Jungle Cruise | Disney World

For over 40 years, visitors at the Magic Kingdom have been riding through a jungle of mechanical animals, and listening to corny jokes by cast members.  The Jungle Cruise at Disney World was one of the most elaborate and costly rides when the park first opened in 1971.  Over time, however, many have come to view this ride as an outdated relic.  Others however, appreciate the history of the ride.  Disney, for their part, has turned this into “comedy hour”, with cast members telling unbelievably corny jokes!  Let’s get a perspective on this ride, and also get you some info on how best to fit this into your daily schedule.

Jungle Cruise – History

Not only was the Jungle Cruise an opening-day attraction at the Magic Kingdom, it was on the opening-day roster at Disneyland in 1955!  For the first seven years, it was intended as somewhat of a nature documentary.  There were no jokes, and no silly comments from the cast members.

Perhaps in realizing that the ride wasn’t realistic enough, Disney began adding jokes and “funny cast members” in the mid-60’s, and the Disney World version of the ride has always had a heavy comedic element.

jungle cruise disney world

The Original

Jungle Cruise – The Ride

The ride is very basic.  Everyone gets in a boat, and goes around a circular river with mechanical animals.  The time period is in the 1930’s along the Amazon River.  Small children may enjoy the ride, because there are many animals they can see.  Even though they aren’t real, they may look real to some kids.

The only thing that gives this older ride any “teeth” is the comedic banter of your skipper.  Obviously, some are funnier than others, but they have a slew of jokes that they pull from, and if you get a funny one, it can be a really good experience!  It’s fun to watch the skippers play off each other at the docks, as well.  This is easily the one ride in the entire park where the cast members are the story, instead of the ride itself!

Jungle Cruise Tips

Beware of wait times.  Of all the rides in the park, the times listed for the Jungle Cruise consistently seem off.  The waiting area is much larger than it appears from the outside.  Make sure you take that into consideration if you are in a hurry.  A 20-minute listed time can turn into a much longer experience.  A good rule of thumb is that if you can see a lot of people right near the front in line, you want to skip it.

The ride is also Fastpass and Fastpass Plus eligible, so if you really want to ride it, you can use a FP for it.  We prefer to fit the Jungle Cruise in at some point on our vacation when the lines are low.  We also prefer to do the Jungle Cruise at night.  It is a bit scary at night, as you do get the feel that you are riding through a jungle at night.  It really adds to the thrill a little bit, which is sorely needed from this ride!  Also, at nighttime, people are usually planning other things to do, so the lines are a bit shorter!

In conclusion, this isn’t the best ride Disney World has to offer, but it’s a ride we always try to catch at least once per vacation!  The tour guide can make or break it, but if you get a good one, you won’t forget it!

Do you have any experience or tips on the Jungle Cruise?  If so, share them below!

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