Jungle Cruise to Receive Story and Diversity Updates at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World

Guests visiting Disneyland or Magic Kingdom will soon experience a new version of a classic attraction. Today, the Disney Parks Blog announced that Imagineers will be making changes to the world’s famous Jungle Cruise.

What’s Happening:

  • Jungle Cruise attractions at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will soon be updated with a new storyline among other adjustments.
  • While these changes will retain the humor and fun of the current experience, Disney says they will also “reflect and value the diversity of the world around us.” Imagineer Chris Beatty added that “this is not a re-envisioning of the entire attraction. It’s the Jungle Cruise you know and love, with the skippers still leading the way.”
  • With the update will come a new story as guests aboard the journey will follow what happened to another skipper and his passengers when their adventure went awry.
  • It also teases that guests will discover what became of the Mekong Maiden and Kwango Kate boats.
  • Think of the famous rhino pole scene, where a 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. According to Imagineer Chris Beatty, that is where the new storyline will kick off. “Did you ever wonder who those explorers were or where they came from? 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. They each have great personalities, 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.”

  • Imagineer and former Skipper Kevin Lively shared more in a video:

  • Additionally, a post from the Walt Disney World Ambassador took a look at some Skipper reactions to the news:

  • Although Walt Disney Studios is set to release the film Jungle Cruise later this year, the attraction update is apparently not tied to the movie.
  • It’s unclear when the current Jungle Cruise attractions at Walt Disney World Resort will close for these updates or if the Disneyland version will reopen with them in place. Both resorts are slated to receive the same story treatments and changes.
  • However, in an interview with D23, Disney Imagineering Creative Portfolio Executive Chris Beatty said, “We haven’t announced a date yet. We’re working hard to make sure we can get everything in this year.”

What They’re Saying:

  • Kim Irvine, Executive Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering: “The Jungle Cruise has changed course many times over the years always with the idea that the adventures along the river change from day-to-day I’m fortunate to be part of the Jungle Cruise team that is carrying forward a Disney tradition of change and enhancement that was encouraged by Walt Disney.”
  • Chris Beatty, Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering: “When we consider making changes to a classic attraction, we focus on ways to ‘plus’ the experience. The skippers of the Jungle Cruise bring humor to guests of all ages and we’re excited to be adding to that legacy along with a new animated Skipper figure by celebrating their adventures and influence”
  • Carmen Smith, Executive, Creative Development and Inclusion Strategies, Walt Disney Imagineering: “As Imagineers it is our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspectives of the world around us. With jungle Cruise we are bringing to life more of what people love –  the humor and wit of our incredible skippers, while making needed updates.“
  • Kevin Lively, Disney Imagineer and former Jungle Cruise Skipper: As part of the story update, we’ll get to follow a skipper and his passengers as their journey goes awry. That’s right, for the first time ever, the skipper role will not only be that of a live experienced and witty guide, but also represented by a show figure within the attraction itself. In fact, the expedition will be up a tree (literally!) after their sunken boat splits apart and chimps board the wreckage, with monkey business ensuing. But that’s not even half of the whole story. Fans of the jungle Cruise attraction may recall some boats that used to make their way around the river but haven’t been seen for a while, specifically the Mekong Maiden and the Kwango Kate. Ever wonder what happened to them? Well, you might go ape when you find out! Ultimately, the jungle gets the last laugh.”