Take a Hidden Cruise down De-Nile, Revealing secrets of Disney’s Jungle Cruise


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The Disney World Jungle Cruise ride is a Disney classic. It goes back to the days of Walt Disney, and is one of his original creations. Being an original ride, the Jungle Cruise holds many secrets.

What is Disney World’s Jungle Cruise?

On Disney World’s Jungle Cruise, inside of the Magic Kingdom, you board a boat for a “multi week” journey through rivers of Asia, Africa, and South America.

Through your journey, you’ll see animatronics of various animals including elephants, zebras, lions, monkeys, gorillas, and more. All while taking in the sights, your boat skipper will tell a slew of punny jokes.

Jungle Cruise Inspiration

While Disney World’s Jungle Cruise is based off of the original inside of Disneyland. The Disneyland original inspired Walt to keep things changing and forever improving inside the parks.

After hearing a mother tell her son they were not going to ride the Jungle Cruise again because they had already experienced it, Walt decided to always change, evolve, and improve the parks he built.

Water Color of Disney World’s Jungle Cruise

Have you ever ridden rides at Walt Disney World and noticed the color of the water? Disney often adds dye to the water rides to fit the theming as well as cover the ride tracks below.

In the Jungle Cruise, the water is dyed, and the color has changed over the years. Originally it was more green, then brown, and today it is a greenish/ brown color.

Elephants on the JUngle Cruise Ride
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What is Under the Water?

Under the water of the Jungle Cruise ride are not alligators, hippos, or even fish. Instead, the dark water hides the track for the boats.

The skippers do drive the boats forwards and backwards, but they do not actually steer them.

Nighttime Rides on the Disney World Jungle Cruise

When riding Disney World’s Jungle Cruise ride, don’t just take the tour during the day. A nighttime ride can be just as much fun, or even more.

In the dark, the skippers shine flashlights at the views in the tour. You’ll also get different jokes that only work at night.

Boat Approaching the Dock on the Disney World Jungle Cruise Ride
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The Jingle Cruise

The Disneyland and Disney World Jungle Cruise become the Jingle Cruise each holiday season. The boats and many of the animatronics are decked out for the holidays, and even the queue changes. Holiday themed jokes are added by the cast members during the boat trip as well.

Be sure to check out the new holiday names on the boats for a laugh.

Real Animals and Plants

When Walt Disney designed the Disneyland Jungle Cruise, which was later recreated as the Disney World Jungle Cruise, he wanted to utilize real animals and authentic plants to the location.

Unfortunately, the animals would be very costly to care for and purchase and ship to the park. Instead, the animatronic animals were used as a cost friendly alternative.

Later on, the idea of exotic animals on display for guests became the Animal Kingdom park.

An Example of the foliage on the Jungle Cruise.
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Additionally, Walt wanted authentic plants inside of the Jungle Cruise. These plants were very costly and many did not grow well in the climate the park was in.

Instead, the Imagineers created a “Hollywood Jungle” using native and authentic plants that mimicked the real thing.

We Can Help You Plan Your Disney World Vacation!

Are you planning a trip to Disney World and finding it a bit overwhelming?

We can help!

We have partnered with Mickey World Travel, an authorized Disney vacation planner. Let us book your vacation, and we’ll take care of the heavy lifting or guide you through the process. Our services are offered free of charge, so contact Kathlen@Mickeyworldtravel.com or fill out the form to the right for more information.

Kathleen Hesketh, travel agent with Mickey World Travel, and her daughter/social media coordinator, Ali Patton, in front of Cinderella's Castle.
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Guest Skipper

Caste members working at Disney World’s Jungle Cruise can give guest the opportunity to become a Guest Skipper. This comes with a specialty souvenir card and the opportunity to skip the line.

Cast members typically pick a guest who has a birthday or anniversary pin, or is celebrating something.

True Life Scenes of the Disney World Jungle Cruise

Many scenes from the opening day Walt Disney World Jungle Cruise, and Disneyland version were based off of some short films produced by Walt Disney Productions.

The True Life Adventures were a series of short documentary films about wildlife and nature. Many of the ideas for scenes depicted in the original Jungle Cruise come from scenes in these films.

Disney World’s Jungle Cruise and The Great Movie Ride

Disney World’s Jungle Cruise ride shares a secret with the now defunct Great Movie ride which used to reside in Hollywood Studios. The Great Movie Ride was a slow moving ride which took guests through scenes from classic movies, and even had some guest and cast member interaction in those scenes.

The ride was recently replaced by Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. But, during its run, the Great Movie Ride had a scene from Casablanca, featuring an airplane.

The airplane is a Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior plane, and the front half was used for the Casablanca scene. Airplanes are expensive, so to get more bang for their buck, Disney placed the back half of the plane in the Disney World Jungle Cruise ride.

Pirates are Nearby

During parts of the Jungle Cruise ride, the show building for Pirates of the Caribbean can be scene through the foliage if you look closely. Most guests do not notice this because the skippers draw attention to animatronics and scenes in the opposite direction.

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Kathleen Hesketh and Ali Patton, mother daughter travel bloggers

We're Kat and Ali, a pair of mother daughter travel bloggers sharing our knowledge and experience from multiple years of Disney travel with other Disney lovers and first-time visitors, hoping to simplify your vacation experience and help you enjoy all of the magic of a visit to Disney World. As Disney vacation planners, we can now book vacations through Mickey World travel, at no additional charge, and help you realize all of the magic of a trip to Disney.

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Kathleen Hesketh

Kathleen is a travel agent with Mickey World Travel, a platinum level Authorized Disney vacation planner, where she helps people discover the magic of a Disney vacation and other travel destinations. She is also the chief author and editor for Seconds to Go - a travel blog where she shares experiences from traveling the U.S. with her daughter, Ali.

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