Disneyland to Redo Offensive Scenes on Jungle Cruise

Theme park says it will remove 'negative depictions of native people'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2021 2:00 AM CST
Disneyland Plans a More Inclusive Jungle Cruise
Heidi Klum poses with Mickey Mouse aboard the Jungle Cruise attraction at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., in 2014.   (AP Photo/Disneyland, Paul Hiffmeyer)

The Jungle Cruise, a Disneyland staple since 1955, has regularly undergone tweaks. It's now in for a broader rethinking, the Walt Disney Co. announced Monday. The goals are to make the ride more inclusive and racially sensitive, the Los Angeles Times reports. That will be achieved partly by eliminating "negative depictions of native people," per the Orange County Register. Dark-skinned characters portrayed as hostile savages, sometimes cannibals, or as subservient will be taken out of scenes, and more animals and new characters will be added. Disneyland announced last summer that it's making changes for similar reasons to Splash Mountain. That attraction was inspired by the 1946 film Song of the South, which is loaded with racial stereotypes and presents the antebellum South sympathetically. Disney no longer makes that film available, per SFGate.

A blog post on the site of a theme park design company, the Thinkwell Group, described certain Jungle Cruise scenes as "horrifyingly racist" last year. Many of those scenes were installed after the opening of the attraction, which was overseen by Walt Disney himself. A war party carrying spears was added in 1957, for example. Originally called the Jungle Rivers of the World, the attraction emphasized education. The changes won't be wholesale, an executive told a fan site. "This is not a reenvisioning of the entire attraction," he said, per the Register. The company also said it isn't touching other parts of the park, such as Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. But the Jungle Cruise will be changed. "As Imagineers, it is our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspectives of the world around us," another executive said. (More Disneyland stories.)

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