In January, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would be "embarking on what many view as a long-overdue course correction for the Jungle Cruise" attractions at both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida. And now, those updates to make them more inclusive are nearly ready to share with park goers: the Disneyland Park Jungle Cruise ride will officially reopen on July 16 (the WDW attraction updates are expected to be complete later this summer).
One of the earliest attractions that families could visit when Disneyland first opened its doors in 1955, Jungle Cruise's concept was initially based on nature documentaries. However, Disney fans have called out aspects of the original ride — such as scenes along the attraction's route that depict indigenous people in barbaric ways — as offensive.
"We're excited to be building on the story of the Jungle Cruise to include new adventures that stay true to the experience we know and love, while adding more humor, more wildlife, and an interconnected story," Chris Beatty, an imagineer who led creative development of the updates, said in a press release. "As part of creative development, we've also introduced characters from around the world and took a thoughtful approach to ensure accurate representation of cultures in our story."
"With Jungle Cruise, we're bringing to life more of what people love — the humor and wit of our incredible skippers, while making needed updates."
Jungle Cruise isn't the first Disney attraction to get a significant update based on inclusivity. In June 2020, Disney announced it was changing Splash Mountain — which is based on the controversial 1946 film, Song of the South — to a Princess and the Frog-themed ride. In 2018, Disney updated the problematic auction scene in its Pirates of the Caribbean attraction to depict women selling stolen goods, rather than pirates selling women into marriage.
Focused on improving the visitor experience, Disney executives are taking a hard look at which attractions need changes. "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," Imagineering executive Carmen Smith said in January. "With Jungle Cruise, we're bringing to life more of what people love — the humor and wit of our incredible skippers, while making needed updates."
Disney fans will also be happy to learn that Jungle Cruise, the movie based on the ride starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, is coming out on July 30 after its initial 2020 release date was postponed due to the pandemic. Take a closer look at what to expect from the updated ride in the concept art ahead.