Opened: October 1, 1971
Location: Down stairs across from Aladdin’s Magical Carpets
Extra Magic Hours: No
FASTPASS: Yes. Return times are generally 40 to 60 minutes out regardless of crowd level. After 12pm, you may need to rely on FASTPASS to avoid 30+ minute waits.
Type: Boat ride
Similar To: A mashup of Living with the Land and Great Movie Ride
Scary Factor: Very low. You’ll enter a reasonably dark cave for a few moments, but there’s nothing here that should startle anyone.
What to Expect: The queue for the Jungle Cruise is deceptively long and winding so don’t ignore the posted wait time if the line appears short (or long) at first glance. The queue is covered and cooler than many other parts of the Park, but it isn’t indoors or air-conditioned. Once you make it to the front of the line you will board a slow-moving tramp-steamer themed boat that holds about 40 passengers and has a maximum speed of just over two miles per hour. The boat will travel through several scenes that feature audio-animatronic animals from three continents and lush tropical landscaping. Each boat features a live cast member that will narrate your voyage and tell a variety of bad jokes and puns.
Where to Sit: You want to be seated around the edge of the boat for the best views. I prefer to be seated in the very front or back where it’s easier to see what’s ahead of you or get clearer pictures out the back with nobody’s head in the way. There are seats in the middle that are less than ideal, particularly for photographs, but also because there’s no back and you’ll be staring directly into someone’s face. When the cast member asks where you’d like to be seated, tell them along the edge in the front or back if it’s available. Filling seating requests can be more difficult here because seating isn’t in rows. They fill the boat based on where you are in line and where you’ll fit. If a cast member gives you trouble over a seating request, offer that you’re happy to wait for the next boat.
When To Go: I recommend collecting FASTPASSes in the early or later afternoon and then getting in line to ride Pirates of the Caribbean or another close by Adventureland attraction with a minimal wait. You should have plenty of time to do that along with Tiki Room and Swiss Family Treehouse before it’s convenient to return to Jungle Cruise. Aloha Isle is nearby as well and serves the ever-popular Dole Whip http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dole_Whip which you may want to try. Otherwise, return in the late evening when the line is shorter. You don’t want to be stuck in the regular line in the afternoon because it’s long, boring, and still fairly hot.
Expect to Wait: This is a slow-loading ride that’s popular with families because of its proximity to Pirates of the Caribbean and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Expect waits in the 30 minute range by lunch and 45 minute range in the afternoon.
Why So Serious? The original version of the Jungle Cruise featured a much more serious narrative, rather than the purposefully pun-ny, corny version you’ll hear today. In addition, the water is dyed the dark color so you can’t tell that the water is less than five feet deep in most places.
Length: 9 minutes
Commentary: Although it features mostly “dated” animatronics and effects, Jungle Cruise remains a lot of fun. The experience hinges on your skipper who makes or breaks the experience. Although a few lines are canned, the best skippers ad lib throughout the attraction, making each ride a relatively unique experience Most kids are mesmerized by the scenes, effects, and sounds and adults generally find the attraction endearing. It’s recommended, but may not be an absolute must do if you’re severely short on time.