A lot of my friends are curious about WHY The Jungle Cruise is one of my all time favorite attractions. They are also curious about why it is always the first attraction we ride in the Magic Kingdom. Simple – it is pure Walter Elias Disney!!
We all understand that it is old, the jokes told by the boat captains are horribly corny, the Animatronics are not very sophisticated, and frankly it has no surprises or real excitement. For us though, it sets us up for the rest of our time at the Magic Kingdom. While Epcot is still our favorite park there is no doubt that the Magic Kingdom is still and always will be the most magical and The Jungle Cruise is part of that magic.
Just because the attraction is old it’s not neglected. The maintenance is absolutely up to Disney standards and I have no doubt it always will be. As a matter of fact in 1994 the queue was completely redone to add capacity – maybe it’s not just me who loves it. The old time radio broadcast we all enjoy while standing in line was added at that time also. The boats were redone in 1998 to make them look older and more well worn. The Jungle Cruise was also a learning tool for the horticulturists and landscape designers at Walt Disney as they learned a lot about how to group plants and create the effects they wanted using plantings. I think we all recognize how amazing the plant use in all of Walt Disney World is today and a lot of the credit goes to the folks who designed the Jungle cruise plantings. Thanks to the “Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom” for a lot of these facts.
As a bit of a Disney purist I love when the originals stay basically the same but I still enjoy upgrading and changing when it is appropriate. For example, I love the upgrade to the Haunted Mansion and I really was not a happy camper when they removed the wand from Spaceship Earth that was placed there for the Millennium Celebration. Let’s just leave the core of the Jungle Cruise just the way it is because I don’t believe significant changes are warranted to this one of a kind attraction that has so much history attached to it. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!