Walt Disney World Jungle
Boat ride where you see exotic animals, zany
explorers and ancient ruins as your skipper leads you deep into the
Magic Kingdom Tickets
2 Free Disney Tickets here
Adventureland, between Indy and Aladdin's Oasis.
Crowds: Line can get fairly long in the middle of the day. Ride it
at night for the shortest lines.
Still a classic, but your experience really depends on how good your guide
is. Still, I'd say it's a must-ride attraction. Travel the rivers of the
world, seeing some "wild" animals along the way.
Travel on the
rivers of four different continents. See exotic animals, zany
explorers and ancient ruins as your skipper leads you deep into the
jungle. Be prepared for surprises along the way; your skipper's sure
to regale you with humorous tales of danger.
Jungle Cruise Facts and Rumors:
Each of the scenes in the Jungle Cruise attraction
is taken from the True-Life Adventure Film Series that Walt Disney
produced in the early 1960's.
The Jungle Cruise and River of America used to be
connected by an open
There is a live Macaw in a cage in one of the
second floor windows above the entrance.
Film star Kevin Costner was once a wisecracking
Jungle Cruise skipper.
Walt Disney originally wanted live animals for this attraction. However,
zoologists advised him against it because the animals would be asleep or
hidden much of the time.
As you enter the boathouse (Queue) on your left is
a "ticket office" on the desk is a departure book containing each
skipper's name and first day as a skipper (day and month, not year)
On the side facing the jungle during boarding you
may notice near the repair-dock you might see a propeller from an
airplane. When the Jungle Cruise first opened Walt and the imagineers
believed that the plants in the jungle would not survive without a
heater, the propeller would blow heat through the jungle to keep the
climate perfect for the plants the heater was later removed and was never
used, castmembers asked to keep it as a reminder of the
original Jungle Cruise!
When Disneyland first opened, there wasn't much of
a jungle. Walt had them take off all of the oranges from the orange
trees to make it look more like a jungle. He had also planted other
plants. I am not sure if the trees are still standing.
At one of the points in line for the Jungle Cruise
you pass what is either a mock up of a ticket booth or mail booth, I
can't remember which. Inside on the desk you can see a hand written
letter. The hand writing is very small but I was able to read enough of
it. It is a letter reporting the news that Indiana Jones has found a
lost temple deep in the jungle up the river from the loading area. I saw
it in April 2000 when I was visiting Disneyland. Just an interesting
If the operator of a Jungle Cruise boat backs off the throttle in two
locations along the ride after accelerating, the boat will jump the rail.
It has worked in the past, but only in certain situations:
at Schweitzer Falls, two boats must be
approaching from either side (forward and backside) at full speed, and
turn at the same point for there to be a significant wake in the water
to allow the boat to go full throttle reverse and be picked up off the
at the snake in the tree, if a boat is going too
fast in reverse, the turn can be too sharp and cause the boat to
if the water level is too high, any turn taken
too fast can cause the boat to derail.
There are two islands on the Jungle Cruise
nicknamed "Catalina" and "Manhattan".
The unofficial mascot of the Jungle Cruise is
Trader Sam, the mascot of the Jungle Cruise, is the old head-hunter with
the bargain sale "two of his heads for one of yours."
The head salesman on the Jungle Cruise has been unofficially nicknamed
"Trader Sam" for years by Cast Members-- and on the 45th
Anniversary poster map, he's officially designated as such!
