11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Disneyland's Jungle Cruise


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 view…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 instead.

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 trees!

Although 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 Queen.

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.