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Ride / Jungle Cruise

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"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard the World Famous Jungle Cruise! I'll be your skipper for as far as we get."

Jungle Cruise is an outdoor boat ride that can be found at the Disney Theme Parks. It is among the very first Disney attractions to come into being, having opened with Disneyland in 1955.

Located in the Adventureland area of each of the parks, the attraction is themed as an exotic trip across the various rivers of the world operated by the Jungle Navigation Company, which shifted from shipping to tourism to increase profits. Guests board a '30s era British tramp steamer boat, where they are immediately introduced to their "skipper", who along with piloting the ship also provides more than the daily recommended dose of puns and cheesy humor. Throughout the experience, riders are met with sights such as an elephant bathing pool, ancient ruins, an African Savannah, as well as the too-close-for-comfort sights of snakes, mischievous gorillas, ravenous head hunters, hippopotamuses, and more.

The ride can be found at four of the six Disneyland parks across the globe, including:

  • Disneyland: Where the attraction first originated. It opened on July 17, 1955.
  • Magic Kingdom: An alternate version of the attraction, which includes some different scenes from its Anaheim counterpart, most notably a trip through an ancient temple. It opened on October 1, 1971.
  • Tokyo Disneyland: Known as Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions, the ride is very similar to Magic Kingdom's version, although it received some upgrades in 2015 that added in new lighting effects, music, and a sub-plot involving "animal spirits" that are summoned via three amulets on the boat. It opened on April 15, 1983.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland: Known as Jungle River Cruise, the ride is located on the park's Adventureland-equivalent of the Rivers of America, encircling Tarzan's Treehouse instead of Tom Sawyer's Island. Among the different scenes in this version, the stand-out is a huge finale involving a battle between a fire god and a water god. It opened on September 12, 2005.

The Jungle Navigation Company played a prominent role in the Tales From Adventureland book series, and some elements of the now-defunct "Pleasure Island" nightclub district in Walt Disney World tied in to the ride. A movie based on the attraction, also titled Jungle Cruise, was released in July 2021. In 2021, the California and Florida versions of the ride received overhauls to remove the indigenous tribal characters and add an overarching story regarding a failed prior Jungle Cruise expedition, whose hapless voyagers are encountered along the way. The new iteration of the ride does not tie into the film adaptation beyond a handful of props in the queue.

"Wave goodbye to all those people on the dock.... 'cause you may never see 'em again. Of course, you've never seen 'em before, so you aren't gonna miss anything."

Tropes shown in Jungle Cruise include:

  • Apocalyptic Log: One of the radio transmissions in the queue has a skipper warning the dockmasters about the natives attacking passing boats, cracking in and out before being lost in static.
  • Arc Welding:
    • Through backstory first developed in the mid-90s that has since been expanded upon in the Jungle Cruise themed "Trader Sam's" bars and "Skipper Canteen" restaurant, the Jungle Cruise has been connected to the Indiana Jones franchise, the Society of Explorers and Adventurers and just about every pulpy adventure story in the Disney film catalog.
    • On the Disneyland version, skippers will refer to the nearby Indiana Jones Adventure as though it's a real temple that Dr. Jones is excavating ... when they aren't calling it Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Four Hour Line. 1994 cast member manuals produced for the refurb that re-routed the attraction to accommodate Indy suggest that he hired skippers to take him down to the site the first time and that the JNC has been making money off of the tourists going to the temple ever since.
  • Ascended Meme: As part of the 2021 refurbishment, a canteen belonging to Skipper Dan can be seen hanging near the ride's exit at Disneyland.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A frequent gag in the ride; a notable one being:
    Over there is Schweitzer Falls, named after the famous explorer, Dr. Albert Falls.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The first scene in the attraction features over-sized butterflies, though they're more beautiful than creepy.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Some of the skippers will occasionally poke fun at several aspects of the parks.
    Off to the right of the boat, you can see what we call the Indiana Jones Adventure and the Temple of the Four-Hour Line.
    I wonder where this cave comes out... well, we're in Disney World, so probably a gift shop.
    The most commonly lost item here is... people's life savings.
  • Black Comedy: There's plenty of jokes about cannibalism and death altogether in the attraction, among other things.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • In the hippo scene at Walt Disney World, the skipper used to fire their gun at the hippos, but this was later changed to them instead firing their gun into the air in order to scare them off. Which was further changed to the skipped skipper ineffectually waving the gun at the hippos and shouting, "Shoo!" Then THAT was changed to the skipper making a Finger Gun and yelling "Bang!", claiming that yelling "bang" with a finger gun is what scares hippos the most. Nowadays, the skipper "fires" their gun, but instead of actually firing them, a sound effect is played on the PA system. This was a post-9/11 security measure, as there were fears that someone could steal the very-real revolvers and load them with live ammo. At Disneyland, the skippers still use real guns with blanks, as the guns are used for various signals, depending on how many shots were fired:
      • One shot means nothing, most likely a misfire.
      • Two shots, used at the hippo pool, means "all clear"
      • Three shots indicate that the boat has broken down.
      • Four shots indicate a medical emergency.
      • Five shots are not used to avoid confusion between four and six shots.
      • Six shots means that a boat has come off the underwater track; skippers can and have been fired for this, though usually, maintenance covers for them by blaming a faulty guide.
    • The skipper used to have a line pointing out some crocodiles and warning parents to keep an eye on their kids when the crocs are around. This line was cut after a highly-publicized 2016 incident when a child was killed by an alligator at the Disney World resort, and anything crocodilian-related across all the parks was downplayed as much as possible.
    • In 2021, several scenes were modified to remove outdated and offensive racial stereotypes of African natives.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Skipper Canteen establishes the unseen members of the Falls family tree by way of memoirs on the library shelf including "Married into the Jungle" by Dr. Albert Fall's wife Victoria, "Born in the Jungle" by Albert Falls Jr., and "Married to Someone Born in the Jungle" by Sneh Falls, the wife of Falls Jr. and mother to Alberta.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Magic Kingdom version of the attraction originally had giant frogs in the Amazon stretch of the river that were removed a year after opening when management didn't like their execution. In October 2021, just in time for the park's 50th Anniversary, two of the frogs ended up coming back.
  • Canis Latinicus: Some of the animatronic animals have been referred to as Plasticus mechanicus.
  • Cannibal Tribe: The headhunter tribe, who even attempt to make a meal out the guests at one point.
  • Captain Obvious: Another recurring joke that the skippers will do. For instance, Disneyland's version starts with the skipper pointing out the first sign of danger: A "Danger" sign.
  • Child Hater: Certain skippers don't seem to be overly fond of children.
    Watch your step, and please don't step on small children indiscriminately. Pick the one you want and make sure you get him!
  • Christmas Special: From November to January, the ride gets a holiday overlay in Florida and Anaheim, becoming the Jingle Cruise; with Christmas-themed scenery and jokes being added in. As of 2017, the overlay has been restricted to the Magic Kingdom.