Does anyone remember the days of KNGO (Congo)
radio? Members of the Disneyland band dressed in safari outfits and
played on the top of the Jungle Cruise when the queque area was first
rehabed. They would play great songs and tell some corny jokes such as,
"KNGO Radio! Brought to you by Snow White and the Seven Dwarves Bank:
where to go when you're a little short." My father played trombone for
the group, which hasn't played there since. They were quite
J.P. and the Silverstars play above the Jungle
Cruise and is an authentic Caribbean Steel Drum Band performing
exciting, uplifting material, directly influenced by the style of music
and culture native to Trinidad, West Indies, home of this performing
The Jungle Cruise uses 1/2 to 1/4 pack starter
pistol blanks in their fully functional 38 caliber hand guns. Guides of
the famous 'Jungle Cruise' fire off almost 631,000 rounds of ammunition
The guns used aboard the Jungle Cruise are authetic Nickel Plated Smith
and Wesson .38 specials. They have been modified so that "live" ammo
cannot be used in them. When an attraction boat is taken off at the end of the day or when
it goes back into boat storage the gun must be checked back in. The ammo
used on the ride consists of two types of blank cartridges. "Show" ammo
is used to fire at the hippo pool only to discourage those buggers from
attacking the boat. "Breakdown" ammo is used as you might guess. Its
report is much louder and can be heard by the foreman at the front of
the ride. Only enough break down ammo is issued for each boat and is
returned at the conclusion of that boats operational day. Depending on
the type of breakdown, the foreman may request that another operator
take 'the skiff' (a small flat bottom boat equipped with an outboard
motor) to check on the troubled boat. The foreman will bring out a
schematic of the entire ride similar to those used aboard warships
depicting all of the bends in the river as well as the position of all
boats. Cast Members are very well versed in break down procedures.
Have you ever wondered why the Jungle Cruise
Guides fire only two shots from their pistols? My Girlfriend and I
decided to make the Cruise the last ride of the evening, as the Guides
tend to get weirder as the night goes on. Halfway through the cruise
directly across from the cannibal village, our boat ran out of gas. The
Guide loaded different shells than the ones used on the hippos. We were
sitting right next to him and he told us to cover our ears and then
fired the pistol. The reports were loud even with our ears covered. The
guide meant to fire three, but the third was a dud. Apparently, firing
more than two rounds from the pistol is a distress signal, which in our
case did not work! Eventually the boat behind us came along and pushed
us forward slowly until another boat came in backwards from the dock and
towed us in. All in all an interesting experience.
On the subject of the Jungle Cruise gunshot sequence, here is the story:
Two shots: All Clear
2. Three Shots: Mechanical Difficulty - can't move
3. Four Shots: Medical or security emergency - everyone proceed at
full throttle to the dock
4. Six Shots: Derailed, can't move
Two of the above handguns have been lost in the
history of the Jungle Cruise. The second incident spurned the addition
of a Cardenas Clip to the pistol to ensure a would be robber would have
to spend some time removing the clip before "removing" the weapon. The
clip is named after the Cast Member from whom the gun was stolen.
Yes it is named after Mr. Cardenas, a friend of mine and former cast
member. He pulled up to the dock and was giving his unload spiel. When
he turned around, he noticed that his gun was gone - taken right off of
The new boats cost the Company $100,000 each. That
price does not include the engine and other custumizations they make to
the craft. The guide rails are made of stainless steel and cost $2,000
each (two for each boat). I'm pretty sure that when you're done with it,
each boat costs about $160,000.
The Magdalena (Maggie) and the Mekong are the two boats currently off
the water because with the new boats being so much bigger than the old,
not all boats could fit. So two had to go, and management chose which
ones it would be.
Almost every night divers have to perform
maintenance on the hippos on the Jungle Cruise
Disney cut one of the old boats in two and sunk it in the lagoon across
from the second dock. This is just for looks and
helps the old and new skippers remember the main parts of the orginal
The Jungle Cruise and Rivers of America water is
actually clear as it is pumped in (after draining for refurbishing or
the like) and is "muckified" by adding 55 gallon drums of green stuff.
Very little known fact - and one that isn't talked
about, leeches. Yes, the famous Rivers of America and the Jungle Cruise
(which share the same water) were infected back in the early days with
the importation of plants from tropical climes for the Jungle Cruise.
