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Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

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  • Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

    I am not sure where I read this- but I believe the Jungle Cruise opened as a straightforward safari type ride. I have heard narration for the ride (it sounded as if it were Thurl Ravenscroft, but that is just a guess) so I think it was meant to be like the Mine Train through Nature's wonderland- straightforward and serious, and based on his true life adventure films.

    Does anyone know anything about this? I read somewhere (and for the life of me I can't remember where) that Walt Disney added skippers after he overheard a guest commenting that he didn't need to ride the Jungle Cruise more than once because it was always the same- and that is why he added the skippers and changed the tone of the attraction, to make people want to come back.

    So what was it like in 1955, does anyone know?
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  • #2
    Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

    Let's see, I was negative 4-10 years old, so...

    I'm guessing that the attraction always had skippers (someone to propel the boat), but the skippers didn't always have a microphone or other audio augmenting devices. I.e., they didn't talk at first.

    Thus, there must have been a date when it converted to a fun ride.
    Keep bumping the thread until someone knowledgeable answers.

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    • #3
      Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

      No, they did talk at first I believe. The Thurl recording was made just for the Tiki Room album in 1963
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      • #4
        Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

        What I have read was that it was a serious attraction at first, similar to Disney's true-life adventures. The skippers would be dramatic about the dangers of the jungle and give facts about the animals and such.

        That seems to suggest that the skippers have always been there. As was already mentioned, someone had to drive the boat.
        "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"
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        • #5
          Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

          as far as I can tell, the boats are on a track, and the only control they have is to be able to speed them up or slow them down. But that is just an assumption on my part- I would love to know what the case is. If they are on a track, then theoretcially, at one time they could have motored on by themselves.

          Or maybe this is just a really dumb question to begin with. :gladsad:
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          • #6
            Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

            Originally posted by dramaqueen
            as far as I can tell, the boats are on a track, and the only control they have is to be able to speed them up or slow them down. But that is just an assumption on my part- I would love to know what the case is. If they are on a track, then theoretcially, at one time they could have motored on by themselves.

            Or maybe this is just a really dumb question to begin with. :gladsad:
            Actually, this is one of the better questions I've seen here.
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            • #7
              Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

              A really nice article on the history of the Jungle Cruise would be nice, if anyone had the information to do so. JHM is doing half a story on Star Tours. This can be his excuse for not finishing that series.

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              • #8
                Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

                yes it is on a track






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                • #9
                  Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

                  Originally posted by dramaqueen
                  as far as I can tell, the boats are on a track, and the only control they have is to be able to speed them up or slow them down.
                  First of all, not a dumb question at all. Better than most.

                  The ride is definitely on a track. There are places that if the operator goes too fast, it can derail the boat. This makes supervisors mad. I believe you can get fired for it. Supposedly though, when maintenence was called to re-rail the boat, they would cover for the guys that did it because they got four hours of scuba pay. This is all according to "Mouse Tales" by David Koenig, BTW.

                  I just kinda think that it would have lost a lot of effect if there was no skipper. Who would shoot at the hippos?
                  "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"
                  - Satchel Paige

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                  • #10
                    Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

                    While the ride was under refurbishment, we took pictures of the canal while it was drained and empty (along the Indy walk-way). The tracks are pretty clear in the pics. Sorry, though, they weren't taken with the digital...

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                    • #11
                      Re: Has the Jungle Cruise always had skippers?

                      Yes, they are on a track. And Yes it was a serious ride. I read not too long ago (from a reliable source) that the first skipper that cracked a joke on the JC was fired! Boy have things changed in 50 years!!


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