Grab your suitcase and get ready to set sail on an adventure-filled river tour. Jungle Cruise is one of several fan-favorite classic attractions remaining at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
This water safari is led by experienced Skippers, who navigate your boat through the rivers of Asia, Africa, and South America. Your pun-filled guides will not only make you laugh ’till you cry, but will also make sure you get up close and personal with the eighth wonder of the world — the backside of water!
Now let’s sail into our Jungle Cruise guide.
Before we get too far into it, make sure you check out our guide on the Best Rides at Magic Kingdom for information on every attraction and show at Magic Kingdom.
Jungle Cruise Quick Facts
Description: Jungle Cruise is a river boat ride where animatronic animals and dad jokes abound. Every Jungle Cruise Skipper has their own unique “routine”, so every ride is a little bit different. Kids who are easily scared should be told ahead of time the animals they are about to see are not real.
How to Ride Jungle Cruise
Jungle Cruise has a Standby Line and Lightning Lane. There is no Single Rider Line.
The Standby Line for Jungle Cruise is typically the lowest first thing in the morning and at the end of the evening. The middle of the day will see the longest lines with sustained wait times of over 60 minutes.
Do I need to use Genie+ at Jungle Cruise?
Jungle Cruise is available with Genie+ and we highly recommend using it at this attraction.
Aside from Peter Pan’s Flight, the Jungle Cruise is the second most booked ride on Genie+ at the Magic Kingdom. It’s a highly-popular ride that many park guests make a must-do during their park day. Unless you hop on this ride first thing, you should plan to reserve a Genie+ time for later in the day.
Make sure you check out our touring plans for Magic Kingdom for more Genie+ advice.
Rider Switch/Child Swap
Jungle Cruise is for all ages and heights. Therefore, Rider Switch, the system that allows guests with small children to take turns riding bigger rides, while another person/people wait with the little one, is not offered for Jungle Cruise.
What to Expect When You Ride
The Jungle Cruise queue is completely outdoors, with most of the line covered from the sun. While the ride doesn’t have an interactive queue like many other attractions, there are plenty of sights and sounds to enjoy.
You will find the queue decorated with prior passenger cruise logs and journals to read over. Also as you get closer to the loading station you can watch the tour boats pulling into and leaving the loading dock.
The music in the queue is also fun, including listening to what the announcer has to say.
The ride vehicles for Jungle Cruise are small river boats. There is seating around the entire interior of the boat for guests to sit. Each boat can accompany approximately 30 guests.
There is a small 6 inch gap you must step over and down into the boat. Most guests are able to board with little to no help. There is a pole to grab on to help stabilize your boarding process in addition to Cast Members who will assist guests as needed.
You will ride in the tour boat with other groups, but your party will always be seated together next to — or at least near to one another.
There are no safety restraints, seat belts or life vests. You simply sit down and ride around inside the boat.
Guests may remain in their wheelchair/ECV while on the Jungle Cruise. A select number of boats are wheelchair accessible and have space for a single wheelchair. This includes manual, power, or ECV.
The majority of wheelchair sizes have no problem fitting on the boats. There is a separate wheelchair accessible entrance where your party can wait to board their boat.
You’ll want to speak with a Cast Member at the attraction entrance (at the top of the path that leads to the attraction) for details and directions.
Sign language interpretation and assistive listening are also offered on the Jungle Cruise ride on certain days. To obtain a schedule listing exact days and times, visit Guest Relations in the park.
Jungle Cruise’s boats are slow-moving and don’t have any fast turns, so motion sickness seems very unlikely. That said, you are riding in a boat on the water. Feel free to check out our guide on motion sickness that’s filled with additional information and tips.
On The Ride
Ride spoilers ahead!
Prepare to sail away on an adventure of a lifetime as your cruise boat arrives into the loading dock. After some brief safety guidelines and a clear to go, your Skipper starts the tour sailing your cruise boat away from the dock and into the jungle.
Your first cruise stop in the jungle will be the Amazon rainforest where it rains 365 days a year. Here you will see beautiful butterflies with an impressive wingspan and the rushing waters of Inspiration Falls.
Next the tour will embark to the depths of Africa on the Congo River. You will pass by your Skippers pet python snake and a camp being broken down by Gorillas.
Cruising over to Egypt your Skipper will take you to the infamous Nile River which spans about 4,000 miles. Capture photos of the African bull elephants among the boulders. Long neck cheetahs, zebras, giraffes and lions are seen resting amongst one another. A rhinoceros is seen trying to make his point, chasing a group of explorers up a pole.
