While Disneyland and its sister theme parks try to present themselves as timeless fun for the whole family, the reality is that they, particularly their individual attractions, are products of the times in which they were opened. Trivia-savvy Disney fans would know that the Splash Mountain log ride is based off the animated segments of 1946 film “Song of the South,” which has been considered racially offensive that it has never seen any home re-release in decades. Another Disney attraction, Jungle Cruise, was also flagged for unflattering depictions of indigenous jungle people, spurring them to revamp the original Disneyland version’s design beginning this January, ahead of the film adaptation’s premiere.
CNN International reports that the changes to Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise water ride are finally complete after about half a year of work. Gone now is the segment of the cruise where the riverboat that guests are riding on will be attacked by “dangerous, primitive” natives (complete with arrows and spears lodging on the boat’s hull). Instead, more (animatronic) wildlife will populate the jungle river course of the ride, such as chimpanzees that have seized another riverboat, forcing its safari-goers to climb a tree for shelter.
And even here there is a sign of what Disney describes as a sense of inclusivity in characters while still retaining the classic feel of the attraction, which has been part of Disneyland from day one as Walt Disney himself conceptualized it. Now however, alongside the traditional hijacked riverboat skipper that the passenger riverboats will pass, is a motley international crew that includes an Asian entomologist from Japan, a bird-watcher from Ireland, a Latina artist and a Canadian botanist of black descent. As Walt Disney Imagineering creative portfolio executive Chris Beatty puts it, “We want to make sure that everyone that rides the Jungle Cruise can see themselves in the characters and in this experience.”
While the new and improved Jungle Cruise ride is ready, it will not open for passengers at Disneyland in Anaheim until this coming Friday, July 16. That should give Disneyland park-goers nearby plenty of time to check out the changes to the course, before they catch the “Jungle Cruise” movie later this month. This Disney Pictures production, in the tradition of “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Haunted Mansion,” takes the classic park attraction and builds a story out of it, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. The movie releases on July 30 in cinemas, and simultaneously on Disney+ Premier Access.
Image: Yahoo News