The original Jungle Cruise was an opening day attraction at Disneyland in 1955. Taking its inspiration from the film “The African Queen,” Walt Disney initially wanted the ride to have real live animals as part of the experience. When that was deemed unfeasible due to a lack of show consistency from live animals, the attraction was filled with audio-animatronic animals and elaborate landscaping to mimic the major waterways of the world. The Jungle Cruise is a must-do classic attraction for my family on every visit to the Magic Kingdom, we love it. And we love to do it at all times of day as the Jungle takes on a different character in full daylight, dusk and in the dark. Here are 5 reasons we love Jungle Cruise:
5. The Landscape
Once you leave the dock (wave goodbye, you’ll never see these people again), you enter the lush tropical rainforest. Disney’s horticulture crew does an amazing job maintaining the jungle like settings in each area of the attraction, it allows you to suspend disbelief momentarily and let yourself enter the worlds of the Amazon, Congo, Nile and Mekong Rivers. Let me point out a few of my favorite plants to you: this one, that one, this one over here, and that green one there. The water features are truly amazing—it isn’t every day you get to see the backside of water. And the rock structures are nice too, although some people take them for granite.
4. The Queue
While I recommend trying to get a FastPass+ for this attraction, the queue is a lot of fun filled with details, jokes and puns. Be sure to read all of the signs and crates. Check out what they are serving in the mess hall for the skippers. And you’ll want to listen to the announcements that are made over the PA system periodically while you are in line—they will set the scene and the mood for your cruise.
3. The Animals
While Walt’s vision of live animals was finally realized in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park with attractions like Kilimanjaro Safari, we enjoy the audio animatronic animals in the Jungle Cruise who know their cues. Who can resist those adorable hippos wiggling their ears? Or the elephants bathing (it’s okay they have their trunks). The gorillas who are finally able to get that jeep to turn over. And don’t forget the lions watching over that sleeping zebra.
2. The Natives
As you travel through the Jungle you will encounter several “human” audio animatronics as well. Look closely at the group on the pole who may get the point in the end—then look closely at the gravedigger at the Haunted Mansion, you may see an eerie resemblance. Then there is the attacking tribe we have to duck to avoid, listen closely you may find out their favorite genre of music. But, my personal favorite is at the end of the attraction, Trader Sam. He offers great deals, 2 of his heads for just one of yours. Fun fact here—his striped clothing is made from the fabric that used to be the covers of the boats.
1. The Skippers
Our very favorite part of the Jungle Cruise would be the Skippers. I love that each cruise is narrated live by a human being who can react to and with the “crew” on the boat. While they all have the same script of jokes to pull from it is always a different experience each time you cruise the waters of the Jungle Cruise. The Skippers literally bring the attraction to life, and no matter how many times you hear their corny jokes you can’t help but laugh and play along. I am so glad that they each decided to take a crash course and land at the Jungle Cruise to entertain us.
Why do you love the Jungle Cruise?