- 1 Background
- 2 Appearances and allusions
- 3 Connections
- 4 Trivia
- 5 References
Doctor Albert Falls was a scientist and explorer known for his ability to navigate the remote waters of the rivers of the world and his sense of humor. He would come to be a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers by the 1880s. Albert would marry a fellow adventurer by the name of Victoria Marie Falls and together they had a son named Albert Falls, Jr..
Among his discoveries was that of a Sunken Cambodian Temple known to some as the "Shir Lee Temple" on June 5, 1888 within the Mekong river of Cambodia. His most famous discovery however was Schweitzer Falls and the "backside of water" on August 12, 1891.
In 1903, Albert traversed the Mbei River in the West-African country of Gabon and was later commemorated by the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. At some point in time, the doctor became acquainted with the Adventure Trading Company and was gifted an Elephant Juju by them due to his adept skills in tracking.
In 1911, he would establish the Jungle Navigation Company with the help of the families Cruz, Lyons, DeNyle and Temple. The JNC served as a shipping company he had hoped would improve the way cargo moved up and down remote jungle rivers around the world for his fellow explorers and adventurers. The headquarters of the JNC would also serve as his home, where he would entertain members of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers in a hidden meeting room located in his library. In the same year as the Jungle Navigation Company's founding, Albert Jr. and his wife Sneh had a daughter in the form of Alberta Falls, making Victoria and Dr. Albert grandparents.
When his granddaughter Alberta Falls turned eight in 1919, she was sent to live with her paternal grandparents as her father recognized an adventurous spirit in her that would not be content with him traveling on the lecture circuit. Dr. Albert and his Skippers would become a second family to her and would frequently take her across the globe on adventures to locations such as New Zealand and Mystic Point. In 1928, Dr. Albert Falls mysteriously disappeared and left Alberta as the new head of the Jungle Navigation Company. Train tickets dated to 1940 suggest Falls may have eventually re-appeared.
Dr. Falls' name was originally a one-off joke in the attraction as Schweitzer Falls was actually named for historic humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer. In the original spiels for the attraction, the dialogue which skippers would say while passing the falls was that they were named for, "Schweitzer Falls, named for Dr. Albert Schweitzer who has done so much for the people of Africa".. When the attraction became more comedic, this would become satirized by saying it was named for one, "Dr. Albert Falls".
It wasn't until Skipper Canteen opened in 2015 that he was developed into an actual character. During the initial opening of the restaurant however he was represented via a portrait of a historic New Jersey state governor which was later replaced with an original painting of the doctor.
Appearances and allusions
The Daily Gnus newsletter mentions Dr. Falls as a recipient of the Elephant Juju in 1903, thanks to his discovery of Schweitzer Falls, among others.
His portrait can be seen within a doctored photograph of characters from the non-Disney film The African Queen and Albert the Monkey aboard a Jungle Cruise boat just off-shore from the Trapped Safari at the African Veldt.
During the Tiki Takeover event, a train-ticket used by Albert in 1940 was added into Club 33's menus. This was for a train passage from Chicago to Anaheim occurring on the February 22 of 1940.
The character of Dr. Albert Falls originates from a joke told when arriving at Schweitzer Falls, where the skipper refers to the waterfall's namesake being "Dr. Albert Falls", subverting the guest expectation of expecting the namesake to be real explorer Dr. Albert Schweitzer. In recent years, the joke has been extended to reflect Albert Falls's status as the founder of the JNC.
The 2021 refurbishment of the American Jungle Cruises would add annotated maps of the Rivers of Adventureland to the queue. These featured field notes from a 13 day expedition that Albert Falls undertook in 1911, assembled into their current form by Alberta in 1931 for the 20th anniversary of the JNC. Aboard the wreckage of the Mekong Maiden/Kwango Kate, a chimpanzee can be seen playing with a copy of the opposite version's river map, presumably packed by the unlucky Skipper Felix.
Dr. Albert Falls was primarily developed as a character to serve the restaurant's backstory. Portraits of him and Alberta can be found in the waiting area, along with various award certificates for his discoveries as well as Businessman of the Year certificates from the Adventureland Chamber of Commerce, with his last being dated around 1928. Books written by Dr. Falls on the Library shelves include "A Small Village With A Large Heart" and "Rockefeller, Hippo, Pet, Family". Within the restaurant's SEA meeting room is a painting of his discovery of the Shir Lee Temple hanging above the fireplace mantle and his membership fez in a display case.
The Tropical Hideaway
Dr. Falls is one of the SEA members that have contributed to The Tropical Hideaway's wall of expedition paddles, with his coming from a 1903 trip on the Mbei River in Gabon.
A live character of Dr. Falls appeared at a Destination D event in 2016.
In Other media
Jungle Cruise (film)
The spearhead that sets the story of the upcoming Jungle Cruise film into motion has a collection label on its box indicating that Dr. Falls collected it.
Club 33 mentions Albert using the, "Missouri Pacific Railway". This is an allusion to the Disneyland Railroad which is most notably accessed via Main Street, U.S.A., a land set in Missouri and which was inspired by Walt Disney's Carolwood-Pacific Railroad.
One of the late suitors of Mélanie Ravenswood featured in this attraction was one Captain Rowan D. Falls. Rowan was the riverboat captain of the Mark Twain Riverboat and died somewhere along the rivers of Thunder Mesa after Mélanie's father Henry sent him over the side of a waterfall in the 1850s. Based off of their shared surname and occupation it is theorized that Rowan might be an ancestor or at least relative of Albert's.
- Certain elements of Dr. Falls' history parallel Dr. Albert Schweitzer for example:
- Dr. Albert Falls' moustache appears to be modelled after the moustache of the historic Dr. Schweitzer.
- In 1903 Dr. Falls traversed the rivers of Gabon where Dr. Schweitzer most famously worked. Possibly incidentally, 1903 is the year Dr. Schweitzer became permanent Principal of the Theological College of Saint Thomas.
- It is unknown if in-lore the, "Schweitzer" portion of its naming had any connection to the historic Dr. Schweitzer. Albert Schweitzer would have only been 16 at the time of Schweitzer Falls' discovery.
- Based off of his 1888 portrait in which Albert was somewhere between his 20s and early 40s, it is likely that Albert was born at some point roughly between 1845 and 1865.
- Albert Falls age is a mystery but some speculations can be made using his model of Dr. Albert Schweitzer as a base.
- If Albert went missing in 1928 at the same age that Dr. Schweitzer died, then that would make him have disappeared at the age of 90. This would make him have been born in 1838. This also would have made him 50 when he discovered the Cambodian ruins, 53 upon discovering Schweitzer Falls, and 73 when he founded the Jungle Navigation Company. It should be noted that Falls does not appear to be in his 50s within the portrait showing his discovery of the Cambodian ruins.
- If the 1911 portrait of Falls is intended to be the same age as the Dr. Schweitzer when he had been most highly photographed between 1952 and 1960, this would make him be born between 1826 and 1834.