Disney Guest Blog - Jungle Boat & Walt Disney

Dixon on Disney - A reminder from the history of the Jungle Cruise attraction that life is a journey and things may look different depending on whether you’re at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the ride.

Dixon on Disney - A reminder from the history of the Jungle Cruise attraction that life is a journey and things may look different depending on whether you’re at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the ride.

Disney Archaeology – time to do some digging and see what we can find.

The two pictures in this post are one of Walt Disney posing with the famous rhino in the Jungle Cruise. The second picture is the drawings created by Marc Davis that set up the gag, “they’ll get the point, in the end.”

So this find is about the Jungle Cruise.

The legacy of the Jungle Cruise is unmistakable. The fun and strange combination of comically-extreme jungle scenes and pun-intensive Skipper narration has entertained millions of theme park guests over the years. It is easy to forget that Walt Disney himself created the ride and then later, demanded its overhaul.

The history is interesting…it began with a design to include live animals, but the difficulty would be to get them to stay active enough for guests to see them. There also was the problem of placing live wild animals just feet away from Main Street USA. Then of course were the problematic building codes. So an entire re-dreaming had to be done to make it work. After it was done, then Walt also ordered an overhaul to add humor and more fun to the attraction.

Due to its popularity at Disneyland, the Jungle Cruise was an automatic inclusion for Walt Disney World’s debut. It also has been included in various ways at other Disney resorts. Since its debut, The Jungle Cruise has continued to evolve. The elephant bathing pool was added in 1962, the safari camp in 1964 (see pictures), and in the mid-1970s additional new scenes were added. More recently, a holiday overlay called Jingle Cruise also sets sail in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Just as you travel on a journey along the rivers of the Jungle Cruise, the attraction itself has been on a journey. The original concept from Walt, the journey to build and then redesign it followed. The additions and improvements, including the famous rhino scene that Walt laughed out loud at – and told Marc Davis that it had to become a part of the attraction for the guests to see and enjoy.

Sometimes we stop at the first thought, the first idea, and the first concept that we have in life. Yet the Jungle Cruise is a reminder that the first stop may not be the last stop, instead it is just a beginning. Where you are today is not the end, it is a beginning… the first day of the future. No matter where you have been. No matter what your journey has been so far, this is the first day of a new tomorrow. It is never too late to be who you were created to be.


About the Author: This article, which first appeared on Facebook, is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life, a book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.


Annette’s note: Is it just me or did you also want to start singing Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” as you were reading Jeff’s post? What a great reminder that we cannot always see the end from the middle of the ride.