  • Crossover: To promote the 2008 release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, several Indy-themed props were added to Anaheim's jungle, and guests were given checklists and challenged to find them all.
  • Darkest Africa: The ride's destinations include the Congo and Nile River, both of which seem to contain nothing but utter chaos, with imminent threats including ferocious hippos, restless headhunters, as well as gorillas and rhinos that have caused much trouble for a fellow safari party.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Every boat ride operator is this by design. Most of the fun of the ride comes not from the animatronics or the jungle atmosphere, but from the boat's operator.
    Now if you look off to your left, way out in the distance there, you will see absolutely nothing.
  • Depending on the Writer: The jokes in the attraction tend to be changed out frequently, so some of the tropes you see here may not be present in the version of the ride you experience.
  • Divine Conflict: Hong Kong's version ends with a battle between a fire god and a water god.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: When it first opened, Walt intended the Jungle Cruise as a serious ride, with no jokes or puns in the script - so much so that he frequently chastised his children for sneaking off into the bowels of Adventureland to scare the guests aboard the ride and breaking the immersion. Unfortunately for Walt's vision, the animatronics aged so poorly that it would be impossible to take them seriously today.
  • Elemental Rivalry: Hong Kong has a fire god and a water god that are both against each other.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: The fire god ends up being easily defeated by the water god when it extinguishes its flames.
  • Exact Words: When the skipper tries to "point out" their favorite plants to the guests.
    I'd like to take this time to point out some of my favorite plants. (points at one plant) That one. (points at another plant) That one. (points at a third plant) That one. Any questions?
  • Flanderization: When the ride first opened, it was actually pretty straightforward and serious, but when puns were brought into the attraction in 1962, it over time became more and more comedic in tone. The ancient animatronics accelerated the process; these days the animals look so fake that there's simply no way to play it straight.
  • Get Out!: A potential thing that the skipper might say when the guests are disembarking.
    Well we've laughed and we've cried. We've almost died! I love you like family. Now get out! I'm sorry, that was rude. Please get out.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, there's a letter from Samantha Sterling to Trader Sam saying "Dearest Sam, These 5 days & 10 nights… wow".
  • Giant Spider: Several giant spiders appear in the temple ruins, attached to an also-giant web.
  • Halloween Special: In 2015, Hong Kong received a special Halloween-themed overlay of the ride, called Jungle River Cruise - Curse of the Emerald Trinity, focused around a set of cursed jewels believed to grant immortality to those who could get one out of the jungle alive. Featured malevolent moving vines, skull temples, and an army of the undead rising out of the hippo pool
  • Hungry Jungle: The locations featured in the ride seem to contain one danger after another, including ferocious tigers, snakes, headhunters, and piranhas.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Occurs in so, so many scenes; one example being when the skipper talks about a crocodile that they named.
    I see some of you have met my good friend, Ginger. Careful, though: Ginger snaps. She is one tough cookie...I know, I know, it's a crumby joke, but I milk it for all I can.
  • I Lied: In Disneyland's version, the skipper assures the riders that they would never lead the guests into any danger, but upon seeing the gorilla-ravaged campsite, they simply state, "...I lied."
  • In a Single Bound: In Disneyland's version, the skipper claims that the Bengal tiger can do this.
    Don't make any sudden moves! That's a Bengal tiger on the left! The Bengal tiger has been known to leap over 20 feet in one jump. But don't worry, we're only 15 feet away. He'll jump right over us!
  • I'm a Humanitarian: One of the locations the skipper advertises is "Shrunken Ned's Cannibal Cafe", mentioning its slogan as being, "Finding new and innovative ways to serve you."
  • Jungle Jazz: The queues typically feature jazzy music broadcast over a period radio which is tuned to the dock's radio station, hosted by "The Voice of the Jungle" Albert Awol. The rides are all designed with a Pulp Jungle setting in mind.
  • Killer Gorilla: At the exit of Magic Kingdom's version of the ride, there's a cage that's labeled "DANGER: Wild Orangutan. KEEP AWAY", and it just so happens that the cage has been broken apart.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In general, skippers will not try very hard to hide the fact that you are on a ride in a Disney park. Trees and animals are stated to be made of plastic, certain jokes make fun of the surrounding Disney parks, and the fourth wall is very flimsy throughout.
    I haven't seen a gathering like that for at least...10 minutes.
