Ok, serious question: have you ever seen the backside of water? If you’ve never heard the term “backside of water,” chances are you’ve never experienced the adventure, manufactured mayhem and humor of the Jungle Cruise attraction at Walt Disney World in central Florida. Every cruise is just a little bit different, depending on the skipper who is charged with leading you and your fellow travelers through some of the most treacherous rivers on earth.
Scary, right? On the contrary, the Jungle Cruise attraction boasts some of the silliest antics and dialogue of any of the classic Disney World attractions. Here are 8 totally cool things about the Jungle Cruise that will have you itching to take a cruise the next time you’re at Magic Kingdom.
8. The cruise is really “punny.”
The Cast Members who play the role of skipper aboard each Jungle Cruise excursion deliver an obviously scripted narration full of puns during the journey. But each skipper adds twists here and there to make the narration uniquely his or her own. Some deliver the narration more creatively than others so that you’re almost on the edge of your seat—until the punchline.
7. The airplane you see on the cruise used to split its time between two attractions.
A downed airplane along the banks of the river on the Jungle Cruise isn’t a full plane. It’s the back half of a Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior. The front half of the plane used to be in the Casablanca scene of the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before that attraction closed in 2017.
6. At Christmastime, the attraction puts on its holiday best.
Beginning in 2013, during the Christmas season (and for a week or two afterward), the Jungle Cruise began to change a little bit in honor of the holidays. The Jungle Cruise becomes the “Jingle Cruise,” and decorations abound throughout the river journey. There are even wrapped Christmas presents floating in the water during one part of the ride. And each boat in the Jungle Cruise fleet has a name change—just for the holidays. The Amazon Annie becomes the Eggnog Annie. The Congo Connie becomes the Candy Cane Connie. The Nile Nellie morphs into the Noel Nellie, and the Zambezi Zelda changes to the Fruitcake Zelda. The “Jingle Cruise” is one of the most festively decorated attractions at Magic Kingdom during the Christmas season.
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5. Inspiration for the attraction came from films.
It’s not uncommon for Disney to draw its inspiration from things entirely outside of the Disney arena—and then improve upon them. The inspiration for the Jungle Cruise attraction came from the 1955 “True-Life Adventure: the African Lion” and the film, The African Queen. The ride vehicles were inspired by the steamer used in the film.
4. The queue is full of artifacts.
As you file through the queue, waiting for your turn to experience your very own cruise through the jungle, you’ll see artifacts, gear, tools and photographs. The queue was purposely designed to wind in and around itself so that Guests can get a glimpse of the many props and artifacts used in the attraction.
3. You’ll see lots of animals.
Animatronic animals, that is. But many of them are fairly believable as the real thing. Hippos rise up out of the water, and an elephant bathes in a waterfall. Realistic-looking crocodiles open and close their huge jaws, nearly inciting fear in Guests aboard the ride vehicles. A snake is coiled up in a tree, and there’s even a safari camp that has been overrun by gorillas.
2. There’s a lost temple in the attraction.
Toward the end of the attraction, the journey takes Guests into an old deserted temple that has been destroyed by an earthquake. Inside there are shrines and lost treasures of gold and jewels. A tiger’s eyes glow in the dark, and several cobras with their hoods opened look ready to strike. The skipper always seems relieved to make it out of the temple alive!
1. The murky river water is a facade.
The river water through which the Jungle Cruise journeys looks dirty—like churned-up river water should look. But its brown and dirty appearance are merely the work of Disney Imagineers. To give the ride a more realistic feel, the water is dyed brown. This also ensures that Guests can’t see the bottom of the “river,” which ranges from three to eight feet deep.
If you’ve never booked your jungle excursion with the Jungle Navigation Company at Disney World, there’s no time like the present to head to Magic Kingdom! When you’re aboard, make sure you look for the backside of water. You’ll be stunned.