Changes coming to the Jungle Cruise at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort

Jan 25, 2021 in "Jungle Cruise"

Jungle Cruise concept art
Posted: Monday January 25, 2021 4:21pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney has today announced that it plans to update the Jungle Cruise with new additions to add "more humor, wildlife and skipper heart – and also reflect and value the diversity of the world around us."


For the first time, the Jungle Cruise will have a continuous story to go along with updated scenes. Hear from Walt Disney Imagineer Kevin Lively talking about some of the changes in the video below.

As part of the story update, we'll get to follow a skipper and his passengers as their journey goes awry. The skipper role will not only be that of a live guide, but also represented by an animatronic figure within the attraction itself. 

Disney has said that many of the classic jokes will remain, including "the backside of water," but the skippers will have new material to work with. Also confirmed is that the upcoming Jungle Cruise movie will not be part of the new attraction, but there may well be a few easter egg nods to the movie.

Imagineer Chris Beatty shared some more details on the new show scenes with D23.

For the first time, we are actually linking scenes together.

So if you think of the famous rhino pole scene, with the team of explorers who have somehow camped that night and then been run up the pole by the rhino and a group of other animals… that will really kick off the storyline. Did you ever wonder who those explorers were or where they came from? What’s their backstory? As part of the enhanced storyline, each one of them will have their own story and cultural heritage. There’s a birdwatcher, an entomologist, a wildlife painter, and a photographer, and each one will have a different reason for being on the expedition. And, of course, they did one of the things you’re never supposed to do, which is leave the boat. And one of the things we’re adding to the attraction is an animatronic skipper, who’s been chased up the pole by the rhino, along with the other explorers. They each have great personality, and I think our guests will connect with these characters in new ways. So we’re not really re-envisioning that scene, we’re just adding a narrative and storytelling to bring things to life and connect that moment with other happenings along the river.

And you may ask yourself, Wait, what happened to their boat? And we find out that the front of the boat has been beached upon these rocks. We wanted to put something here that feels like Marc Davis had a hand in it, that has a bit of humor in it. And we wanted the animals to have the last laugh. So you’ll see that the family of chimpanzees has moved in. And we don’t currently have chimps on this attraction—all of these amazing animals have been brought to life through the years on the Jungle Cruise and yet we’ve never had chimpanzees. 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.

Disney has not yet offered a timeline of when the changes will be completed, but has indicated that it will be coming "later this year."

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Magicart8721 days ago

Don't get me wrong! It's not just the mural that I hate. It's the anachronisms, the wrong typefaces, the over reliance on type as a means of "explaining" new scenes. It's just not good Disney. You have to know this, right?

ImperfectPixie21 days ago

There's also these...which are from the era in which Jungle Cruise takes place as well. They should have gone for a look that was a cross of the advertisements below with the posters I linked to upthread. I'm thinking sort of old-fashioned cigar-box style.

castlecake2.021 days ago

Yah I see what you’re saying. 1) it looks a little too bold/fresh but I think the elements will take care of that. 2) looks too digitally produced instead of hand painted.

ImperfectPixie21 days ago

Here are some samples of what it should be mimicking... https://www.google.com/search?q=1930s+advertising+posters&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS791US791&sxsrf=AOaemvIlZ3Gob_eQiAzIo4oITCSq_cEERw:1630491570930&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwjGuZO3xt3yAhUpGFkFHSpuDPsQ_AUoAnoECAEQBA&biw=1920&bih=918

ImperfectPixie21 days ago

It's a combination of the materials used for the mural as well as the style. ETA: Advertising of the 1930s focused more heavily on text - even when there were people and landscaping, etc. included in them. It also likely would have been painted directly on the building, rather than be a separate board that's framed - especially where Jungle Cruise is supposed to take place.

castlecake2.021 days ago

The mural feels off but I can’t tell why. I think the other stuff looks out of place because it looks so new and fresh compared to what was probably almost 50 year old props there before. I’m sure the florida humidity will start to do its thing and âge them soon.

ImperfectPixie21 days ago

Or followed through with theming. A outdoor advertising mural like the one with the woman wouldn't be painted on a perfectly smooth board and framed in the time period and place Jungle Cruise is supposed to be in.

LittleBuford21 days ago

That's not the issue. If we can accept a Pirates of the Caribbean with almost no Black people, I don't see why we can't suspend our demographic disbelief when it comes to the Jungle Cruise. The problem is that they haven't captured the period look.

Boba Rhett21 days ago

Yikes. How very unfortunate. 🙁

owlsandcoffee21 days ago

I think it's just a matter of lack of creativity. They've done the same thing with other SEA-adjacent characters. Ya just see a lot of pictures of them plastered all over the place. Doesn't really replace theming and experiential stories.

JoeCamel21 days ago

And that is what Imagineering thinks is so special about this. Like Miss Kitty in the old west she succeeded in a man's world

Incomudro21 days ago

A heck of a lot more woman represented there than would have been involved in such a jungle cruise given the time frame the cruise is supposed to take place in.

ImperfectPixie21 days ago

I wouldn't say that. Lost their way a bit, sure. Let's not forget that before anything is fabricated, it has to be approved. Who is in charge of approvals may be the reason there seem to be so many misses. Then there's the person who chooses which design will be fabricated to begin with...there's lots of people and phases involved, and growing pains along the way are definitely a "thing" when it comes to design/fabrication teams.

Magicart8721 days ago

Yes.