No, There’s No Rock Animatronic. Everything We Know About Disney’s Jungle Cruise Changes

Disney recently announced that the Jungle Cruise would receive new enhancements in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Jungle Cruise

The new storyline promises more laughs, mishaps, and adventures. We’re sharing EVERYTHING that we know so far!

The Puns Will Stay

Fans of Jungle Cruise’s witty humor and poorly-timed puns can rest easy: the jokes will stay. Although the skippers’ spiel will be updated to reflect the new storyline, some classic jokes will stay (like the famous “backside of water.”).

Jungle Cruise

Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Portfolio Executive Chris Beatty explains, “We want to make sure we go in and add all the humor that Marc Davis gave it, all those years ago. Anything new we add will be in that tone.” We’ll have some added jokes based off new content to mix things up a bit!

New Story Follows a Jungle Cruise Skipper

Chris Beatty emphasizes that skippers are “the heart and soul” of the Jungle Cruise, and we couldn’t agree more. So in this enhancement, it will be all about the skippers! In addition to a witty (and very knowledgable) guide, there will be a skipper “show figure within the attraction itself.”

Jungle Cruise

Guests will get to follow along as a skipper’s journey with his passengers goes awry. Each member of the crew “will have their own story and cultural heritage”, as well as their own reason for being on the expedition. We’ve got birdwatchers, wildlife painters, and more!

The Scenes Will Be Tied Together…

We’ll follow this crew from mishap to mishap as their boat is wrecked and taken over by chimpanzees. Chris Beatty says, “the guides will have character developments that are tied between scenes.”

Jungle Cruise Concept Art ©Disney

This added depth will get guests really invested in these explorers, their backstories, and their misadventures out in the jungle.

…and Will Incorporate Jungle Cruise Lore

That chimpanzee-ridden boat in the “Kwango Kate”, which used to be part of the Magic Kingdom fleet! However, it hasn’t been on the river for quite a while now.

Jungle Cruise

Imagineer Zach Riddley said in an Instagram post, “one of the things I love about our design process is the depth of story that goes into every detail.” The boat’s name is a nod to Jungle Cruise lore and an opportunity to expand and deepen the storyline even more.

Some Classic Scenes Will Stay…

The famous rhino scene is safe! Our unfortunate guides will still be chased up a tree, but we’re sure they’ll get the (rhino’s) point in the end.

Jungle Cruise Concept Art ©Disney

Beatty says that this scene will really kick off the storyline. And of course, our new animatronic skipper will be there, too. Instead of fully re-envisioning this scene, the Imagineers are “adding a narrative and storytelling to bring things to life and connect that moment with other happenings along the river.”

…While Others Will be Reimagined

One of the important elements of this enhancement is addressing the negative depictions that exist on the current Jungle Cruise. The scene with the “natives” will be changed.

Jungle Cruise

We’re not sure what this means for Trader Sam yet!

There’s a Diverse Project Team Involved

The members of this team include Imagineer and former skipper Kevin Lively, who will be writing the new script. Carmen Smith, executive for Creative Development and Inclusive Strategies, will also be involved. She’ll ensure that “any time we show something culturally significant, that is done in the proper light.”

Jungle Cruise

There will also be a chimpanzee expert. Dr. Mark Penning and his team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will make sure the addition of the chimps is authentic. After all, they will be making their official Jungle Cruise debut!

The Movie is Not Part of the Enhancement

With the Jungle Cruise movie releasing this year, many wondered if the enhancement would draw from those characters and plot. As in, would we have an animatronic of The Rock?


But integrating the new movie into the Jungle Cruise attraction is not part of this project. Chris Beatty hinted that guests may be able to spot some Easter eggs from the film, but nothing major will be added. So there will be no The Rock animatronic!

The Enhancement Will be the Same on Both Coasts

The story will be the same on both coasts, so that there’s a cohesive plot between the two.

Jungle Cruise

Chris Beatty said, ” It’s been fun to look at the nuances between the two attractions and what makes them slightly different, but the scenes that we’re adjusting are the same.” You can expect the two attractions to look pretty similar by the time this enhancement is finished.

The Timeline is Still Unknown

Disney has not yet officially announced a date for these changes, but according to Chris Beatty, the Imagineers are “working hard to make sure we can get everything in this year.”

Jungle Cruise

We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any and all updates about this Jungle Cruise reimagining, so stay tuned to AllEars!

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What do you think about these changes being made to the Jungle Cruise? Let us know in the comments!

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One Reply to “No, There’s No Rock Animatronic. Everything We Know About Disney’s Jungle Cruise Changes”

  1. Anytime an attraction is old it is time to make some major changes. Look back on the many changes WDW has made over the years. Remember the submarine ride or ToonTown.
    No complaint from this Disney fan.