Attractions Around the World: Jungle Cruise

Which version is the best?

The World Famous Jungle Cruise is a Disneyland original. When the park opened on July 17, 1955 it was one of the attractions guests were able to ride that first day. But it is also an “OG” attraction in four of the six resorts around the world and with the refurbishment of Disneyland’s version they all have different features. Only Shanghai and Paris are missing this classic. According to the D23 website, “A Jungle Cruise was not built at Disneyland Paris because after the popularity of the Disneyland attraction, a number of European parks had already copied the concept, and to build one at Disneyland Paris would not have provided anything new to European visitors.”

If you are a fan of this beloved attraction, you might wonder which of these is the best and what the difference is between them. We’ve come up with a guide to help you out. I’ve ranked them in reverse order saving the best for last.

  • Disneyland – Much kudos to the Imagineers for updating this attraction with modern sensibilities! However, even with the new scenes, it’s still pretty much the same Jungle Cruise. The focus is really on the skippers and their ability to “pun” their way through the ride. There is (supposedly) a story that serves as a backdrop for the attraction, but it’s incidental at best.
  • Walt Disney World – Again, kudos to the Imagineers for being more culturally sensitive. The WDW version gets a slight edge over its Disneyland clone because of the Skipper Canteen, the Jungle Cruise themed restaurant located near the attraction which carries the theme onto the dock and into your stomach. If you’re a Jungle Cruise fan, you’ll want to experience all the small details incorporated into the building, the menu, and everything else around this area. Read more about Skipper Canteen on the Disney Nerds website.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland – With its international crowd, Hong Kong Disneyland has a unique feature; it’s story is told in three different languages! Whether you speak Cantonese, Mandarin, or English there will be a skipper who can share the experience with you. The queue isn’t much to look at and the ride isn’t all that different from all the others (and the American jokes don’t translate as well here), BUT they have a completely different ending. The attraction ends with a battle between fire and water gods. Your boat stops in front of a rock formation with a skull-like look and suddenly everything turns to fire! But it’s not very thrilling. It’s more like being on a studio tram tour. Honestly, it’s not the level of creativity you’d expect from most Imagineering experiences, but for that you need to go to our top pick.
  • Tokyo Disneyland – The best of the four! And better at night than in the day. The effects they’ve installed in the ride come to life and make the ride into a real attraction. Most of the time, Jungle Cruise relies on the skill of the skipper to make it worthwhile. But at Tokyo Disneyland, the ride itself is a spectacle and worth the wait. I’m sure it would be even better if I understood Japanese, but even without knowing the language it was fun enough to go on it more than once. Read about our experience here!

How many of these Jungle Cruises have you been on? Which has been your favorite?

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