A Look at the Jungle Cruise

There are many thrills at Disneyland and many different adventures to embark on. The many different rides at Disneyland each send you on a different journey and take you to a different place. Often some classic rides are overshadowed by the bigger thrill rides. One of these unnoticed classic rides is The Jungle Cruise. Everyone knows the Jungle Cruise, and some groan at the mention of it. But behind the well known jokes is a classic ride, one Walt was proud of creating.

But what is it about the Jungle Cruise that makes people shy away at the mention of it?

People don’t realize the magic and history behind the Jungle Cruise. Let’s shed some light on this infamous ride. The Jungle Cruise is the original Disneyland ride, and being such it has a lot of history behind it. As one of the first rides ever at Disneyland, the Jungle Cruise has been showing off its animals for almost 50 years. Also, did you know the boats on the Jungle Cruise were inspired by the boats in the movie “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart? This ride was Walt’s dream, although his original dream included real animals! The original Jungle Cruise was actually supposed to be connected to the Rivers of America and include orange trees as part of the jungle vegetation.

Here are some other interesting bits of information on the Jungle Cruise. The waters that run through the Rivers of America and the Jungle Cruise are actually clear, but dyed to a green color to help conceal the workings that go on under water. The guns on the Jungle Cruise are infamous, but they also reportedly have a hidden purpose behind them. Not only a way to keep the hippos a safe distance away, the guns are also used to signal emergencies during a trip. The firing code* is as follows:

1. Two shots = All clear
2. Three shots = Mechanical difficulty
3. Four shots = Medical or security emergency
4. Six shots = Boat derailed

The ride experience on the Jungle Cruise is completely different than any other ride experience in the park. How much fun you get out of the Cruise all depends on one thing: your Jungle Cruise Skipper. Sure the animals are fun to see and the “jungle” atmosphere is amazing considering your in the middle of Southern California, but it is ultimately the cruise skipper that can make or break a great ride experience. The best skippers, I find, are usually the ones that interact with the tourists (oh my! Did I just call myself a tourist?!) and stray a little from the “traditional” jokes. The skipper’s who use the skill of improvisation will make a trip more memorable and more fun than a skipper that sticks to the routine jokes. It’s the little touches a skipper will add to his or her routine that can make all the difference on how you go through the ride. It seems that the skippers begin to get freer with their jokes towards the end of the day, so it becomes a better ride for adults than for children. Plus, the night setting of the Jungle Cruise is very eerie! The animals almost seem to be real which add’s to the spookiness!

There is a lot of history and a lot of love behind the Jungle Cruise. Walt’s vision and dream of having an “animal attraction” came true and there is no other ride like it at another park. Walt’s dedication to having this ride is evident with the story that he rode it to make sure it was exactly seven minutes long. It is sad it will be closing (shortly) for renovation before the big 50 Anniversary but it will still be the same simple Jungle Cruise we all love (even if for some of us it is way deep down in our hearts … WAY deep down).

*While this information could be found in several different locations, it is not officially confirmed (but very interesting nonetheless). Source: DAPs for Disney Magic Review – Dee Garcia

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