Disney has finally redone its Jungle Cruise ride after years of being criticized for the attraction’s controversial depictions of Indigenous people.
In January, the corporation announced it would rethink the classic Jungle Cruise ride, in which a skipper ferried visitors along a waterway while making jokes and funny comments. One of the sights visitors were taken past involved a scene featuring “natives,” depicted as primitive and threatening.
“As Imagineers, it is our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspective of the world around us,” said Carmen Smith, creative development and inclusion strategies executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, in a statement at the time.
On July 16, the ride will open once more in Disneyland in California, while the updated version at Disney World in Florida will be completed later this summer, according to a news release from Disney.
The announcement comes ahead of the July 28 release of a “Jungle Cruise” film adaptation starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.
The new additions include both new scenes and new characters, such as a safari group stuck in a tree, the company said.
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‘A sense of inclusivity’
Disney’s team wanted “bring a sense of inclusivity” to the ride, while also keeping it “classic,” said Chris Beatty, creative portfolio executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, in a video explaining the updates.
“We want to make sure that everyone that rides the Jungle Cruise can see themselves in the characters and in this experience,” he said.
The ride is just one of a few Disney attractions that have been called out for outdated racial depictions in recent years.
One of the most notable issues has been the well-known Splash Mountain ride, which featured characters from “Song of the South,” widely considered the studio’s most racist movie for its stereotypical portrayals of Black people in the antebellum South.
Last June, the company announced plans to revamp that ride, drawing from the 2009 film “The Princess and the Frog,” which featured Disney’s first animated Black princess.
Top photo by Allen J Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Shutterstock