole.
After that scene, we’ll find out what happened to the explorer’s boat. The boat has ended up beached on some rocks and a family of chimpanzees has moved in! Chimpanzees are not currently seen on the Jungle Cruise so we’re excited to see a new animal join the cruise. Beatty gave a great description of the chimpanzee family, “The family of chimpanzees jumps on the wreckage of the boat and they are almost making fun of us. One is wearing the skipper’s hat and is on the microphone. The mother chimp has opened up all the maps and it looks like she’s reading them. A little chimp has gotten into the wildlife painter’s supplies and has made a mess with paint everywhere. It’s the animals really getting the last laugh in this cute scene—these silly explorers really came in and invaded their world.”
Beatty also shared that the new script for the ride is being written by Imagineer Kevin Lively, a former skipper. The Imagineers working on the attraction changes are making sure the skippers are on board with the changes. Disney is also making sure the changes are done right. Changes are going to be done in a way that celebrates diverse backgrounds and interests and doesn’t make fun of anything or anyone.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering if any of the classic jokes will be replaced. Here’s what Beatty said, “We’re keeping a lot of the classic jokes that the fans know and love, like the backside of water. But it will give our skipper some new material to play off of. So that’s exciting for them. They were really excited about having some new source material.”
With the Jungle Cruise movie coming out later this year, many are wondering if that will be incorporated into the ride similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. The main answer is no. You won’t see any Dwayne Johnson animatronic while on your cruise. However, you might see some Easter eggs from the movie throughout the ride so keep a lookout!
Both the Disneyland version and the Walt Disney World version will share the same storyline. There is no set date on when work will start on these two attractions but Disney is hoping to get it done this year.
What do you think about the changes coming to this classic attraction?
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