9 Wildly Fascinating Facts About Disney's Jungle Cruise Ride

It may not be one of Disney's most thrilling attractions, but Jungle Cruise is definitely a beloved classic. As one of the Disney parks's original rides, it's been around for generations of Disney fan to enjoy. A little bit silly, a little bit exotic, and a little bit familiar, it evokes the Disney magic of yesteryear with its adventure theme and its live guides who love adding puns and cheesy jokes into their tour commentary. But like the Jungle Cruise experience itself, there's a lot beneath the surface of this attraction that even the biggest Disney fans might not know. Keep reading to learn more about the ride's history, its movie connections (it's being turned into a major motion picture!), and its holiday overlay.


It Was Inspired by a Series of Disney Nature Films

Jungle Cruise — and all of Adventureland — was inspired in part by the True-Life Adventures series of nature documentaries that Disney produced in the '50s and '60s. Want proof? Seven of the films — including The African Lion, the direct inspiration for the Jungle Cruise — will be streaming on Disney Plus.


There’s a Jungle Cruise in All but Two Disney Parks Worldwide

Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland all have versions of the Jungle Cruise; Disneyland Paris and Shanghai Disneyland are the only two parks where you won't find the ride.


The Jungle Cruise Movie Has a Long Backstory

You may have heard about the new Jungle Cruise movie set to open in July 2020, but a movie based on the ride was actually being discussed as early as 2006. In 2011, it was announced that the film would star Toy Story buddies Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, but things have changed since then and the movie now stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.


The Jokes Weren't Always Part of the Attraction

The corny jokes, one can argue, truly make the Jungle Cruise what it is. However, that wasn't always the case. When it first opened in 1955, it was pegged as a more serious and educational attraction. The funny jokes weren't added until years later. But how hard is it to imagine the attraction without comments about the backside of water? Don't know about you, but I'd be in de-Nile.


It Contains (Part of) a Famous Movie Prop

The back half of the airplane from the 1942 Humphrey Bogart classic Casablanca can be seen along the Jungle Cruise route in Walt Disney World, just before the hippo pool. The front half of the plane was one of the many classic film props showcased in WDW's Great Movie Ride, which closed in 2017.


It Gets a Holiday Overlay at Christmastime

Every November, the Jungle Cruise transforms into the "Jingle Cruise," with holiday decorations and lights added to the boathouse and the various sights travelers see during their boat ride. Plus, the jokes get holiday-themed as well (ahh, Christmas magic).


Upside-Down Trees Were Part of Its Original Design

The Jungle Cruise was part of the original opening day slate of rides at Disneyland when the park debuted in 1955, and Imagineer Bill Evans had a unique idea to give the attraction an exotic look: uprooting some of the orange trees that grew naturally on the site and replanting them upside down so that the roots were visible.


The Boats Are Named After Famous Rivers

There are 12 boats in use on the Jungle Cruise ride, all named after famous rivers throughout the world. They include Amazon Belle, Nile Princess, Ganges Gal, and Hondo Hattie.


Walt Disney Wanted Real Animals For the Attraction

Walt Disney wanted to incorporate real animals throughout the attraction, but that idea had a number of pitfalls. There wasn't enough space, for one thing, and the animals would require too much upkeep. A zoologist also explained to Walt that many of the animals that he wanted to include were nocturnal and would be sleeping when visitors rode the attraction. That's why mechanical ones are in use instead.