There are lots of changes coming to the Disney parks in 2021!
It’s Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, so we’ll get mini-transformations at each of the 4 parks to mark the occasion. Plus, on the big birthday, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open in EPCOT! But that’s not all: sometime in 2021, the iconic Jungle Cruise ride is due for a reimagining.
In January, Disney announced that the attraction would change in both Disney World and Disneyland. We’ve learned quite a bit about the refurbishment (and no, there won’t be a The Rock animatronic!), and we’re keeping an eye out for when construction may begin. But now, after an exclusive interview with Disney Imagineers, Attractions Magazine has released even MORE details about what a reimagined Jungle Cruise could look like.
Recently, we learned a LOT about Alberta Falls, granddaughter of the world-renowned Dr. Albert Falls. She opened the Skipper Canteen, and the entire new cast of characters will be connected to her in some way. As guests float down the river, they’ll see this motley crew facing mishap after mishap. According to the Imagineers, the animals may have the last laugh!
Those characters include Felix Pechman XIII, the animatronic skipper who’s followed by bad luck. We’ll also encounter an acclaimed Canadian botanist (Dr. Leonard Moss), a celebrated Mexican artist (Rosa Soto Dominguez), and Japan’s preeminent entomologist Dr. Kon Chunosuke — who is also a member of the legendary Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.)! Our last character is Siobhan “Puffin” Murphy, Alberta’s distant cousin who has QUITE the affinity for puffins.
Imagineer Susana Tubert shared that all of these characters “are a little bit eccentric in their own ways,” but that they share the desire to have “a once-in-a-lifetime immersive experience in nature.” We can pretty much guarantee their adventures will fit the bill!
So how will the storyline be connected between Disney World and Disneyland — especially with the history of the Skipper Canteen so rooted in Magic Kingdom? Imagineer Kevin Lively explains that both skipper crews will actually be workin’ the same river! He shared, “We view the two boathouse queues as the East and West docks of the Jungle Navigation Company Ltd., connected by the same river. The skippers may work their shift on the West dock, but then swing by Skipper Canteen and call it a night on the East dock. So, it’s one big shared story!”
And lastly…what’s to become of Trader Sam? While Tubert explained that the reimagining is less focused on “solving the ‘negative depictions’” and more centered around creating new, positive cultural representations. And while the ride updates will address “negative depictions of ‘natives,’” Disney hasn’t announced what that means for the Trader Sam animatronic. But, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Resort will stay intact.
Phew! Disney was serious when they said they were beefin’ up that storyline! We’ll keep a close eye on this reimagining and keep ya posted with any more news. Stay tuned to DFB for more Disney updates!
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Are you excited for this refurb? Let us know in the comments!