This delightful, G-rated excursion was one of the world’s first rides based on a movie. The slow-going boat tour was created for Disneyland’s 1955 opening to capitalize on Disney’s True-Life Adventures nature films, although it has been updated many times, including in 2021 to excise any potential whisper of racist caricatures (geographic ones remain, in spades). Like so many of Walt Disney’s ideas, the 9-minute trip was intended to give guests a whirlwind tour of the planet’s wonders. The ride no longer strives to teach you anything, hence vague descriptions of locals as “the natives” and a religious ruin identified as the Shirley Temple—great for kids, but not what you’d call documentary. This is the ride where over a dozen Indian elephants wash together in a pool, one of the seminal spectacles of a Disney visit. The jokes are unabashedly Eisenhower-era: Near the gorillas, you’re told, “If you’re wearing anything yellow, try not to make banana noises.” In 1971, The New York Times sniffed that what distressed it about the Jungle Cruise was “the squandering of so much effort and technical ingenuity on cheap tricks and an inane script.” Lighten up, Grey Lady; it’s a goof! Boats are safely guided by paddles that slot into a narrow channel in the stream. The water is dyed to keep you from spotting that. Seats in the middle are often exposed to the harsh sunlight. Strategy: Dinnertime seems to be a sweet spot for thinner crowds, and riding in the dark adds a lot.
Magic Kingdom› Attraction
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