The Jungle Cruise is an attraction found at Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland. One of Disneyland's opening day attractions, the Jungle Cruise takes a journey through Rivers of Adventure throughout Asia, Africa and South America.
- 1 Backstory
- 2 Summary
- 3 Spin-offs
- 3.1 Attractions
- 3.2 Overlays
- 3.3 Film
- 3.4 Printed media
- 3.5 Games
- 4 Connections
- 5 References
The Jungle Navigation Company is an organization which was founded in 1911 by one Dr. Albert Falls, a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Originally the Jungle Navigation Company was a shipping company but it hit on hard times following the economic downturn of the Great Depression in the 1930s. This lead to then-president Alberta Falls (Dr. Albert's granddaughter) establishing the service of the Jungle Cruise, an exotic riverboat tour run across the globe which attracted business with tourists and Hollywood filmmakers. The first Jungle Cruise sailed on the October 1 of 1931, thanks to Alberta's efforts.
The Jungle Cruise (like Adventureland itself) was inspired by Walt Disney's True-Life Adventure, "documentary" films in addition to pulp films such as The African Queen. It was originally proposed by Walt Disney to have live animals and function similarly to a zoo but due to numerous complications with this idea, audio-animatronic animals were used instead (although this idea was later recycled for the attraction Kilimanjaro Safaris). The plant-life featured in the attraction however was real with it having several tropical and exotic flora, under the view of imagineer and horticulturist Bill Evans.
The attraction originally aimed at a somewhat realistic (albeit glamorized) adventure tone with very campy and, "Clean" looking boats being used for guest transport. The attraction was initially heavily developed by Imagineer Harper Goff but in the 1960s received several major additions developed by Disney animator and imagineer Marc Davis. With this refurbishment it received a heavier emphasis on comedy and visual gags with skippers being encouraged to ad-lib and do improv comedy on the ride's route.
In the 1990s, the attraction received an extensive refurbishment made to tie into the recently constructed attraction Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. This refurbishment gave the attraction a more realistic facade and boats, themed to being worn and faded boats in the 1930s. Several new characters and backstory elements were introduced into the mythology of the attraction, tying into the story of Indiana Jones Adventure. Additionally while the attraction retained its focus on comedy, improv comedy and 4th wall humour became discouraged with skippers being given scripts based on more popular improvised jokes along with the attraction's new lore.
In 2021 it was released that the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom would be updated with a new storyline. Said storyline being said to feature the fates of the missing boats the Kwango Kate and Mekong Maiden along with a narrative involving the tour's skipper. Said refurbishment also functioning the update the attraction and remove many of its inappropriate racial stereotypes.
Guests enter a Jungle Navigation Company boathouse along the Mekong River in Cambodia. Throughout the queue in the radio station the Global Broadcasting Service, hosted by one Nigel Greenwater. Greenwater relays messages for explorers and affiliates of the Jungle Navigation Company while also referencing the nearby and recent archaeological events headed by one Indiana Jones, establishing the attraction as being set in 1935.
After boarding the boats, they pass by the open corridors of the boathouse then head out into the Mekong's Lost Delta. The boats pass by the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, an ancient Cambodian temple of the goddess Mara which Indiana Jones and his affiliates in the Lost Delta Archaeological Expedition are in the process of excavating. The boats pass into buddhist temple ruins inhabited by king cobras, giant spider-webs, and a large tiger. Following this the Mekong connects to an Indian elephant bathing pool where several pachyderms spray water and lay in shallow water and a small waterfall.
After this the boats embark on the Congo River of Sub Saharan Africa, passing by a Jungle Navigation Company safari camp has been overrun by a family of gorillas, who are playing with all of their things. A jeep is turned over, with the wheels spinning on the top while the outpost is left in ruin. The boats go on to enter the Nile River in Northern Africa where they pass by Schweitzer Falls, named for explorer and Jungle Navigation Company founder Dr. Albert Falls. The boats then pass by the African Veldt which is filled with a large assortment of African animals, looking upon a cave of lions which are feasting upon a dead zebra.
Continuing along the veldt the boats pass by a group of explorers that have climbed up a watchtower as a rhinoceros pokes the lowest one in the rear with its horn while a trio of hyenas, "laugh" at their expense. The boats enter a hippo pool where they are attacked by hippopotamus. To narrowly escape the threat, the skipper scares them off by waving a rifle and yelling at them before making its escape. The boats subsequently enter headhunter territory where several members of the native camp are partaking in a war celebration ceremony. The boat is then ambushed by several mask-wearing headhunter warriors wielding spears who cry out while trying to make their kill. The boat passes underneath Schweitzer Falls, seeing the world famous, 8th wonder of the world, the backside of water.
The boats go on the the Amazon river in the Amazon rainforest where piranhas jump out of the waters to try and prey on the guests in the boats. Going deeper into the Amazon, they pass by a large constrictor snake engaging with a large water-buffalo. The boats then encounter Trader Sam and his pet baby elephant Ellie. Sam offers to sell his famous shrunken heads, two of his for one of yours. The skipper encourages you to partake in his business and might give you background on Sam before moving forward. The boats subsequently move by docks of another outpost where a package for one José is waiting to be delivered while a talking cockatoo named Rosita sings and cracks jokes, occasionally acknowledging the boat riders. The boats then return to the docks of the Mekong River and the guests disembark back into the boathouse.
