Disney has been getting ideas for its cinematic productions from everywhere. One favorite source has been adapting rides and attractions from their amusement parks into films. Sometimes they become blockbuster franchises like “Pirates of the Caribbean” had been. Other times they fade into obscurity like “The Haunted Mansion” from 2003. Regardless of success, some elements from the movie versions tend to trickle back into the rides that inspired them. Again, “Pirates of the Caribbean” is a prime example, thanks to Johnny Depp’s character Jack Sparrow. Now, Disney’s upcoming “Jungle Cruise” film is already making important changes to its source attraction, even before the cinematic premiere.
The Los Angeles Times reports that, ahead of Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” movie coming out in theaters later this year, the House of Mouse has announced some alterations to the original riverboat attraction at Disneyland Park, and its “sisters” in Florida, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Disney announced the move this past Monday, January 25, along with an explanation on just what changes will be done. To wit, certain cultural elements of the cruise that are now incorrect in terms of racial sensitivity will be removed. Where indigenous peoples once “attacked” the riverboat with thrown spears, wild animals are taking their places.
Considering the first Jungle Cruise was opened in Disneyland back in 1955, it is understandable that some culture depictions are now suspect by current scholarly standards, like the aforementioned hostile river tribesmen. Disney Imagineering creative development and inclusion strategies executive Carmen Smith noted the need for updating when she said, “As Imagineers, it is our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspectives of the world around us.” Similar actions were done several years ago for “Pirates of the Caribbean” where a “wench auction” animatronic sequence was revamped with said auctioned woman being recast as a lady pirate.
Meanwhile, the “Jungle Cruise” movie looks set to be released this coming July 30. This was after two premiere changes: originally it was scheduled for October 2019, then for July 24 last year. The COVID pandemic pushed the release to the current date. Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt star as a riverboat captain-scientist duo on a race against a rival German expedition up the jungles of the Amazon River to find a rumored Tree of Life with powerful healing qualities.
Image courtesy of Orlando Sentinel