Watch out for danger as you enter crocodile country. Sail past the impressive Schweitzer falls which is named after the famous Dr. Albert Falls.
You will enter a hippo pool which will require some expert navigation from your Skipper as you see another tour cruise boat that did not fare so well going through them. A family of chimpanzees is seen taking over another tour cruise boat.
Next up is what everyone came to see, the 8th wonder of the world — the backside of water!
Prepare for dark encounters as your cruise boat enters the Mekong River in the heart of Cambodia. Your Skipper will take you through an Asian jungle shrine where you will pass a 500 pound tiger, several cobra snakes, giant spiders, shiny gold artifacts, and Buddha statues.
As you exit the tunnel you will find yourself in the middle of an Indian elephant bathing pool. Feel free to take as many pictures as you like. Beware — these elephants have been known to spray the boat, so watch out!
There’s no visit to the jungle complete without a stop to see Trader Sam’s gift shop.
As your tour boat approaches the dock again wait on your Skipper to give the word to gather all your belongings and disembark.
Trust us when we say to fully experience this ride, you need to try it yourself because the Skippers add a whole new level to each attraction scene. Their puns and jokes are the point of the cruise.
Is Jungle Cruise Kid-Friendly?
Overall, Jungle Cruise is very kid-friendly, as all ages and heights are permitted to board and ride.
However, keep in mind some of the animals on the cruise are very realistic and may scare little ones. There is also a short scene in which the boat rides through a very dark, almost pitch-black cave with several animatronic snakes and tigers that could be scary for children.
Anyone riding with kids may want to tell them the animals aren’t real prior to riding.
Kids are also required to remain seated completely during the entire tour. There is no exchanging of kids from one parent to another while the ride is in motion. Due to the nature of this ride being open and on the water, the Skippers are very strict about this.
We have a full guide on several other things that might scare little ones at Disney World.
Strollers are not permitted on the Jungle Cruise boats. They can be left in the designated area near the attraction entrance or with a non-rider.
Jungle Cruise was one of the original attractions ready in 1971 on Magic Kingdom’s opening day. It was also an opening day attraction at Disneyland Park in California back in 1955.
Ironically, before becoming known for its laughs and silly jokes, the attraction as a whole was initially more of a serious tone with only a few jokes inserted here and there.
The original script for Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise was written by Winston Hibler and inspired by Disney’s True-Life Adventure African Lion film. This gave the ride its more serious and educational tone, but that all changed in the ’60s when Imagineer Marc Davis took over and turned the ride into what many know and love today.
During the holidays, Jungle Cruise receives a holiday overlay and becomes the “Jingle Cruise.” The ride format stays basically the same with the addition of fun holiday-themed jokes and pretty seasonal decorations.
Believe it or not, but the holiday Jingle Cruise actually hasn’t been around that long — only since 2013!
In January 2021, Disney announced that some much-needed changes were coming to the Jungle Cruise on both coasts. Those updates are now complete.
Some of the enhancements included incorporating an animatronic skipper, new characters (like Alberta Falls), adding new jokes (don’t worry, many of the classics remain), and freshening up the story by adding chimpanzees, new explorers being chased up the pole, and making the Skippers more of a focus.
Here was the concept art for these updates that were previously shared by Disney:
Most importantly, the outdated depictions and problematic scenes have been removed.
As Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Portfolio Executive Chris Beatty told D23, “This is not a re-envisioning of the entire attraction. It’s the Jungle Cruise you know and love, with the skippers still leading the way, and at the same time, we’re addressing the negative depictions of ‘natives.'”
This also means the removal of Trader Sam from the final scene of the ride. But he isn’t totally gone; Trader Sam is still part of the attraction in a unique way.
The final scene features a Lost & Found Gift Shop with a sign indicating that it is managed by Trader Sam (in place of the Trader Sam animatronic). As stated by Disney, “But, while he’s out lost and finding some new inventory, it’s the animals that get the last laugh!”
Other Fun Details
- Rumor has it that when you enter the hippo pool, you’ll see the back half of a plane on the right, and, apparently, the front half was used in the Casablanca scene in the now-permanently closed Great Movie Ride.
- The Jungle Cruise is not based on a movie, but it did inspire one. The new live-action Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt was released on July 30, 2021 giving nod to this classic attraction.
- Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen is a nearby Table Service restaurant themed after the Jungle Cruise. It has a unique menu, serves alcohol, and is just as fun as the attraction. Reservations are recommended.
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