During a major rehab of the Jungle Cruise and the Rivers of America in
the early 70's they were discovered when the rivers were down for some
time. It was not a raging infestation, about 50 were found in total. At
the same time they did have an infestation of a type of large slug which
many people working on the rehab mistakenly identified as leeches, but
the real articles were found too! I kept one in a jar of Formaldehyde on
a shelf in my office for several years. The waters were routinely
treated with a chemical agent during the early Spring. During this time
it was not uncommon to see floating suds on the Rivers of America from
the treatment. I am sure that this is one that will raise eyebrows, but
I was there.
Strange that leeches should be mentioned existing in the waters of the
Jungle Cruise, seeing as how Walt's inspiration for the ride was the
Humphrey Bogart film, "The African Queen".
Chris 18 JAN 97
Tim Carter 18 APR 97
I and my fellow skippers have seen them first hand stuck to the sides of
the boats. I was also chatting with one of our wonderful maintenance
guys about leeches, he says that they get stuck in the large debris
filter all the time. Remember, strange things happen deep in the jungles
CONFIRMED: anon 04 DEC 97
Emily 06 MAY 01
The Jungle Cruise boats are on a track and they
can be switched back to maintenance via a switch. The switch is called
the Dominguez Switch, after former skipper, VP Ron Domingus.
In reference to the Dominguez Switch is incorrect. The switch in
question was on the MINE TRAIN ATTRACTION, in Frontierland. The switch
was used to transfer trains from the main line to storage. True, it is
named in honor of Ron K. Dominguez, Vice President, Disneyland, Retired.
Ron on more than one occasion left the switch open derailing the trains.
The trains ran from 1956 to 1977 when it was replaced by Thunder
Mountain. A club was formed in honor of the Mine Train called the "Order
of the Red Handkerchief". There are over 215 former ride operators of
the old attraction who attend an annual reunion when their time permits.
At present they are spread throughout 17 states including Hawaii. Some,
still with the company have seen duty in Japan, and France. We have
therefore renamed the club - MINE TRAINS INTERNATIONAL It was first
organized in 1964 by Ray McHugh, and Frank McNell. It is the oldest
existing club at Disneyland, but not widely known by all Cast Members
because one had to have worked on the attraction in order to belong. A
membership card and certificate is issued to all members. New people as
they are found receive theirs at the annual reunion.
I wish to confirm Ray McHugh's statement that the Dominguez Switch was
on the old Mine Ride, and not on the Jungle Cruise. I know because I
worked the Mine Trains for five years after Ron made Supervisor. Also
worked the Jungle Cruise.
There are a total of 4 switches on the Jungle Cruise:
0. "Front Switch" - located between the passenger load area and the
jungle. Allows the operators to place a boat on or retrieve from an
'on-stage' storage rail parallel to the dock. Manually operated from near
the old queue area. Failure to properly coordinate -> derailment, e.g.
boats driving from the loading area in such a way that the underwater
guide ceases to ride on the guide rail, causing loss of directional
control and mandatory ride shutdown until the boat can be placed back on
1. "Rear Switch" - located between the area where boats exit the
jungle (i.e., return to civilization) and the passenger unload area.
Allows boats to be placed in or pulled from 'off-stage' storage area
behind 2 large doors. Manually operated from the on-stage storage dock. If
inappropriately coordinated, can result in derailments of boats passing
out of the jungle (not uncommon for a spieling skipper to not hear the
warnings of other operators to "Hold it there, skip!") while storage
activity takes place.
