Disney’s Jungle Cruise Ride Reimagined to Promote Inclusivity
By Movieguide® Staff
Disney announced that its Disney Park would rethink the classic theme park attraction The Jungle Cruise after facing criticism for its depiction of Native Americans.
The Jungle Cruise ride features a wise-cracking skipper who ferries guests along the waterway and is one of the last rides at the theme parks that Walt Disney oversaw himself. The skipper offers pun-tiful commentary about the cruise’s sites.
The ride, which was initially inspired by nature documentaries, will undergo some changes after pressure from fans who saw the ride’s depiction of Native Americans as primitive, threatening and offensive.
Disney hopes the updates will encourage inclusivity.
“As Imagineers, it is our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspective of the world around us,” Carmen Smith, creative development and inclusion strategies executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a statement.
The JUNGLE CRUISE movie, which stars Emily Blunt, Jesse Plemons, and The Rock (as the skipper), will also premiere later this year.
In the past, Disney came under fire for the Splash Mountain log ride for featuring singing animals from the controversial movie about a slave in the antebellum South, SONG OF THE SOUTH, and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride for its depiction of pirates auctioning off female captive.
“To everyone tempted to freak out and scream about the PC police, just wait until we get a chance to see it before you lose your mind,” David Marley wrote on Facebook. Marley is a a former Jungle Cruise skipper turned Cal State Fullerton history professor known as Dr. Skipper. “The Jungle Cruise at Disneyland has changed more than any other original attraction. Change is good and keeps things fresh. If the jungle can be more fun and less offensive then let’s do it. Besides, I firmly believe that the only thing that should be offensive in the jungle are the skippers.”
As nationwide protests against racism revive years-old conversations about how art made in one historical context should be viewed, Disney’s desire to uphold their brand is not a surprise.
Both Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean rides have since seen changes to the controversial elements.