I dislike when rides are closed, even when I know that they really needed refurbished. I have no idea why it bothers me so much but it does, even when these attractions are not on my “can’t miss” list. I guess because if I wanted to ride it I can’t. So I was really excited (for some reason I cannot pinpoint) when I heard that Jungle Cruise had reopened recently.
We have gone many times with our children and have yet to ride it with them. In fact, the last time I rode it I was a teenager and I don’t remember it being that spectacular (it takes a little more to impress teenagers). I was even more excited when I heard that Disney World was finally going to add some holiday spice to the attraction (I was a bit jealous when I found out that Disneyland fancies up the Haunted Mansion and their Jungle Cruise for the holidays but have never known Disney World to do the same).
So the Jungle Cruise had opened back up as the Jingle Cruise. How fun! I couldn’t wait! I talked it up to the kids and tried to explain to Ethan (13) that it was an older attraction but that Walt had always wanted to incorporate live animals into his parks somehow and until Animal Kingdom opened, this was the way it had been implemented. I knew the animals were still animatronics and a bit cheesy but I was genuinely excited.
We headed over to Magic Kingdom yesterday to witness the Castle Lighting and we quickly obtained a Fastpass with our Annual Passes for an hour later (the stand-by line was 40 minutes). When we arrived back I noticed the ‘u’ in the sign had been changed to an ‘i’ with what looked like a board that was hammered over it (it fit into the décor very well). We walked through the queue, noticing many holiday decorations around. When we arrived up towards the front of the line where they were loading the guests I noticed that there was a little shanty across the water on the island in the middle. It had been adorned with several strands of large, colorful Christmas lights. I think that if it had been a slight bit darker it would have looked really pretty glowing against the reflection in the water.
So we were loaded (tightly) onto our Jingle Cruise boat (which had be “renamed” with a clever holiday-themed name, ours was ‘Sleigh Ride Sadie’) and were quickly introduced to Skipper Kami. She was a complete hoot! She started right off with witty jokes that I thought were very clever and funny. My family laughed, others didn’t seem to be as into her playing the part.
We headed off into what seemed to be an extra steamy/foggy part of Africa, with excellent special affects as one would expect out of Disney. As we voyaged deeper into the African adventure it did seem as if the newly refurbished Jungle Cruise had basically been cleaned up. Everything had a fresh coat of paint and seemed to have been well trimmed and kept foliage. It was just as I had remembered it. Not a thrilling attraction like Space Mountain but still a classic. Emalie (7) and Lucas (4) thought it was a perfectly fine ride, even finding a little fright when the crocodiles and King Cobras made their way into the water near our boat. I wasn’t, and still am not, sure about the Lion area, they seemed to be feasting themselves on a Zebra. It was not gory, but just a little odd for the normal Disney attractions. The elephant area looked pleasantly new and there were many, many elephants both adult and babies playing in the water. They even squirt towards the boat. I believe that our clever Skipper Kami had something to do with when certain elephants shot water out of their trunks and while she was making some jokes she (may have pressed the wrong button) got squirted pretty well by the elephant near our boat. We all got a decent laugh and she never skipped a beat with her rehearsed monologue that she is trained to do throughout our journey.
We were witness to some extra “magic” that is never too far away at Disney World. Skipper Kami allowed a little boy and little girl that were sitting up near her to steer us through a few areas of the tour and as they smiled from ear to ear, we could tell it had made their day. The story/monologue that our skipper went through had many holiday references in it and we enjoyed our tour. I wish there had been more holiday decorations throughout the attraction but overall it was just as I remembered it. A classic that you may not visit each time you go to Magic Kingdom but definitely something to experience, at least once.
Abbie shares with us: “I am a wife and mother of 3. My parents first introduced me to the Magic of Disney World when I was 5 years old. However it wasn’t until my second trip as a teenager that the magic actually infused into me. I started eating, sleeping, and thinking Disney all the time. I even made a small Mickey head as the dot on my “i” in my first name and it then became part of my signature. I now have 3 children of my own and had the pleasure of introducing them, along with my husband, to the magical world of Disney a few years ago and they have all fallen in love with the magic that is Walt Disney World as I did. We just were transferred to Tampa, Florida with my husband’s job and my dream of living near the Mouse has come true. We will be taking our first Florida resident vacation in September and are excited to say that we are upgrading our tickets to Passholders. We are excited to see what adventures and new things we can learn about the Wonderful World of Disney!”