2. "Storage Switch" - in off-stage storage, allows boats to be moved
from one of two storage rails onto the main storage rail. Pneumatically
3. "Dominguez Switch" - Located at the exit of the jungle (before
reaching the storage switch) allowing boats to pass from the ride's return
to civilization directly to the on stage storage rail. Manually operated
from an area near the storage doors. Very rarely used bcause of difficult
coordination imposed by visibility, high probability of derailment, and
ease of use of other storage procedures using other switches. Good sight
for jungle hijinx; e.g., on a skipper's last trip (prior to quitting) it
was a good trick to really get him and his crew exited about the
significance of his last trip. Assuming there were no boats on the
on-stage storage rail, one could place a ride operater at both the
dominguez and front switches. When the skipper of interest was emerging
with his crew from the jungle, returning from his "last trip ever", one
would have the Dominguez switch thrown to the on-stage storage area, and
the front switch also thrown to the the same, allowing the boat to pass
from the jungle to the storage line and back into the jungle, completely
bypassing the load and unload areas. The skipper and crew would get
another "last trip ever". Needless to say, this was not s.o.p., and
consequently a dangerous move for the indiscreet lead. But for the right
skipper at the right time, it was worth the risk to see him grinning as he
came out of the jungle, his crew often applauding given it was his last
trip, and then to see the boat pitch to starbord as the rail slung it to
the storage line, the look of initial fear on the skipper's face, then
smirk of realization that he'd been had and cheers from the crew as they
passed out into the jungle, was pretty cool.
Athough I am sure that Ray
Mc Hugh and Bob McDonald are correct that the original Dominguez Switch
was on the old Mine Train. The switch in question on Jungle is known by
everybody, today, as the Dominguez Switch.
The Jungle Cruise boats are not on a track but rather have a guide rail on
either side of the boat that keeps it from drifting from side to side. The
Dominguez switch was eliminated in 1994 when the Disneyland Jungle Cruise
was slightly modified to accommodate the Indiana Jones ride. Now there is
simply a "front" and a "rear" switch.
The Disneyland boats run on a guide rail. The
Disneyworld boats run in a concrete trough. It's better from a skipper's
point of view to work at Disneyland. The boats derail there, (causing
the ride to shut down) but the boats at Disneyworld rarely break down.
As you walk through the line just inside of the
fort on the first story if you look to the left you will notice a set of
plans for the jungle cruise boats on the wall to the left, look at who
the plans were approved by in the lower right-hand corner and it says
WED, Walt Disney's initials.
Just after you exit from behind the water fall and
before you are about to make the last turn to head back to dock there is
a rock that appears to look like a rino head in the water. It even has a
hole cut into it where the eyeball would be. Very interesting. It's
almost right across from the head hunter holding the heads in his hand.
The hole has a light in it to let approaching operators know whether the
switch has been thrown for normal operation of whether it is open so
that boats can be taken to and from boat storage or the spur track.
There is another switch located at the front of the ride near guest
loading that can allow boats to back onto the spur.
When I worked at the park, circa 1989-90, we
Jungle Cruise skippers had a small stuffed Mickey that we would hide
throughout the jungle. Intent upon breaking the other skippers
concentration by making each other crack up mid-spiel, we'd put Mickey
in the craziest places possible. Some Jungle Mickey locations were as
follows: Peeking out from behind the dead zebra, on the falls behind
'Bertha', on the lap of the suicidal gorilla, hanging from a natives
drum, at Trader Sams feet, and my favorite, sticking out of the backpack
of the uppermost pole climber at the rhinos mercy. This kind of behavior
would probably not go over well nowadays. Also, there was a spider
monkey left over from the original J.C. that we did the same thing with.
You can probably still find him but he is real hard to see. He hangs
from his tail and is dark brown and kind of mossy as he has spent the
last 40 something years in the jungle. The last place I saw him was
hanging from a limb above the left shoulder of the tusked elephant that
appears to be climbing out of the bathing pool to reach some tastier
tree on shore. Happy hunting!
In the 70's, when supervisors were more lax,
skippers used to fasten ropes to some of the trees in the jungle and
swing barechested in front of the paths of oncoming boats.
Jungle Cruise Boat Names:
0. Amazon Belle
1. Congo Queen
2. Ganges Gal
3. Hondo Hattie
4. Irrawaddy Woman
5. Kissimmee Kate
6. Magdalena Maiden [Maggie] (out of service)
7. Mekong Maiden (out of service)
8. Nile Princess
9. Orinoco Adventuress
10. Suwannee Lady
11. Ucayali Una [Ucy]
12. Yangtze Lotus
13. Zambezi Miss
Normally there are two elephants on the Nile River
(approaching the African Veldt). This past spring, due to all the rain
and turbulence caused by the El Nino storms, the foundation that the
second elephant sits on began to give way, and it started sliding down
the river. An electronic cavity on the elephant's head became visible to
the guests, and maintenance tried to cover it up with a little net hat.
