The Jungle Cruise has been a Disneyland icon since the park opened
on July 17th, 1955. Most frequent park guests can recite their favorite
one-liners from the attraction and look forward to that rewarding
the back side of water. But, did you know
The Jungle Cruise was the only major attraction of any kind in Adventureland
for the first seven years of the park's history and is one of the
first attractions NOT based on an animated film.
Kevin Costner and Robin Williams are said to have been Jungle Cruise
skippers in their youths.
Walt originally wanted live animals for the attractions but he quickly
realized that they would not behave as predictably as he wanted
to for his guests. He wanted a more consistent show for those on
the attraction and so eventually opted to construct mechanical animals
Early names for the attraction actually used by the folks at Disney
included Explorer Boat Ride, River Boat Ride, Jungle River Boat
Ride, Jungle River Boat Safari. It wasn't until 1959 that they finalized
the name to The Jungle Cruise
The attraction itself sits on three acres of the park and the excursion
takes nine minutes to complete.
Harper Grof, who also worked on the blockbuster Disney hit 20,000
Leagues Under The Sea, was an art director working for Disney at
the time and led to much of the overall design of Adventureland.
It's told that he used his foot in the sand to mark/carve out the
Jungle Cruise course. Bulldozers and men with shovels would then
copy the 'landforms' he modeled in the sand onto the property to
create the actual attraction.
The native encampment on the attraction sits only 35 feet from City
Hall on Main Street!
Before Adventureland was first opened, the Disney designers uprooted
the existing orange trees and then replanted them UPSIDE DOWN with
the roots up. Bromeliads were then placed on top to simulate exotic
there are design references made to several world rivers such as
the Amazon, MeKong, Congo and Nile, much of the overall design and
feel for the attraction was taken from the popular movie The African
Marc Davis, one of the Nine Old Men, was responsible for originally
suggesting and bringing in the gags at the Jungle Cruise, feeling
that the park needed more humor. He's responsible for the gorillas
taking over the encampment vignette on the Jungle Cruise attraction.
Two of the major changes made to the Jungle Cruise happened in 1993
and 2005 when they, respectively, changed the design of the boats
to match the grittiness and 'worn' feel of the Indiana Jones attraction
that was constructed right next to it and then later the piranha
being added to river itself.