Walt Disney World
Guests enter a Jungle Navigation Company establishment in the Amazon Rainforest along the Amazon river. The queue consists of pun-filled signs and themed decorations, such as animal cages, maps, and chalkboards with the names of skippers. An announcer named Albert Awol of AWOL Airwaves speaks over the radio and plays music from the early 20th century while relaying message for JNC employees and customers. Eventually, guests board a boat on the Amazon from docks across from the riverside shack of one O.I. Cyhu.
Setting out in the boats, the boats find giant butterflies are perched on the tree stumps and rocks surrounding the river; passing by Inspiration Falls which inspires them to go deeper into the jungle. The attraction then shifts to the Congo River in Sub Saharan Africa where speared skulls are sticking out of the top are hiding between the trees, and a book is sitting on a crate. The Skipper brings the boat to a Pygmy welcoming party but no one is there, just three canoes and more spears with skulls. A large ball python sits in a tree, before coming to the Skipper's camp. Unfortunately, the camp has been overrun by a family of gorillas, who are playing with all of their things. A jeep is turned over, with the wheels spinning on the top while the camp is in ruins.
On the Nile river boats then pass by two African elephants before coming upon the African Veldt which is filled with a large assortment of African animals, looking upon a cave of lions which are feasting upon a dead zebra. Continuing along the veldt the boats pass by a group of explorers that have climbed up a watchtower as a rhinoceros pokes the lowest one in the rear with its horn while a trio of hyenas, "laugh" at their expense. The boats go on to enter, "Crocodile Country" which is filled with tribal totems and pass by two crocodiles that the skipper identifies as Smiley and Ginger. The boats go on to enter the Nile River in Northern Africa where they pass by Schweitzer Falls, named for explorer and Jungle Navigation Company founder Dr. Albert Falls. After this, the backside of a wrecked airplane belonging to the airline company Aero-Casablanca is witnessed, crashed in the jungle. The boats enter a hippo pool where they are attacked by hippopotamus. To narrowly escape the threat, the skipper scares them off by waving a rifle and yelling at them before making its escape. The boats subsequently enter headhunter territory where several members of the native camp are partaking in a war celebration ceremony. The boat is then ambushed by several mask-wearing headhunter warriors wielding spears who cry out while trying to make their kill. The boat passes underneath Schweitzer Falls, seeing the world famous, 8th wonder of the world, the backside of water.
The boats go on to approach the ruins of an ancient buddhist temple, nicknamed by the skipper as, "Shir Lee's Temple" while crocodiles pop up from the river waters. Despite skippers being disallowed by JNC to enter the temple due to its dangers, a recently occurred natural disaster has the skipper choose to take a detour through the ruins. The skipper goes silent as the boats enter the dark temple ruins where it encounters a fierce tiger, giant spiders, king cobras, and monkeys scavenging ancient treasures. Following this the Mekong connects to a secret Indian elephant bathing pool where several pachyderms spray water and lay in shallow water and a small waterfall.
The boats return to the Amazon rainforest where they encounter the native Chief Nah-Mee, a cousin of Trader Sam who wears a tunic made from an old Jungle Cruise boat. He offers to sell his famous shrunken heads; two of his for one of yours. The boats return to the Jungle Navigation Company's Amazon docks and the guests disembark.
In Tokyo Disneyland, the Jungle Cruise is known as Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions and has guests entering from a boathouse in an African city. Outside of the boats traveling the opposite direction, the ride experience is near identical to that of Walt Disney World's Jungle Cruise. Its message is oriented towards the preservation of nature, the ride features music from the Lion King and each skipper is equipped with three mystical totems; The Tiger of Courage, the Elephant of Wisdom, and the Monkey of Cleverness. Within the temple, the three totems bring artwork of animals on the wall to life in a celebration of nature.
Hong Kong Disneyland
This attraction outside of Walt Disney World's Jungle Cruise had guests taking up training at the Jungle Expedition Skipper Training School, namely under the services of witch-doctor Colonel Nedley "Shrunken Ned" Lostmore. In this attraction, guests piloted miniature remote-control boats in a water course to train them to be hired as skippers.
The Skipper Canteen is a restaurant in the Adventureland of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It is themed to being the headquarters of the Jungle Navigation Company and former ancestral home of the Falls family which founded and ran it. In addition to this it held the Falls' family's library and a meeting place for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers of which Albert was a member. In 1938, Alberta would open the headquarters up as the Skipper Canteen restaurant to make additional profit from their customers.
Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel is themed to being a 1940s Tiki Bar in the Polynesian Isles run by the Jungle Cruise character of Trader Sam. Letters in the bar reveal that he was assisted in opening up the bar by the Jungle Navigation Company, namely by a JNC manager named Skip. The bar is decorated with mementos of Sam's long (possibly immortal) history and enchanted memorabilia within his collection which detail his encounters with other Disney characters and locations.