  • Legacy Character: Skipper Canteen introduced a new character in Alberta Falls, granddaughter and successor to longtime character Dr. Albert Falls (who is said to have mysteriously gone missing).
  • Lured into a Trap: Upon entering the headhunter territory, the skipper realizes that the boat is about to be ambushed and tells everyone to get down.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Early designs for the Magic Kingdom version included these as part of the Amazon area. During the 2021 refurbishment, they finally made a comeback as a major point of study for new Trapped Safari character Dr. Leonard Moss, with caged specimens being added to the queue midway in escaping. Moss's journal notes that one of them stole a sandwich from him.
  • Namesake Gag: "Over there is Schweitzer Falls, named after the famous explorer, Dr. Albert Falls." Albert Falls has since been turned into an actual character, the founder of the Jungle Navigation Company, member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers and the original Jungle Cruise Skipper.
  • Nose Nuggets: When discussing the elephants:
    How many of you think that's water coming out of the Elephant's trunk? Well it's snot.
  • Nothing but Skulls: The Headhunter territory naturally contains several piles of skulls.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: The skipper will sometimes claim that the ransacking gorillas are actually their visiting in-laws.
  • Piranha Problem: Anaheim and Hong Kong's versions have a scene involving a pack of piranhas attempting to attack the boat.
  • Pirate: Hong Kong temporarily had some scenes involving pirates added into the ride for an event in 2007.
  • Place Worse Than Death:
    And now the most dangerous part of our journey — the return to L.A. and the southern California freeway system.
    Inside [the temple ruins] we could face certain death, or worse (beat) another Disney Gift Shop.
  • Potty Dance: Occasionally, the skipper will say that the reason why the headhunters are dancing so strangely is because they lost the keys to the bathroom.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In the Florida version, many of the animatronics are underneath coverings such as tents, shelters or similar. This is to keep the animatronics dry due to the normally rainy Florida.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: When the boat comes across Schweitzer Falls:
    And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, the eighth wonder of the world: It's the BACK. SIDE. OF. WATER!!!
  • Panty Thief: The ravaged camp site scene in Hong Kong's version shows a gorilla stealing a pair of undergarments.
  • Pungeon Master: The skippers are this, if you haven't figured that out already.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: All versions of the attraction feature ancient ruins that have no backstory behind them.
  • Self-Deprecation: The skippers will often make jokes at the expense of themselves.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Trashin' the Camp" can be heard playing on a radio during the gorilla scene in the Hong Kong version of the ride.
    • In Tokyo's version, "The Circle of Life" song plays during the Africa scene.
    • A canteen belonging to "Weird Al" Yankovic's Skipper Dan was added to the unload area in 2021.
    • The skippers will often reference other Disney works.
      If you had a good time, my name is Skipper (name) and this has been the world famous Jungle Cruise. And if you had a lousy time...then my name is Queen Elsa and you should just let it go.
  • Shrunken Head: The ride ends with an encounter with Trader Sam, a shrunken head salesman.
    This is Trader Sam - he's our head salesman here in the Jungle. Business has been really shrinking lately due to some large overhead but there's a special deal going on—two of his heads for one of yours. Any way you slice it or dice it, he comes out ahead. Ya know how Trader Sam lives? One step ahead of the next guy. I was actually invited over to his house one evening for dinner (his wife makes a pretty good stew), but I got there a little late so all he gave me was the cold shoulder. (beat) Seriously, I just told you 10 puns in a row trying to make you guys laugh, but no pun in ten did.
  • This Way to Certain Death: In Disneyland's version, the boat passes by a series of animal skeletons lying by the water, suggesting something bad is up ahead. Shortly after, the culprits are revealed: a huge pack of piranhas.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • Disneyland's version has received a countless number of updates since its inception. One major one came in 2021 to remove racial stereotypes.
    • Tokyo Disneyland's version was revamped in 2015 to add in several new elements, most notably an enhanced temple sequence.
  • Waterfall Shower: One of the elephants, officially known as Big Bertha, is shown taking a shower by using a waterfall.
  • Witch Doctor: Trader Sam, as mentioned above.
  • World Tour: The ride takes guests through some of the most notable rivers in the world, all in just under 15 minutes.
  • Wrench Wench: One of the many hats Alberta Falls wears as the president of the Jungle Navigation Company is head mechanic.

"Well, it looks like our time together is finally coming to an end. I'd really like to thank you all for traveling with me today. You folks have been an outstanding crew; and pretty soon, you'll be out standing over there on the dock."