The Jungle Cruise rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will undergo major storytelling updates to remove “negative portrayals of natives” as Disney continues to address issues of diversity and inclusiveness at its theme park attractions.
Walt Disney Imagineering will update Jungle Cruise scenes featuring shrunken headmonger Trader Sam and a rhino chasing a tree safari party while adding a new scene with a half-sunk boat overrun by chimpanzees.
“Imaginaries are constantly looking for opportunities to improve experiences, and when it comes to updating classic attractions, they use a very careful and thoughtful approach,” Disney officials said in a statement. . “In this particular case, Imagineers created a storyline that builds on what people love most while simultaneously addressing negative representations.”
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Imagineering has not yet determined when work will begin on the Jungle Cruise attractions at Disneyland in Anaheim and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. The reimagined rides are slated to open later this year. Disneyland plans to move forward with work on the Jungle Cruise attraction while the park remains closed during an extended coronavirus shutdown.
Disneyland is unlikely to resume operations until spring or summer under state-issued COVID-19 health and safety reopening guidelines.
Jungle Cruise rides updates follow changes to the Pirates of the Caribbean and an upcoming Splash Mountain makeover intended to correct outdated cultural depictions at Disney theme park attractions.
Disney Parks President Josh D’Amaro said during a keynote address at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions virtual exhibit in November that the company plans to incorporate more diversity and cultural inclusion in existing attractions.
“We believe that a truly inclusive environment is essential to foster ideas from all to help us grow, innovate and create the best stories possible,” D’Amaro said at the show.
Imagineering’s Director of Creative Development and Inclusion Strategies Carmen Smith said the latest Jungle Cruise attraction updates will address how Trader Sam and other indigenous peoples and their cultures are. represented in the classic boat ride.
“As imaginers, it is our responsibility to ensure that the experiences we create and the stories we share reflect the voices and perspectives of the world around us,” Smith said in a statement. “With Jungle Cruise, we’re bringing more of what people love to life – the humor and spirit of our amazing skippers, while making the necessary updates.”
Imagineering is constantly evaluating ways to make Disney theme park attractions respectful of the diverse world we live in, said Chris Beatty, Creative Director of Imagineering, at Disney’s D23 Fan Club.
“When you watch the Jungle Cruise as it is today, there are only a few scenes that don’t and need a refresh,” Beatty told D23. “But I want to make sure people know that we’re not changing the whole Jungle Cruise. This isn’t a new take on the whole attraction. It’s the jungle cruise that you know and love, with the skippers always in the lead, and at the same time, we are tackling the negative representations of “natives”.
Disney President Bob Iger said the changes to Jungle Cruising demonstrate the company’s commitment to reflecting the “values and rich diversity of our world” in its theme park attractions.
“The exciting changes we are making to one of Disney’s most popular classic attractions, Jungle Cruise, reflect our commitment to creating unparalleled experiences that reflect not only the best in storytelling, but also the values and rich diversity of our world, ”Iger wrote on Twitter.
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The revamped rides won’t tie into the upcoming epic action-adventure film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a riverboat skipper and Emily Blunt as a fearless explorer. The stars of “Jungle Cruise” will not be represented on the rides, although subtle narrative nods will be brought to the film.
Jungle Cruise updates will build on the story of the Disneyland attraction on opening day with new adventures that stay true to the story and pay homage to the culture of the skippers. More wildlife and humor will be added to the river trip with a new story following a Jungle Cruise skipper whose trip goes wrong.
“When we plan to make changes to a classic attraction, we focus on ways to ‘more’ experience it,” Beatty said in a statement. “The Jungle Cruise skippers bring irreverent humor to guests of all ages, and we are delighted to add to that legacy – with a new lively skipper figure – by celebrating their adventures and influence.”
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Concept art shows a culturally diverse group of boat passengers hanging from a tree, including a photographer, painter, birder, and butterfly collector. Nearby, five chimpanzees have taken control of a half-sunk boat – splashing paint on the roof of the steamboat and releasing butterflies from a cage. A chimpanzee with a parasol sits on the roof of the boat while another has taken over the helm and the skipper’s microphone. Some of the new figures will feature animatronic movements.
“As part of this story update, we will be able to follow a skipper and his passengers as their journey goes wrong,” said Kevin Lively, editor of Imagineer Story, in a statement. “It’s true, for the first time, the role of skipper will not only be that of a lively, experienced and witty guide, but also represented by a show figure within the attraction itself. . In fact, the expedition will be in a tree (literally!)
Lively, a former Disneyland Jungle Cruise skipper now Imagineer, worked on the Jingle Cruise vacation ride overlay, Disneyland’s Tropical Hideaway restaurant, and Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. restaurant. Skipper Canteen of Magic Kingdom.
The Jungle Cruise skippers will be expanding their repertoire of jokes with the new changes to the ride while keeping classic “back of the water” jokes and other gags in their routines.
David Marley, a former Jungle Cruise skipper turned history teacher at Cal State Fullerton known as Dr. Skipper, loves the new storyline that Imagineering has planned and believes the new scenes will provide a lot of new comedic material for his fellow skippers. .
“To all of you who are tempted to panic and yell about the PC police, just wait until we have a chance to see it before you lose your mind,” Marley wrote on Facebook. “The jungle cruise at Disneyland has changed more than any original attraction. Change is good and keeps things fresh. If the jungle can be more fun and less offensive, then let’s do it. Besides, I firmly believe that the only thing that should be offensive in the jungle is the skippers.
The revamped Jungle Cruise backstory will also delve into the mysteries of Disneyland’s Mekong Maiden and Magic Kingdom’s Kwango Kate – bum steamboats that have been decommissioned on either coast.
The Jungle Cruise rides at Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland will not be changed. According to Disney officials, there are currently no plans to make any changes to Trader Sam’s locations at Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort.