BREAKING: Disney to Update Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort with New Story, Cultural Sensitivity Changes Coming

Tom Corless

Updated on:

jungle cruise concept art-3167021

BREAKING: Disney to Update Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort with New Story, Cultural Sensitivity Changes Coming

Tom Corless

Updated on:

jungle cruise concept art-3167021

BREAKING: Disney to Update Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort with New Story, Cultural Sensitivity Changes Coming

Announced just moments ago, an entirely new story is come to the Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park.

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To continue the initiative addressed by Josh D’amaro, significant scene changes are being made to make the ride more “culturally sensitive”. Above, we see that the party being chased up a tree by a rhino is now a pack of ethnically diverse explorers. Below, a new scene shows apes taking over a sinking Jungle Cruise boat. Maybe that’s a little too close to reality

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Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Portfolio Executive Chris Beatty had the following to say about the new scenes to D23:

We want to make sure that we take this as an opportunity, right? So as we look to clean up a lot of the challenges that we have in the attraction, we want to make sure we go in and add all the humor that Marc Davis gave it, all those years ago. Anything new we add will be in that tone. And for the first time, we are actually linking scenes together.

So if you think of the famous rhino pole scene, with the team of explorers who have somehow camped that night and then been run up the pole by the rhino and a group of other animals… that will really kick off the storyline. Did you ever wonder who those explorers were or where they came from? What’s their backstory? As part of the enhanced storyline, each one of them will have their own story and cultural heritage. There’s a birdwatcher, an entomologist, a wildlife painter, and a photographer, and each one will have a different reason for being on the expedition. And, of course, they did one of the things you’re never supposed to do, which is leave the boat. And one of the things we’re adding to the attraction is an animatronic skipper, who’s been chased up the pole by the rhino, along with the other explorers. They each have great personality, and I think our guests will connect with these characters in new ways. So we’re not really re-envisioning that scene, we’re just adding a narrative and storytelling to bring things to life and connect that moment with other happenings along the river.

And you may ask yourself, Wait, what happened to their boat? And we find out that the front of the boat has been beached upon these rocks. We wanted to put something here that feels like Marc Davis had a hand in it, that has a bit of humor in it. And we wanted the animals to have the last laugh. So you’ll see that the family of chimpanzees has moved in. And we don’t currently have chimps on this attraction—all of these amazing animals have been brought to life through the years on the Jungle Cruise and yet we’ve never had chimpanzees. The family of chimpanzees jumps on the wreckage of the boat and they are almost making fun of us. One is wearing the skipper’s hat and is on the microphone. The mother chimp has opened up all the maps and it looks like she’s reading them. A little chimp has gotten into the wildlife painter’s supplies and has made a mess with paint everywhere. It’s the animals really getting the last laugh in this cute scene—these silly explorers really came in and invaded their world.

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Disney promises the changes will offer “more humor, wildlife and skipper heart – and also reflect and value the diversity of the world around us”. Imagineers Kevin Lively – former Jungle Cruise skipper – shares a video message about the project below:

Disney has stated to expect the changes to the Jungle Cruise on both coasts later this year, sometime in 2021.

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48 thoughts on “BREAKING: Disney to Update Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort with New Story, Cultural Sensitivity Changes Coming”

  1. I’m always skeptical when I hear the words “culturally sensitive.” This attraction however, really needed an update. I’m anxious to check this out.

  2. Another classic attraction that falls victim to gratuitous woke virtue signaling. Disney will not even spend money on basic maintenance of attractions but can find money to fix problems that never existed in the first place. Typical corporate America today so desperate to be perceived as politically correct at any cost.

  3. eww.. this is just sad. Yes update it . give it TLC.. I’m all for that just leave the original as is.. wait. Let me also guess… The Rock will made into an animatronic and put on here too. Regardless I know I’m still gonna be buying a ticket to get into Magic Kingdom. Disney is life

  4. Lot of political decisions lately. How about we use the money for this (and other) unnecessary changes for out of work cast members instead!

  5. I wish they would stop screwing with the park. They are going to totally ruin it with all the political correctness! Walt would never allow this! Shameful!

    • You are correct regarding one thing – Walt wouldn’t have allowed something as wonderful as ensuring ethnic diversity in an attraction. How, exactly, is this update shameful? How, exactly, is it shameful that little non-Caucasian children will be able to see themselves in an attraction considered shameful? What IS shameful is the number of people in an uproar over this.

      • NewNormal, nobody wants your “new normal.” We just want the parks left alone and to be entertained, not scolded by woke ideology.

  6. Can we get rid of the Walt Disney name next? His statues are a blight to the park, we should embrace creating an environment for everyone. He made some of the most racist movies, and shows of all time, and shouldn’t be allowed to have his name on the parks or company as it currently stands any more. We should petition for it to be the house of mouse studios, and Mickey world / land. Replace the statues with a bigger Mickey Mouse statue, or maybe more diverse characters or leadership. Let’s get #cancelwaltdisneysname trending on Twitter and petition the Disney company for a more inclusive name.

    • ok sure lets get rid of the FOUNDER of the company. Mickey world and Mickeyland just is dumb like yes mickey is important to the history of disney but everything goes back to walt. Don’t like walt then you can’t like mickey because walt created him. You cannot enter a disney park and say Yeah the founder namesake needs to be gone. If you think that, you are not a disney fan and I suggest you leave that idea to yourself

  7. How was the old ride “racist”? Aside from the safari chased up the pole, I don’t recall any other humans depicted.

    • If you’re genuinely curious about the racist implications of the Jungle Cruise, I’d recommend googling British Imperialism, “othering” as a general concept, or “dark Africa” as a stereotype.

      I love Disneyland and old rides (SoCal boy here), but context is kind.

    • The original safari was comprised of 4 local Africans with the White explorer at the top. But I thought they changed that decades ago.

      Never get into an argument with a rhino. They will always get their point. In the end…

    • Coming 2022 in the magically reimagined Moana’s Polynesian Village Resort! Hei Hei’s Grog Grotto…Under New Management!

  8. Part of it is to save money by not needing the cast members sit in each boat.. but feels like another victim of the cancel culture.. Walt Disney already rolled over in his grave multiple times in the last 10 – 20 years

    • Um…I think you “missed the boat”. There will STILL be a LIVE skipper in each boat as the article above states. They are adding an animatronic skipper within the story…on the tree/pole with the animatronic explorers. The fella in the video clearly states that there “will be a clever, witty host” and an animatronic skipper within the storyline…

    • I didn’t see anything about the elimination of CM boat skippers in the announcement. I did see something about the addition of an audio-animatronic skipper to one of the scenes.

  9. This feels like it should be a good thing. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with the head hunter themed sections of the ride though… I’d like to know more. This portion discussed sounds like a fun idea for sure though.

    • Yeah, def seems like they hit just left of what I expected them to address? I didn’t expect “cultural diversity on the pole but African stereotypes downriver” as their solution.

  10. This has nothing to do with cultural sensitivity, it has to do with making sure Bob employs even less people at his parks so he makes more of a profit. There was literally NO changes made in the name of cultural sensitivity. So having an all-white safari team makes it racist…how? If anything, assuming that African safaris would have people of color is racist. And why do we need a story for the ride anyway? The whole reason to go on this ride is for the skippers and their corny jokes, and this sounds like they’re negating a lot of that. And did they seriously imply that we’re offending chimpanzees by not including that species of animal on the ride? Most of the ride doesn’t even take place in Africa, AND THEY ALREADY HAD GORILLAS!

    • I’m curious where you got the idea that the role of “live skippers with corny jokes” is somehow being diminished. Nothing in this article mentions, or even implies, that they’re being eliminated. In fact, imagineer Kevin Lively directly mentions those Cast Member skippers in his promotional announcement.

  11. I would have preferred them to update the theme of the ride to the Jungle Book, with Mowgli, Baloo, Shere Khan, Kaa, etc.

  12. This is the first update in a long time that’s actually sounded good. It’ll be great to get some semblance of narrative, to get rid of the “savage native” stereotype, but most of all, to watch the racists wring their hands and clutch their pearls.

  13. I’m so tired of this crap! There is no way people or people who are not crazy and want to make something out of nothing can looked at the jungle cruise and be offended. What is happening is people like me who spend LOTS of money are be offended. This is just making people mad and causing people to look at others and be angered. This is doing nothing but making things worse. Faith in the place I have loved and gone to as a child and became a DVC member bring my children and wanted to bring my grandchildren to are really losing me with the bad decisions being made. Disney just stop man! Please!

  14. Seems to me this is nothing more than marketing. Giving backstories to the explorers gives Disney more character figures to sell.

    Fall for the diversity line if you wish, but it’s nothing more than American commercialism

  15. I’m actually kind of surprised by reading this article. When I read that the ride was being updated I assumed it was going to be “we’re taking out the tribal villain figures we realized were problematic awhile ago to the point we added a hokey pokey joke” and not… backstory for the rhino guys?

  16. If they had just announced this as a normal update rather than framing it as a P.C. move, I think most people would welcome it. As it is, however, it just seems like capitulation to a few loud voices whose recreational outrage at everything will quite literally never be appeased.

  17. I am chronically saddened by the plethora of racist Disney fans. If you don’t understand why updates are desperately needed in the name of not being ethnocentric or downright racist, you are beyond privileged – you are a racist, even if it’s so deeply embedded that you don’t realize it. “Don’t change it! I like it!” Say the racists. “Please change it; my children deserve to see our ethnic group represented respectfully,” say the communities who are being misrepresented in everything from Splash to this to Tiki Room.

    • The Disney Parks experience is rooted in childhood memories for many people, and that often is more powerful than any belief. Disney breeds customers to fall in love with their brand and their stories, so when those stories change or are altered, this is an outcome to be expected. I’m not saying there aren’t any racist people who want these things to stay, but the vast majority of people here aren’t racist, they’re just emotionally attached to a lifetime of memories and feelings. I don’t think either side of the argument should be diminished to “racist” or “not racist”. It’s not that simple, despite what these extremists on either side want everyone to believe. A change can be sensitive and thoughtful, or it can be done for the right reasons, but is the wrong thing ( looking st the auction scene in Pirates in particular)

      • I’ve been a Disneyland fanatic over thirty years. I knew it was racist then. Dedication to a racist ride and refusing to see the racism for what it is because of “nostalgia” or dedication is still racism, period. Every single person here who doesn’t understand why it’s racist and isn’t bothering to try is inherently internally racist. Do better.

        • “Do better” is the most grossly condescending thing someone can say. Be a human being to others. They’re not racist for having nostalgia. You can agree it needs to change and still be upset that it is changing. Grow up, you should do better when talking to people.

    • I will also add: We can love and appreciate what Disney created and the land he gave us while ALSO recognizing he was himself racist, that it wasn’t ok then and isn’t now, and positive change that lets others feel included is a good thing.

  18. If Disney wants to be more diverse, they would look deep and ask why we don’t see as many black families or American families of color in their parks.

  19. Oh brother….No one….I mean no one ever complained about the pole climbers as being “culturally insensitive” or thought…I wonder where they are from and what their backstory is….Jesus help us.

  20. I remember being a Jungle Cruise skipper way back when we had only male skippers and real guns with real blanks.

    Sigh

  21. Omg can we all stop being so sensitive or offended to or by everything…..let’s change splash mountain, let’s change pirates of the carribean, let’s change jungle cruise, let’s add disclaimers to every movie ever made that might offend somebody……let’s just save time and close the park or stop making movies…..better yet if YOU are offended stay home or simply not watch said movie…….this is just getting ridiculous…..

  22. I love this change. Putting the skippers even more front and center than they already are is a good thing. Classic attractions are not museums, and should change with the times. And if you can’t handle that, there are plenty of YouTube videos through which you can relive the old version.

  23. If the Jungle Cruise is offensive, why only change the offensive parts? Why not replace the whole thing with another Princess and the Frog themed attraction? They have several Toy Story themed attractions so why not another Tiana ride? The jungle river could easily become a bayou, or would it “NOT MAKE SENSE THEMATICALLY” to have a New Orleans themed attraction in the middle of ADVENTURELAND?

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