Everytime I make the announcement to my family that we are heading to the Magic Kingdom, the first thing out of my kids’ mouths are, “Did you get our Jungle Cruise fast passes?” Now my children have reached the early stages of being obsessed with high velocity rides, but nothing makes them happier at Magic Kingdom that our trip down The World Famous Jungle Cruise.
Now Jungle Cruise is one of the old Disney World attractions without all of the new fancy technology and real live animals, but it is also like a brief walk down memory lane to the original Magic Kingdom and all of the splendor that originally began with a man and his mouse.
Jungle Cruise History
Now the Jungle Cruise wasn’t also the Disney classic it is today. In its modest beginnings, it was actually a huge dud. It began at the Disneyland Resort and was an original at the Disney World Resort as well. It was a passion for Walt Disney himself and he based the attraction on the Adventure life movies, but as one would imagine, some animatronic animals and a stiff boring educational script was not the adventure people were looking for on their magical vacation.
It took over 5 years but eventually they figured out the one key piece that can make every vacation just a tad bit more magical and that is laughter. So the original stuffy script was scraped and the hilarious punny script you get to hear today was introduced.
Other than the massive changes to the script and some small changes the attraction itself, it is still standing in its original glory and now has become a staple during for many families during their Disney vacation.
Fun Fact: The Jungle Cruise was originally supposed to feature live animals but that idea was tossed out so instead the robotic animals you see now were installed so that there was something for the guests to see when enjoying the scenic boat ride.
FASTPASS OR NO FAST PASS?
Now when planning your Disney vacation, one of the most crucial factors on how your entire day will go will be the fast passes. Remember, before you even enter the park you have the chance to choose any three fast passes that are available when you are booking. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you will be able to select your fast passes 60 day out. For everyone else staying in the Orlando area, you have 30 days out to select your fast passes.
If your family is a huge fan of roller coasters, realistically Jungle Cruise is not even going to make the short list for what you want for fast passes, but for families doing Walt Disney World for kids, this is going to be a must do. If all of the Mountain fast passes are taken up and you are looking for some rides that can get long wait times, I would recommend the Jungle Cruise fastpass in those instances as well.
Depending on the time of year, the line for Jungle Cruise can get long. I mean really long. Like an hour or more. And for some attractions that is not a total downer, but for Jungle Cruise it is. Why? Because they entire stand by queue is outside. In the heat. That humid hot florida heat. It will make the line unbearable being that close to people. You might even turn into an animal yourself waiting that long. So if you do not secure your fast pass, do not lose sleep over it. Make sure you download the Disney Experience App for your smartphone and watch the line throughout the day. The wait time will go down and that will be your best chance to head on over and make the best out of a stand by situation. Either way, do NOT miss the Jungle Cruise.
BEST TIME TO RIDE?
There are multiple factors that play into when the best time for riding the Jungle Cruise is. If you do not have a fastpass, the time to jump on the Jungle Cruise will be first thing in the morning or the last thing you do in the evenings before the fireworks. The lines are the shortest during this time. If you do head to Jungle Cruise first thing in the morning I would also recommend hitting Jungle Cruise first and then running right over to Pirates of the Caribbean. It will give you two rides to hit fairly quickly and that way you can head on over to Frontierland or Fantasyland knowing that two key and classic attractions have been conquered.
Now if you are looking for the best ambiance while riding the Jungle Cruise, I strongly recommend waiting until the end of the day and riding at night. Once the sun goes down and the skipper’s lights come up, it is like a whole new attraction with the same punny humor. Now just because it is dark doesn’t mean the attraction cannot be seen. Instead it is lit by lights on the attractions and the skipper itself. And then there is the Asian temple. By far a completely different experience when the lights go down.
And if you do happen to do Jungle Cruise during the day but find yourself having some spare time in the evening, have no fear, just ride it again. Then you will have the best both worlds with two magical experiences and hilarious puns you will never forget.
Do not forget, if you are visiting Magic Kingdom during the holiday season, you HAVE to make your way over to the re-themed Jungle Cruise, now named the Jingle Cruise. Full of holiday flair and new boat names, it is a different experience than any other time of the year. And there is no time better during the year if you can handle the crowds than the Holiday Season. It should be on the bucket list of every Disney fan out there.