Trader Sam's Grog Grotto in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort is themed to being a 1950s-1960s tiki bar that Sam opened in a Polynesian Village following the success of his first establishment. He is still shown to be assisted by the JNC manager Skip though few direct allusions to the Jungle Cruise exist within the bar.
The Tropical Hideaway is a restaurant in Disneyland's Jungle Cruise located between the docks of the Jungle Cruise and Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. It is themed as a Polynesian island restaurant located on the same unspecified island as the Jungle Cruise where there is apparent Jungle Navigation Company operations within its rivers. Rosita waits for a JNC boat to deliver her to her next show, a package for José waits on the docks and there is a wall commemorating different river expeditions of the Society of Explorers of Adventurers, including that of Dr. Albert Falls.
In 2013, Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom opened a special holiday overlay of the Jungle Cruise, similar to other attractions like It's a Small World Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday. The attraction remained mostly the same, but with holiday decorations and jokes to celebrate the season. In 2017, Disneyland stopped doing the overlay, but it continues to play at the Magic Kingdom during the holiday season.
This Halloween overlay of the attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland centers on disgraced S.E.A. member Professor Garrett Reed. He stole a Jungle Cruise boat to search for the enchanted Emerald Trinity in an effort to gain immortality. Indiana Jones and Lord Henry Mystic expressed concern over his thievery, warning that ill would come if he collected all three pieces of the trinity.
The Jungle Cruise (film)
The Jungle Cruise is being developed into a live-action film starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in the vain of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
The Skipper Survival Guide was a piece of printed-media made for Jungle Cruise cast-members during it's overhaul to tie in with the nearby Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. While containing certain erroneous dates and plot-holes in the continuity, it is a backstory for the Jungle Cruise's operations, animals, history and settings as told by fictional characters within the ride's story.
In other media, the Jungle Cruise has been a major component of the Tales from Adventureland book series.
In this game, players take on the role of skippers for the Jungle Navigation Company who must transport cargo from the company's boathouse to their headquarters. They also transport passengers belonging to the families Lyons, Cruz, Temple and DeNyle which assisted Dr. Albert Falls in the establishment of the JNC. During a vacation of company president Alberta Falls, one of these families has been named temporary caretakers of the Jungle Navigation Company and must be transported to company HQ.
Walt Disney's Adventureland Game
The Jungle Cruise was the predominate inspiration behind this vintage board-game in-which guests commanded Jungle Cruise boats.
The Skipper Survival Guide handed to Disneyland cast members named Indiana Jones as a passenger on the Jungle Cruise, in his search for the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. The Temple of the Forbidden Eye is actually passed by on the Disneyland version of the ride. Indiana Jones is mentioned as having been an enemy of Prof. Garrett Reed in the backstory for Curse of the Emerald Trinity.
During the Indiana Jones: Summer of Hidden Mysteries event, objects affiliated with Jones' collection could be found scattered around the Jungle Cruise during this time. This included a life preserver from the CORONADO, the headdress of Mola Ram, Lao Che's diamond, the Cross of Coronado, the Golden Idol of Fertility, the umbrella of Henry Jones Sr., the staff of Ra, Nurhache's urn, the Sankara Stones, Henry Jones Sr.'s journal, Indiana's eagle-scout hat, the crate of the Ark of the Covenant, and a carving for the Crystal Skull found in the possession of Trader Sam.
In Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar's lost & found is a collection of umbrellas next to a shrunken head, possibly referencing Chief Nah-Mee having been a past patron of the bar. The logbook also has reference to a Jungle Navigation Company skipper having given Jock a tour of Schweitzer Falls in 1943, inspiring the Safari Sangria.
A photo at the Bengal Barbecue at Disneyland features Albert the Monkey sitting on a Jungle Cruise boat with Allnut and Rose Sayer from The African Queen. Lord Mystic is also mentioned in the backstory for Curse of the Emerald Trinity.
One of Melanie Ravenswood's suitors from Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris is called Rowan D. Falls. He was the captain of the Mark Twain Riverboat. Given his name and his profession, he could be a relative or ancestor of Dr. Falls.
Society of Explorers and Adventurers
Dr. Albert Falls was a member of S.E.A. and used the JNC's headquarters in what would become the Skipper Canteen as a meeting place. The bookshelf contains titles from various men and women associated with the society. Paraphernalia from S.E.A. members, including society fezzes, are on display in the room. The book shelf is filled with titled connected to different attractions, both in and out of the S.E.A. universe.
Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room
The Tropical Hideaway at Disneyland sits between the Jungle Cruise and the Tiki Room, and features references to both attractions. Rosita, a former Tiki bird, is waiting on the dock for a boat from the JNC to take her away, so she can start her solo career. In the pre-show at the Magic Kingdom, Claude and Clyde Birdbrain describe their journeys on the Jungle Cruise when they first came upon the Sunshine Pavilion and the Tiki Room. They describe scenes from the attraction, such as an encounter with a giant python.
Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, which is owned by Trader Sam from the attraction, includes a statue of the Tiki Goddess of Disaster Uh-Oa from The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management. She comes to life when a drink named after her is ordered, and when guests and cast members chant her name.