Disney Parks News: Jungle Cruise Changes and Disneyland Resort Takes a Step Forward

For much of the last year, there has been little in the way of Disney Parks news. I guess that’s not fully true since, you know, they closed and that was pretty dramatic. But as far as normal news, things have been fairly dormant outside of a few changes and updates. With a little bit of news out today it seems like a small step towards things getting back to normal. That may be wishful thinking but we’re going to use the positive vibes to stretch it into a blog post!

We’ll start with the actual Disney news of the day: Changes are coming to the Jungle Cruise! Here’s a link to the Disney Parks Blog post about the changes and I’ve added the video below.

In short, Jungle Cruise will be updated to rid the attraction of the possibly culturally insensitive ‘Native’ term. From the concept art we can see two differences/additions. One of those changes is the famous scene where rhinos are chasing natives up a tree to ‘get their point across’. The concept art shows that those faces will be changed to a more culturally diverse group of travelers, who possibly were on their own river journey.

In another piece of concept art we see apes taking over a sinking Jungle Cruise boat. I think this will be a nice addition.

While this is the only concept art released, the changes to the attraction are supposed to be completed by the end of this year. The attraction is fairly easy to change out, as we see Disney do every year for the Christmas overlay but I do think this may mean that the changes aren’t as wholesale as the Parks Blog post might indicate.

I certainly expect some script changes and a few different scenes. Disney did promise the same Jungle Cruise spirit with a reworked story and new scenes. I don’t think this is the complete change that we’ll see for Splash Mountain in the coming years.

While I’m not the biggest Jungle Cruise defender, I do like the attraction and will always go on it during a trip. I don’t have much commentary to add but I am cautiously optimistic about the changes. Disney has set a precedent over the last year to be culturally sensitive so this move is far from a surprise. Regardless of your political views, this is the route Disney is going now and I’d rather they play it safe like this than actually offend anyone.

Hippo Jungle Cruise splash MK

Beyond that, I do think the attraction is in need of an update. I don’t think most of the people who adore Jungle Cruise get on it because of the amazing plot or specific scenes. Most remember the Skippers and the jokes that they tell. The whole experience is so dependent on what Skipper you get that I’m hoping an updated version can rely a little less on that while still having some clearly impromptu moments.

For longtime fans, I think this could add a freshness to the attraction. I’m not saying that I don’t like the current version because I do. But it’s the attraction in the parks that’s most like a show. My thoughts on shows in the parks is that they should be changed out every few years to keep them fresh. Just like that, I think a script and scene change in the Jungle Cruise could be beneficial down the road.

Lastly, I’m very happy that the attraction won’t include tie-ins to the movie. I love both Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Emily Blunt but I prefer the park attractions to stay free of the movie tie-ins when possible, regardless of how good the movie is. Overall, I’m eager to see if these changes will bring a new life to Jungle Cruise over the next few years.

Carthay Circle

In another piece of news that I’m optimistic about, Disneyland Resort is now allowed to have outdoor dining again at Downtown Disney as the stay-at-home order was lifted across California. Now, this is the smallest piece of good news possible. A few months ago this area had outdoor dining available before getting shut down again and it certainly could happen all over again. That said, with vaccine distribution accelerating it seems like a small corner might be getting turned.

Disneyland reopening is a subject I’ve largely stayed away from on this site simply due to not wanting to lead people on. I have done plenty of reading on the subject but I’m far from an expert. I’m optimistic by nature and do think that Disneyland Resort has a chance to open sometime this spring thanks to the vaccine rollout and the company eventually fighting back over having to stay closed. If California’s COVID numbers continue to decline like we’ve seen in the last week or two then a spring opening is well within the realm of possibility.

Matterhorn balloons DL

That’s all the news we have for today! Let us know what you think in the comments below but please stay away from any political views. Planning a Disney trip? Check out our Travel Guides to help get you there! If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney please subscribe to the blog via email or WordPress and like our social media pages. You can find all of those things on the right side of this page. Thank you very much for reading, we appreciate it!

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