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There's a somewhat famous story about Walt Disney and Disneyland's "Jungle Cruise." As I remember it, Walt was standing outside of this Adventureland attraction when he noticed a family walking past the ride's entrance. The son pulled at the mother's hand, saying: "Mom! It's the Jungle Cruise! Can we go on it, please?"
Never even breaking stride, the mother replied: "No, we've already seen that ride. We went on it the last time we were at the park, remember?"
Photo by Jeff Lange
Walt stood there with his jaw agape, watching as that family disappeared into the crowd. Seemingly shocked that they'd opt to take a pass on an attraction that was as highly detailed (More importantly, as expensive to build & maintain) as Disneyland's "Jungle Cruise" was. All because that family had "already seen that ride."
Right then and there, Disney reportedly came up with the idea of "plussing" his theme park attractions. As in: Regularly adding new scenes, characters and effects to a ride in an effort to keep that attraction fresh.
Well, I am pleased to report that the tradition of "plussing" is alive and well at Disneyland. With the "Jungle Cruise" (I.E. The attraction that originally inspired Walt to introduce this practice) being the most recent ride to receive this treatment.
"So what's changed on this Adventureland ride?," you ask. Well -- after its recent 10-week-long rehab -- this entire attraction now looks bright, shiny & new. (And -- no -- I'm not just talking about the boat with the gold paint job.) Virtually every sequence in the ride & every figure in each scene looks great.
Best of all, the Imagineers have restaged & improved several sequences in the "Jungle Cruise." Take -- for example -- the gorilla scene. You know, the one where the apes have succeeded in turning the jeep over? Well, in honor of Disneyland's 50th anniversary, this sequence got a rather extreme make-over.
How extreme? Well now -- when your boat floats through this encampment -- you noticed that a lot of these apes are armed. More importantly, that these gorillas & baboons are now taking pot shots at various flammable objects that are floating in the river. And that -- every time these apes hit one of those gas cans -- Ka-BLAM! A well-concealed water cannon sends river water high into the air. Which eventually splashes down on some Disneyland guests.
Mind you, this is not the only place in the "Jungle Cruise" where you may find yourself getting wet. Some Disneyland visitors also found themselves getting splashed as their boat entered this Adventureland attraction's new pirannah attack sequence. Which is located where the ride's old rapid scene used to be.
FYI: Just in case you're wondering how WDI pulled off that swarming-carniverous-fish illusion, it's basically the same technology that Disneyland used back in the 1960s to pull off that jumping-fish illusion in the park's old "Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland" attraction. As in: It's just a weighed rubber fish at the end of a pole.
No matter how these new effects are achieved, I still found myself greatly enjoying Disneyland's new beefed up & buffed up "Jungle Cruise." In fact, during the four trips that I took on this Adventureland attraction, I only experienced one disappointment.
"And what was that?," you query. Well, my disappointment came when I learned that John Lasseter (I.E. Pixar's Creative VP, the director of "Toy Story" & "Toy Story II" and -- more importantly -- a former Disneyland "Jungle Cruise" driver) had taken a boatload of journalists out for a trip around this Adventureland attraction. Where John recreated the spiel that he used to give back in the 1970s.
Mind you, Angela & I ran into Lasseter later in the day. But I still wish that I'd been able to hear his version of the "Jungle Cruise" spiel.
Wel, that's it for today. But we've got hundreds of Disneyland photos yet to come. So hang in there, okay?