BUT WHAT IS THE JUNGLE CRUISE?
Okay, it is a great question. You hear the hype from all the die hard enthusiasts about this classic Disney venture, but what does it actually entail? Well from the moment you walked up to the queue for Jungle Cruise you are immersed in a jungle adventure that fits the theme perfectly. Now keep in mind the queue is outside and it can get steamy but keep your eyes out for some hidden gems in the crates. Bear in mind, this is not one of the most creative and interactive queues so make sure you enjoy your party because they will be your main source of entertainment.
If you are disabled or using a mobility scooter or wheelchair and have issues ducking into boats please let the cast member at the attractions help you. This is a small boat ride and you will have to duck down off the dock to the not most stable loading adventures of all Disney attractions. It is important to keep your safety in mind. Once you and your closest strangers you have never met are loaded into the boat you are going to begin your international water journey loaded with nothing but puns and laughter. Now keep in mind not everyone on your journey may enjoy the jokes but if you get a kick out of them make sure to laugh!
While on your cruise, you will see some hippos, crocs, a sleeping zebra, rhinos, tigers, monkeys and so much more. It is an interactive tour so the guide will be just your average Joe who happened to get a job at one of the most infamous rides at Magic Kingdom. Now when you unload in the the final stages make sure you hold on tight. The boat will move. Keep your hands tightly on the little ones. It is a mass exit out of the ride so make sure you keep your eye on your entire party because the boat will take off shortly after everyone has exited and you will be making your way back into Adventureland.
If you are with a party member who is disabled and using a mobility scooter, the Jungle Cruise has specially adapted boats that can take the entire mobility scooter and the rider in the boat. This is a great ride for those with limited mobility options because it does not require a transfer.
If you have littles in your party, have no fear. For the most part, the Jungle Cruise is known for its family likability and the only part that may scare your small one will be a trip into an Asian temple which does feature darkness, tigers, mischievous monkeys and snakes. Once they make it through the dark temple they will float right into an elephant pool party with lots of joyful laughter and splashing around.
And thankfully they will have on their trunks! You know your little one best but this has been a fan favorite of my children since they began their lifelong love affair with the Walt Disney World Resort. Personally I recommend this attraction for all ages! There is also no height requirement so your entire family will be able to ride.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
There should be not debate when coming down to Disney World about whether or not you should ride the Jungle Cruise. Like whether you’re a first time Disney guest or just doing your annual journey to the happiest place on Earth you NEED to ride the Jungle Cruise for these essential reasons:
It is accessible for the entire family! Since there is no height requirement or scary falls, the entire family can enjoy this attraction to its fullest extent.
It is classic Disney. With all of the high technology now available at the Walt Disney World Resort, it is also important to get back to the basics and those basics HAS to included the World Famous Jungle Cruise.
You do not NEED a Fastpass. Depending on the time of day, you can get on the Jungle Cruise with a wait under a half an hour as long as you are constantly checking the wait times.
Every ride is a different experience. Whether it is because you have a different tour guide or are going during a different time of day, you will have zero issues having a completely unique experience.
It is timeless. Whether it is your first time or your 50th time at the Magic Kingdom, there is something about the Jungle Cruise that brings back warm memories and happy feelings from the past, present and future. While the park itself has experienced so many changes, there is something about knowing that a good old classic will always be there for you.
Now there is some downfalls for the Jungle Cruise, one being a tad bit scary for little ones who are afraid of the dark, but the big one is the stand by queue line. It gets hot out in Florida in the summer and even though there are fans throughout the line, it is still entirely outside. You will get hot being surrounded by all of those people. One of the reasons I always try to get fast passes for the Jungle Cruise is because the line is outside.
For many other attractions it will be either inside and air conditioned or a combination of both which makes the wait bearable. For some reasons, even on cooler days at Magic Kingdom, I still get hot being crammed that tightly together in the line. But for some, the hot stand by queue is not an issue.
At the end of your Disney day, it does not matter. You HAVE to find Jungle Cruise. Do not make any excuses. This is definitely a 4.5 out of 5 stars ride! Do not try to skimp this one out on your plans because it will bring nothing by joy, happiness and a whole lot of laughter to your entire family. No matter what way you chose to do, make sure you do not leave without making an appearance on the Jungle Cruise.
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