Jungle Cruise will be the next attraction to be renovated, Disney announced Monday.
The enhancements, scheduled to be made later this year, will include new scenes and an emphasis on diversity in backgrounds and interests, a Disney World spokeswoman said. It will also shift the ride’s storyline some, but the cast members acting as jungle skippers will remain on board.
“As Imagineers, it’s our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspectives to the world around us,” said Carmen Smith, executive creative development and inclusion strategies for Walt Disney Imagineering. “With Jungle Cruise, we’re bringing to life more of what people love — the humor and wit of our incredible skippers while making needed updates.”
The attraction has been criticized for its portrayals of natives and headhunters, and the use of the term “savages.” This problem has existed since the attraction opened, but calls for change flared last year after Disney announced they would change Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog attraction.
“For the first time ever, the skipper role will not only be that of a live, experienced and witty guide but also represented by a show figure within the attraction itself,” he said.
Disney renderings released Monday show five explorers — including two women and people of color — escaping the horn of a rhino by climbing an aging tree. The figures are hauling equipment such as a camera, telescopes, painting supplies and butterfly nets. In another piece of concept art, several chimps take over a wrecked Jungle Cruise boat.
The changes ”reflect our commitment to creating unparalleled experiences that reflect, not only the best in storytelling, but also the values and rich diversity of our world,” Robert Iger, executive chairman of Walt Disney Co., posted on Twitter.
More details about changes in scenes will be revealed later, the spokeswoman said.