Disney gently opened the last of its classic attractions for a makeover. The jungle cruise was announced to reopen on July 16 at Disneyland, but park guests began posting their thoughts on – and footage of – the re-imagined ride on Friday as its Steam Wanderers again began to accept. passengers. (The Disney World Jungle Cruise is slated to relaunch “this summer”.)
The number one goal, according to Chris Beatty, director of Disney Imagineering, was to “stay classic. It must be the jungle cruise that everyone knows and loves.
The second imperative, said Beatty, was “to bring a sense of inclusiveness to this project. We want to make sure that everyone who does the Jungle Cruise can see themselves in the characters and the experience. “
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Here is the official video from the Disney Parks Blog reintroducing the merry-go-round:
New adventures await you on the famous Jungle Cruise! Go behind the scenes with Disney Imagineers to learn about the new characters, the expanded storyline, and the fun surprises to come @Disneyland July 16 and @WaltDisneyWorld this summer: https://t.co/XotMYaCgSV pic.twitter.com/URc9xbXgjg
– Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) July 9, 2021
The most obvious change is that any characterization of so-called “natives”, one of whom had a number of shrunken heads and other who appeared to be cannibals, was removed.
Upgrades include several new scenes and new characters that replace or reimagine the old ones. For example, there is now a safari that ends up in a tree trapped by a rhino and hyenas.
This rhino had previously threatened a number of frightened “natives” wearing what appeared to be fez.
And there are monkeys. Many more monkeys, including a troop that took over the Mekong Maiden.
The vast majority of the smooth opening reactions from park visitors were positive. A woman who posted a video on Saturday wrote simply, “Really good cruise! With a thumbs-up emoji. Another recent visitor called that “really special”.
But some were nostalgic and even feared the ride would be less fun. On Friday, a commentator named “Ken” posted the following response at the bottom of the official Disney Parks blog post:
Looks like it turned into the Jungle “Chimp” cruise – Monkeys and more monkeys! How about Trader Sam at Trader Sam’s gift shop? A huge misstep! You’ve certainly created a generic, non-offensive Trader Sam character calling on the boats to try and sell guest trinkets – that would have been so much more fun than more monkeys and would have kept Trader Sam’s legacy alive.
Note: Trader Sam’s gift shop still seems to be part of the ride, but Trader Sam, who was also pictured holding his head shrunken, has apparently gone.