Jungle Cruise

Ken Eslick of DisneylandPostcards.net shares some great vintage postcard images of the Jungle Cruise. These postcards are dated 1956 to 1966. Join us for a trip back in time to the Jungle Cruise's first decade:

The queue and station are themed as the headquarters and boathouse of a River Expedition Company, located in a (presumably British) Colony of the 1930s. The queuing area is cluttered with appropriate props, such as pinned insects under glass, an old radio on top of the bookshelf, and a chessboard with miniature animals and decorated shotgun shells replacing the pieces. The extended queue winds upstairs, underneath an animatronic hornbill, and then downstairs again. Big band music from the 1930s plays overhead, punctuated by jungle-related news bulletins by the legendary fictional character Albert Awol , helping to reinforce the setting and threading together the show scenes and boat.

Once aboard the boats, the guests are introduced to their skipper and they head into the jungle (allegedly never to return). The first river simulated is the Irrawaddy_River of Burma, reflecting South-east Asia and parts of the Mekong Delta. The boats sail through a dense rainforest, and an ancient Cambodian shrine where they see a Bengal Tiger, giant spiders, king cobras and crocodiles.

Passing Hindu statues, the boats enter the Sacred Indian Elephant Bathing Pool where dozens of Indian elephants frolic in the water and squirt water at the passing vessels. The theme transitions to the rivers of Africa, and riders see a family of baboons, and safari camp that has been overrun by gorillas. The boats careen past the dramatic waterfall Schweitzer Falls, between two African Elephants, and large termite mounds.

A tableau of the African Veldt follows, showing zebras, wildebeest, and giraffes watch a pride of lions feasting on a zebra beneath a rocky outcropping. Beyond the lion's den, an angry rhinoceros has chased a safari party up a tree. Antelope and hyenas watch from nearby. The skipper then pilots the boat into a large pool, disturbing a pod of hippos that signal their intent to attack the boat. Armed with a gun (filled with blanks), the skipper fires into the air to frighten them away. Drums and chanting are heard as the boats come to headhunter country.

The vehicles pass a native village before sailing into an ambush by natives wielding spears, (the sound effects for which are usually provided by the skipper). The boats pass behind Schweitzer Falls (known as "the Backside of Water") to enter the Amazon River. Skeletal animal remains and warning signs featuring pictures of dagger-toothed fish forewarn the next show scene, where the boats encounter a swarm of leaping piranha. The guests then pass a pool of water buffalo, and meet shrunken head dealer Trader Sam before returning to the dock.

The Daveland website has an incredible inventory of Jungle Cruise photos through the years. You can see them here: http://davelandweb.com/junglecruise/:

"Those of you adventurers entering the world-famous Jungle Cruise, please notice there are two lines, one on the right and the other on the left. If you'd like to keep your family together, please stay in the same line. However, if there is someone in your family you'd like to get rid of, just put them in the opposite line and you'll never see them again."

ThemedAttraction.com has compiled a comprehensive list of Jungle Cruise spiels. Reading through this list will bring back memories and probably evoke a chuckle or two. You can read the list here: http://www.themedattraction.com/jungle.htm.

This Youtube video features early footage of a Jungle Cruise ride:

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If you are the type that can't get enough of Disneyland memorabilia, you should check out www.worldfamousjunglecruise.com. You'll find a very impressive collection of photos and information about the Jungle Cruise brought to you by Skipper Brodie.