It didn't work, so the elephant had to be removed. It was lifted by
helicopter. Quite a sight, seeing an elephant flying over Disneyland.
I just wanted to point out something about the
Jungle Cruise. For the last few times that I've been to Disneyland my
friends and I have gone on the Jungle Cruise late at night and I've kept
noticing how creepy the ride becomes after dark. The animals look much
more realistic and if you look behind you as your moving ahead the trail
you leave behind is pitch black. Going at night adds a whole new
dimension. You also notice that the water is level is lower than earlier
in the day (this seems to be true of other water rides as well).
At least one of the Jungle Cruise boats sunk! I
have another Jungle story for you. Back in the summer of 1996 then
Disney still had the boats with the seat cushions. On this particular
hot summer day, a skipper by the name of Jeff Jarrett (not the
professional wrestler), was driving the old Suwannee Lady. After turning
past Trader Sam on his way back to the dock, unbeknownst to everyone,
the track switch was open. None of the indicator lights showed an open
switch...they all indicated an all-clear. As he approached the catwalk,
everyone heard a huge crashing noise. All of a sudden the bottom of the
boat started filling up with water and it started sinking. The boat was
still full of guests at this point. The boat sank as far as it could go
(about 4 feet down). Because it was a hot day, the guests didn't mind
too much cooling themselves off, though few were upset. Jeff was never
held responsible. But everyone knows a boat did sink once.
Anyone remember when the Jungle Book was an
E-Ticket ride? Once while standing in line, a very long line, and a very
long time ago, one of the cast members was trying to lighten things up
he announced, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Jungle Book is an E -Ticket
Ride. Please have your E-Tickets ready as you approach the turnstile.
That is E as in Eight-hundred, Eighty Eight Elephants Enthusiastically
Eating Eggplant Every Easter Evening."
There are 3 homing pidgeons that call the Jungle
Cruise home. Wylie, Flash, and Laverne ( I think, I can't quite remember
the 3rd name) live on the second story of the boathouse behind where the
Steel Drum Band performs. You can't see the roost save when they open
the second story all the way and divert the guests past this area.
It is now against SOP (standard operating
procedure) to actually shoot at the hippos in the hippo pool. Since they
are an endangered species, we (the skippers) cannot fire blank ammo at
artificial audioanimatronic animals. Animal rights activists have spoken
and Disney has answered!
According to the book, "The
Disney Version," when Walt Disney was buying up the land to make
Disneyland, one of the owners said they would sell on one condition,
that the 2 palm trees that were on the property never be removed. By a
happy concidence they are on the land occupied by the Adventure Land
Cruise. I don't know exactly where they are though.
According to the cast members giving tours at the park, the last
remaining trees from the "orchard days" of the property are actually the
tall eucalyptus trees located behind City Hall and the Firehouse, along
the back edge of the Jungle Cruise, and not palms as reported here.
These trees were originally planted to protect the orange trees from
gusting winds. Although the landscape architects sought to save as many
of the original orange trees as possible, they've all died, many due to
relocation in the early days. As far as I know, there is no special
reason for keeping the euc. trees, besides the fact that Bill Evans, the
landscape architect in charge, had wanted to save money and time by
retaining what they could of the original vegetation.
I was out with my girlfriend, Sabrina and we went
on the Jungle Cruise a couple of minutes before the park closed (usually
the best time to get interesting information from a castmember). Our
skipper gave us the option of listening to the normal dialogue or just
taking a quiet cruise. We having been on the ride many times, opted for
the quiet cruise. When we got to the part of the tour where you hear the
natives try and attack the boat. For the most part all of what they are
saying is gibberish but if you pay close attention, the very first
native screams out, "I LOVE DISCO!!", our skipper slowed the boat down
and sure enough we heard it being yelled out loud.
