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Jungle Cruise- Disneyland
By D’land Diva

“How many of you came on this ride to see danger? Yes? Well here it is!” And the skipper points to a sign on a box that says the word danger. This is just one of the many zany jokes that you can expect aboard the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland.

The Jungle Cruise was one of the first rides that Walt Disney built at Disneyland because of all the foliage involved. As it was, on opening day in July 1955, the foliage had not completely grown in. The ride was originally developed to be an educational journey through the Amazon in South America, the Nile in Africa, the Irrawaddy in Southeast Asia and the Ganges of India. By 1962, however, the ride took on a more humorous tone. This humor is what the ride is known for today, and what makes this ride so popular.

Guests wait in a themed queue that is blessedly covered from the hot Southern California sun. Once in awhile, a Jungle Cruise operator will come over the loudspeaker with jokes. We heard this terrific one several years ago that went like this: “To the person who lost the roll of $50 bills held together with a red rubber band, we have terrific news! We have found your red rubber band.” For the most part, the line for the Jungle Cruise is never more than 15-20 minutes and is all on the lower floor. This is due to the large number of guests that are loaded onto each boat. On crowded days, guests may wait on the upper floor as well.

Diva Tip for the Jungle Cruise line: When the line splits, go to the left. The left side will load onto the water side and this is the side that faces most of the scenery on the ride.

Once guests are loaded onto the boats, the skipper will introduce himself or herself and the jokes begin. I dare you not to chuckle at least once during the first five minutes of the ride! The cruise takes you past some “exotic” animals and right past the elephant bathing pool. “Don’t worry folks, you can take a picture. They all have their trunks on” the joke goes.

The cruise will take you past wild gorillas, jungle natives and some hippos who, apparently, are only dangerous when they wiggle their ears and blow bubbles. Your skipper may fire a warning shot (a blank, but cover your kids’ ears anyways because it is loud and startling to some) to get the hippos to leave the boat alone.

The backside of water is another highlight of the trip. This is a waterfall that you pass by towards the beginning of the trip and go behind during the later part of the trip. The skipper may warn kids to not try and see the backside of water at home or they may, “hit their head on the faucet.”

In 2005, a new addition was added to the cruise- piranhas. Your skipper will let you know that these are “only man eating piranhas so all women and children are safe.” These piranhas may spray some water a bit, so just be aware. You may wish to scoot a little bit forward in your seat when they come around. Of course, if it is a warm day, you may like this part of the ride very much!

The Jungle Cruise is an enjoyable boat ride that is made even better with the jokes by your skipper. The animals, by the way, are not terribly real looking as to scare small children. Both of my little ones enjoy this ride, and I feel comfortable giving it a scream factor of 1 (and this is just because of the shot at the hippos). There is also a few skeleton heads and a headhunter figure that might be frightening to some. My little ones are not scared of either of these things, and to be honest, probably don’t understand them fully and I’m okay with that.

This ride has an accessible boat so there is no need to transfer from your wheelchair or electric vehicle. Accessibility entrance is at the exit of the ride. If you are able to transfer, you will transfer here.

I will conclude with one of my favorite skipper jokes upon the exit of the ride “Please don’t forget to take your kids with you or we will take them over to It’s A Small World and make them sing that silly song over, and over and over again.”

As a Disneyland Annual Passholder for over fifteen years, it is clear that I love to be in the parks! I am a huge fan of all things Disney, but mostly the Muppets and Flynn Rider. On many weekends you can find me sipping a Mint Julep in New Orleans Square at Disneyland with my Disney loving husband and my two Disney loving children plotting which ride to go on next. I am Editor and Co-Director of the Tips from the Disney Diva site.