By Erik Johnson
Disney Parks love celebrating the winter holidays through elaborate decorations and music. They often take the added effort to completely transform classic attractions into something new and festive. The Jingle Cruise is one of these overlays and is famously one of the few that takes place on both the east and west coasts.
By now, I think it is safe to assume we have all taken a turn around the rivers of the world on the world-famous Jungle Cruise. Some may debate about whether Disneyland or Disney World’s Magic Kingdom have the best version, but most will agree this is a classic attraction that remains fun today.
For the few who have not taken a this epic journey, the Jungle Cruise is a tongue-in-cheek boat tour. While you pass sights like mechanical animals and waterfalls, you are treated to or horrified by the punniest jokes around. Your jungle skipper kind of pilots the boat whilst simultaneously entertaining through jokes and stories about the sights you see all around you.
The original Jungle Cruise at Disneyland was much more serious in nature, focused on recreating Disney’s True Life Adventure movies in the park. Over time, it morphed into a much more engaging tour with both visual and audible gags. When Disney World’s Magic Kingdom opened up, the popular attraction was a shoe-in for representation in the new park.
Both rides continued through the years, tweaking their scripts and gags to update for the times. Then in 2013, both parks unleashed new holiday themes for both attractions. The Jingle Cruise was a similar attraction on both coasts, but over time the decorations at Disneyland completely overtook those of Disney World.
For some reason, 2017 brought an end to the Jingle Cruise theme in Disneyland where holiday themes were evident in so many different attractions. The big surprise this year in the Magic Kingdom was a return of the theme, despite all of the cost-cutting measures around the park. Let’s have a quick look around the lush locations from around the world featured on this venerable but entertaining attraction!
As you wind through the line, awaiting your turn on a boat, you will see plenty of changes to the normal decor, with stockings, tinsel, and a chalkboard describing the New Year’s Resolutions of ride skippers. Every meal on the mess hall schedule is turkey. Approach the dock and you see that the traditional names of the Jungle Cruise boats have been modified with decorations, tires, and steel signs riveted over the old names. Gone are the Congo Queen, Nile Princess, and Suwanee Lady, replaced with the Candy Cane Queen, Noel Princess, and Sugar Plum Lady. Get ready for more holiday puns, people.
The story goes, the jungle skippers were homesick during the holiday season and decided to recreate some of their favorite holiday traditions and decorations around their outpost. This festive theme continues into the ride where some precious holiday decorative cargo was dropped in the wrong location by supply planes, much to the delight of visitors and local fauna alike.
Fruitcake is a common thematic element, emphasizing the legendarily inedible sweetbread. Native tribesmen even use it as a shield. Ugly Christmas sweaters are featured throughout. Some years, the elephants wear bells on their tusks. In the Amazon, the piranhas have shredded some gift boxes. There is a lot to take in!
Speaking of which, the usual banter from the Skippers has plenty of holiday references pepperminted in. The lions in the savannah are gathered for a holiday meal. How do they carve a zebra by the way? Of course! White meat, dark meat, white meat, dark meat. Schweizer Falls were also discovered by Doctor Snow…Falls. Make sure you take advantage of Trader Sam-Ta’s holiday special: three heads for the price of one!
Plenty of fun to be seen and heard around the cruise. If you ever wanted to see a tiger holding a candy cane in its mouth, then the Jingle Cruise is right for you. If you caught my peppermint pun earlier, than it is even more right for you. Check out the Jingle Cruise the next time you are in the parks during the holiday season! It is worth a few extra rides just to catch everything going on, especially compared to the attraction we all know and love.
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