Disney making changes to Jungle Cruise ride, removing 'negative depictions' of native peoples
Disneyland and Disney World will open reimagined versions of the classic boat ride.
Both Disney parks in the United States are set to remove negative cultural depictions from another classic attraction.
Following last year's news that the iconic flume ride Splash Mountain would undergo a massive overhaul to include theming from the Princess and the Frog film while removing Song of the South's stereotypical character depictions, the Disney Parks Blog announced Monday that the Jungle Cruise ride at both Disneyland and Disney World will incorporate similar changes that "reflect and value the diversity of the world around us."
The reimagined ride will preserve humor from the boat-based journey's classic skippers, but instead of sending guests through unrelated scenes through the jungle, the attraction will now operate with a fully formed story connecting each vignette.
Changes include introducing new characters for guests to follow along with: a birdwatcher, an entomologist, a wildlife painter, and a photographer will now take up residence on the iconic rhino pole scene, replacing the existing animatronic explorers currently on the pole. The band's trek takes a wild turn when they exit their boat and enter the jungle, and riders will also see a group of primates that have taken over the explorers' raft.
"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," said Disney Imagineering Creative Portfolio Executive Chris Beatty in an interview with D23, the official Disney fan club. "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."
Originally opened at Disneyland in 1955, the Jungle Cruise ride has been adapted for three other parks around the world, with Disney World's version opening in 1971, followed by Tokyo Disneyland's opening in 1983 and Hong Kong Disneyland's in 2005. A feature film based on the ride (starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt) is slated to premiere later this year, though Beatty indicated neither actor (or the plot from the film) will be part of the ride's refurbishment.
Disney has not revealed a timeline for when the changes will be implemented, though Beatty confirmed the Imagineering team is working hard to "make sure we can get everything in this year."
Watch Disney's Jungle Cruise refurbishment preview video above.