Christmas time visitors to Walt Disney World will find a festive new version of the classic Jungle Cruise ride, now dubbed the Jingle Cruise for a limited time. Its skippers have been armed with new jokes that fit the spirit of the season, ready to spread Christmas across the Congo River. But little else has been added to the attraction to form a full-fledged holiday overlay.
When the Jingle Cruise was announced just two weeks ago, visions of a complete makeover danced in the heads of Disney fans, thinking of large-scale seasonal updates like Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday and even the Magic Kingdom’s old Country Bear Jamboree Christmas show. This week’s release of a perfectly designed attraction poster helped to heighten expectations of Santa hat-wearing hippos and Frosty the Snowman:
Instead, the Jingle Cruise is merely a minor update to the ride, adding a few Christmas details in the queue, renaming the boats, and giving skippers some new lines to work with. The ride itself is largely untouched, other than some colored lights at the beginning and Trader Sam donning colorful new attire at the end.
With expectations properly set, the Jingle Cruise can be an enjoyable variation of the traditional trip down the jungle river. See for yourself in the video below.
Video: Full Jingle Cruise ride during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2013
The Jingle Cruise has its moments of fun detail. The skippers’ Christmas lists in the queue shouldn’t be missed, asking Santa for “vacation time to somewhere civilized” and a baby hippo. And the music and announcements playing over the speakers in the queue are worth paying attention to, updated too. But sadly the details stop there, leaving only new jokes to continue the theme throughout the ride.
It’s not nearly the holiday overlay it could (or should) have been, but it’s still an entertaining addition to the Christmas season at the Magic Kingdom. When asked why bigger attraction holiday overlays like Haunted Mansion Holiday don’t come to Florida, Disney’s response is always that there are more locals in California who appreciate the updates, giving them reasons to return to the parks throughout the year. While in Florida, Walt Disney World guests are mostly tourists who, according to Disney, want the traditional version of attractions, not a souped up Christmas version. So in this case, Walt Disney World visitors looking for the classic Jungle Cruise experience still essentially get it with a holiday twist, perhaps the exact balance Disney was going for.
The Jingle Cruise will also debut at Disneyland in California on November 12.