The Jungle Cruise is an attraction at the following Disney theme parks: Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland (under the name Jungle River Cruise). It is located in Adventureland. Disneyland Paris is the only Magic Kingdom-style Disney theme park that does not have the Jungle Cruise in its attraction roster, though an indoor jeep ride called Jungle Expedition was originally planned instead.
The attraction simulates a riverboat cruise down several major rivers of Asia, Africa and South America. Park guests board replica tramp steamers and are taken on a voyage past many different animatronic jungle animals. The tour is led by a live Disney Cast Member delivering a humorous preset narration.
When plans began to develop, Bill Evans, the Imagineer responsible for landscaping Disneyland (DL) and most of Walt Disney World (WDW), faced the daunting task of foresting an entire jungle on a limited budget. Aside from importing many actual tropical plants, he made wide use of “character plants” which while not necessarily exotic could give the appearance of exoticism in context. In a particularly well-known trick, he uprooted local orange trees and “replanted” them upside-down, growing vines on the exposed roots. The clean water was dyed brown to prevent visitors from seeing the bottom of the “river”, which varies between three and eight feet deep.
In a popular story recounted by Jeff Lange, a writer for weblogging site Jim Hill Media, an experience at the Jungle Cruise helped bolster Walt Disney’s obsession with the concept of ‘plussing’, or continuous improvement. The story claims that Walt overheard a mother visiting Disneyland telling her child that since they had been on the ride the last time they visited the park, they didn’t need to ride it again. In horror, he put his Imagineers to work designing upgrades to the ride.
The WDW Jungle Cruise is set as a depression era British outpost on the Amazon river, operated by the fictional company, The Jungle Navigation Co., whose advertisement poster is painted on the wall near the exit of the attraction. Albert Awol’s broadcast is different than that of Disneyland’s, being ride specific. Also unlike Disneyland, the queue no longer extends to a second level. The skippers at the Magic Kingdom don’t carry revolvers with blanks in them anymore. The real guns have been replaced with realistic looking props that the skipper waves to scare away animals that get in the way (used to get hippos to not attack the boat).
Near the Hippo Pool, a piece of a downed airplane can be seen along the shoreline. This is the back half of the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior that can be seen in Casablanca scene on The Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Each variety of plant throughout the attraction was carefully selected by landscape architect Bill Evans to ensure that the foliage would be able to endure Florida’s unique climate: hot summers and relatively cool winters. The toughest part was making sure these plants had the appropriate look and feel of traditional tropical plants in the equatorial jungle.
* Amazon Annie
* Bomokandi Bertha (Wheelchair lift equipped)
* Congo Connie
* Ganges Gertie
* Irrawaddy Irma
* Mongala Millie
* Nile Nellie
* Orinoco Ida
* Rutshuru Ruby
* Sankuru Sadie
* Senegal Sal
* Ucyali Lolly
* Volta Val
* Wamba Wanda (Wheelchair lift equipped)
* Zambesi Zelda