At the native uprising when the headhunters attack, you'll hear them say
"oookalaoalak! Ookalokaloka!" Then one shouts very distinctly "I love
I have not heard the disco loving natives, but I am pretty sure it
wasn't part of the original 1955 ride. However the ride has gone thru
MANY overhauls and remodels and this could have easily been added later
My sister said that at one time, Chevy Chase and
Steve Martin were both skippers for the Jungle Cruise. Some of those
guests must have had a pretty entertaining show. . . especially since
Jungle Cruise is the only ride where cast members ad lib it.
It was actually Robin Williams and Steve Martin who were past
skippers.... Long before they were famous. This fact is included in the
training material a new skipper receives upon arrival to the Jungle.
It's also noteworthy to mention that Michael Fay, the kid "cained" in
Singapore for vandalism, was a skipper briefly. I worked with him.
Steve Martin was never a Disneyland skipper. I was under this assumption
until I met Steve Martin and asked him and he set me straight.
Disappointing because I thought I was following in his footsteps.
Steve Martin did in fact work at Disneyland; not as a Jungle Cruise
skipper but as a magician at the Magic Shop in Main Street. However, a
member of LA-based rock band Oingo Boingo was in fact a skipper for the
Jungle Cruise. I found this out through a castmember doing parade duty
for the Main Street Electrical Parade back in 1996. The castmember
wasn't sure which member of the band it was, but was sure that it wasn't
Danny Elfman ;-)
Steve Martin was, in fact a magician at the magic shop. But before he
did that, he sold park guide books at the main entrance. Apparently he
was an amazing salesman, and could sell hundreds in one shift. He held
the record for most sold for decades. Amazing since he was only around
13 at the time.
The skippers had a loose fraternity comprised of
the funniest skipers called 'Phi Laffa Lotta'.
The huge rocks by the African Veldt are hollow and
contain sound equipment.
A skipper I know built a hot tub on top of the
Asian Temple (Shirley's Temple) when we were down for rehab.
Disney employees are not as clean cut as you'd
expect. Especially on the Jungle Cruise.
The Cast Members definitely have a sense of humor
as shown with the scripted lousy jokes of the tour guide as well as
those on the docking bay. One brazen Cast Member decided to be cute when
he took his adventurer's hat (Fedora) and wore it with a large "munch"
in it's brim, hinting that an alligator or some jungle creature tried to
eat him. Disney costume guidelines call for no rips or tears in any
uniform or costume. If it is supposed to be ripped, the fabric has been
sewn to look like a tear or rip. This guy almost got away with it until
Mr. Eisner was there and tapped him on his shoulder and said "That is
not appropriate." The Cast Member nearly had a heart attack. Therefore,
even adventures will look clean shaven, fresh, and never eaten by an
The Skippers on the Jungle Cruise definitely
become a little more liberal on late night cruises. As a college student
I tend to ride the Jungle Cruise as the park is closing to get some of
the older, more sarcastic jokes. A couple of times I was surprised to
hear how raunchy the jokes can get especially about the rhino chasing
the group up the pole. If this is your type of humor ride at night to
get the classic jokes along with some ones you probably never thought
you would hear in Disneyland.
Here's an interesting tidbit for all you Jungle
Cruise lovers out there. Originally, when designers were coming up for
the idea of Indiana Jones, they wanted the Jungle Cruise to take you to
the Indiana Jones attraction. But doing that meant they had to change
the atmosphere of the Jungle Cruise so the idea was abandoned.
There was a reference to the Jungle Cruise in the
movie "Tarzan". When the gorillas begin shoving Clayton around and
inspecting his personal belongings, one of them grabs his shotgun and
sits back, peering into the barrels, exactly like the gorilla at the
ransacked camp on the ride.