Magic KingdomThe Parks

10 Facts and Secrets about the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom at Disney World

The Jungle Cruise is a classic attraction that started in Disneyland and then became a part of Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom.  The ride holds a lot of history and is a fan favorite for diehard Disney fans.  With all of that history, there are a lot of great facts and secrets that you may not know about.  Here are ten of my favorites:


10 – A comment about the Jungle Cruise inspired Walt’s entire philosophy for enhancements.

It is said that it is actually a comment that Walt heard a guest say in regards to the Jungle Cruise that changed the way he thought about enhancements to the park and made him realize that he would always have to keep things changing and fresh to keep them interesting and keep them coming back. He heard a mother and son in the park. The boy asked to go on the Jungle Cruise, and the mom responded that they had already done that ride last time and didn’t need to do it again. This has helped guide everything in the parks today.

9 – The scenes are recreations.

The scenes were intentionally created to match the scenes from the True-Life Adventure film series that Walt Disney actually produced in the early 1960’s. The scenes were each created to represent the moments within the film, which is just another reason why this is such a unique attraction and holds a piece of Walt.

Credit: @kickinitcordero

8 – The jokes weren’t part of the original ride.

Believe it or not, the ride was originally a serious ride that was a more educational tour down the Nile. Later the ride was reimagined, and the jokes that we all know and love today were added. I prefer the attraction with all of the slapstick jokes. I can’t imagine it as a serious attraction at all, and it stays very entertaining as a serious attraction. Good change, Disney!

7 – The glowing eyes in the temple.

Have you ever wondered how they got the effect of the glowing eyes when you are in the Asian temple? You might think that these are lights or something more high-tech. Well, they are actually marbles that have a reflective coating on them that create the effect. Pretty simple and cool, huh? I’ll be paying extra attention to these next time I ride!

6 – The truth about the airplane.

The airplane that you see on the attraction is actually a real airplane. Well, it is the back half of a real airplane. The front half was used in The Great Movie Ride during the Casablanca scene. It was a great way for Disney to get the most bang for their buck and kill two birds with one stone if you will. Airplanes are expensive, so this was a great move on their part and one that you might never have noticed on your own.

5 – The ride almost had real animals.

Walt’s original vision for the attraction was to feature real animals. The animals that would be featured on the attraction are mostly nocturnal, so it wouldn’t have created a fascinating attraction to see. This is ultimately why Walt and the Imagineers decided to create their own animals so that they could have activities and entertainment for the guests to see.


4 – One way to get exotic-looking plants.

If Disney had to purchase and ship exotic plants, it would become costly. Plus, there would be the usual care and maintenance for the plants. They found a way to give the appearance of exotic plants. They actually planted orange trees upside down, which let the vines grow and intertwine with the exposed roots. These trees are also native to the area, so they are easier to maintain and take care of.

3 – There have been famous actors that were Jungle Cruise Skippers.

The Jungle Cruise has a lot of lines to memorize and requires the commitment of the Skipper to deliver each line correctly and get the most out of the experience. There have been a few famous folks who actually got their start as skippers on the Jungle Cruise. A few known ones are Kevin Costner, John Lasseter, and Ron Ziegler.


2 – The water is dyed.

Have you noticed how the water is all brown and dirty-looking? You might have thought it was lake water or water from some other source. Nope… this water was actually initially crystal clear water that was added to the attraction and then dyed. The water was dyed brown to look more natural and to hide the track and other mechanical components in the water that would be seen if the water were clear.

1 – The Jungle Cruise inspired a movie.

Many (if not most) of the attractions at Disney parks are inspired by Disney movies. Once in a while, a Disney attraction is so popular it becomes the inspiration for a Disney movie. This was the case with Jungle Cruise’s neighbor attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean. The Jungle Cruise is the latest Disney parks attraction that was brought to life on the big screen with the release of Jungle Cruise, the movie in 2021.

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Hi! I’m Kristin, and I am a wife and mother of 2 young boys (ages 5 and 2). I first fell in love with Disney when my mom took me when I was a child. After that I proceeded to go to WDW for my senior trip with my friends, and I completed a year in the Disney College Program (working in merchandise at Mickey’s of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). I shared my love of Disney with my now husband and sucked him in. We vacationed at Walt Disney World 2-3 times per year. We decided that what maked more sense was just moving to Orlando so that we could live the Disney life and be here for all of our favorite events and seasons every year. That is exactly what we did! Now we are at the parks a couple times a week and go for most events and major holidays. We can’t get enough and get to experience Disney in a whole different way.
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