When the news broke in late October that both Disneyland and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom would be gifted a new holiday overlay on one of their most classic attractions, the World Famous Jungle Cruise, I knew that I had to be one of the people who saw it first! As a fan of seasonal theming in general (Haunted Mansion’s Nightmare Before Christmas and “it’s a small world holiday” in Disneyland definitely come to mind) it was especially exciting that both coasts would be receiving the treatment – and so I was ecstatic to find that it would debut on the east coast on Friday, November 8 – the same day I was attending the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of 2013!
I did not really know what to expect, since I tried my best to avoid spoilers, so I was pleasantly surprised by the little updates and additions scattered around the attraction – most notably, the “sprucing up” of the signage around the ride.
Speaking with the Cast Member in the greeter position, I learned that the premise of Jingle Cruise was simple – the skippers were homesick during the holidays, and so decided to decorate to make themselves feel more cozy and spirited. Details – ranging from letters from home, stockings, candy canes, presents, poinsettias, and even a full-size artificial tree, line the queue area – and that’s not all! One of the first things that I noticed when I arrived at the Jingle Cruise was that their costume was a bit modified too – their signature floppy-billed hats were replaced by Jungle-y Santa Hats – that was definitely a fun touch!
Another thing that I observed when visiting the attraction was something I had not experienced at Jungle Cruise in quite a long time either – the queue! We arrived at around 8 PM and waited approximately 40 minutes, though we had nary a complaint about that since we were excited to take it all in – from those aforementioned props, to the plussed-up audio track playing, which featured Christmas music from the 1930’s to 1950’s – transporting you not only into the right time period, but to the correct holiday spirit, too.
Moving through the queue and eventually, making it to the front of the line, you are grouped and seated onto the boats in the same fashion as a regular ride on the Jungle Cruise – but don’t miss the fun additions to the boat names before you board!
We had Icicle Irma, but there were tons of other great new name renditions, including: Eggnog Annie, Brrrrr Bertha, Candy Cane Connie, Garland Gertie, Mistletoe Millie, Sleigh Ride Sadie, Poinsettia Sal, Yule Log, Vixen Val, Wassail Wanda and Fruitcake Zelda.
Once we boarded Irma, we were welcomed by our friendly Skipper – she didn’t have the Santa cap, but she did have on red ornament earrings, which I immediately zeroed in on.
The spiel itself wasn’t a huge departure from the standard one, but did feature a few silly gags, namely:
- “Let’s try to stuff this boat all the way, so it’s like a stuffed stocking; make room for everyone because sharing is caring, especially during the holiday season.”
- “I will be your Skipper today, your Christmas tree trimmer, your popcorn stringer, your secret Santa…and if you don’t laugh at my jokes, you will definitely find a piece of coal in your stocking.”
- “Keep your hands, arms, feet and legs inside the boat, and please watch your children – or we’ll feed them to the reindeer!”
- “Here in the Amazon, things are larger than life, including these insects. Does anyone know what these are called? It starts with a B. No, not butterflies. They’re Bah Humbugs!”
- “Now, everyone say Ooooh! Everyone say Aahhhh! Everyone say HO HO HO! Haha! Just wanted to see if you’d do it!”
- “Look at those Hungry, hungry hippos! I really should have been more specific on my Christmas list.”
- “I think I saw a tiger following us along the beach. Know how I could tell? He had sandy claws.”
- “There’s Bertha (the elephant). We thought we could shower her with gifts, but decided instead to give her the gift of a shower.”
- “Anything you leave behind will be considered a personal present!”
Since we rode at night, I think we may have missed out on a few of the finer details of the attraction, and just as the experience varies in its usual form depending on the skipper, I will definitely be returning to take a daytime ride (or three) soon to soak it all in. The Jingle Cruise is a limited engagement, through December 31, 2013, so don’t miss out on the fun!
What do you think about Holiday overlays and offerings?