Disney Confirms Changes Coming to Attraction for First Time Since 1971

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A split image with close-up of a building permit and blueprints on the left, and the Disney Cinderella Castle at Disney World on the right under a cloudy sky.

Credit: Inside The Magic

A new permit filed by Walt Disney World Resort signals some potential improvements for a beloved attraction operating since 1971.

A wrecked boat with animatronic chimpanzees on board at Walt Disney World Resort's Jungle Cruise
Credit: Disney

New Permit Filed Points Towards Renovations and Improvements for a 53-Year-Old Disney Magic Kingdom Attraction

This week, a new notice of commencement has been filed for extensive underwater work at the Jungle Cruise attraction in Magic Kingdom.

Unlike typical permits with a one-year expiration, this permit is set to expire in October 2025. Underwater Engineering Services Inc. has been contracted for the project, although the license only outlines “general construction” as the scope of work.

The permit’s address corresponds to the Jungle Cruise attraction rather than any backstage facilities or maintenance areas.

While specifics still need to be included in the permit, information from the UESI website suggests their expertise covers above and below-water assets, including operational facilities and those undergoing decommissioning.

Visitors walking near the entrance of a "jungle cruise" attraction at theme parks in the summer with signs for fastpass and stand-by entrances under a sunny sky inside Disney World.
Credit: Disney World Resort

Given the attraction’s more than 50 years of operation, it’s plausible that the work may involve corrosion control, inspections, repairs, or similar activities.

However, it’s unlikely that this work signals a thematic change for the Jungle Cruise, especially considering recent updates made by Walt Disney Imagineering to enhance the attraction for future guests.

Notably, the permit is owned by Disney World’s facility management team rather than Walt Disney Imagineering. It remains to be seen if the project will necessitate any downtime for the attraction, as no closures or refurbishments have been announced.

A picturesque view of a fairy tale Cinderella Castle with spires, under a clear blue sky with the sun setting behind, casting a warm glow over the scene.
Credit: Disney
The Jungle Cruise at Disneyland has undergone many changes since 1971, including:
  • 1960s and 1970s: New animals and show scenes were added
  • 1994: The river channel was rerouted and shortened to make room for the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction
  • 1995: The colorful fringes on top of the boats were replaced with a canvas look
  • 2021 and 2022: The ride received a new backstory, new scenes, and updates to make it more culturally sensitive
  • 2023: The ride underwent a major change in November

Although these changes have occurred and renovations have been done to the ride, this specific type of permit signals that the kind of work about to be done has not been done since 1971 when the attraction first opened to the general public.

Jungle Cruise Boat
Credit: Disney

Situated within the enchanting realm of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort, Jungle Cruise is a timeless attraction, offering guests an immersive riverboat journey through a captivating array of exotic landscapes.

Inspired by the majestic rivers of the world, this ride is renowned for its picturesque scenery, lifelike animatronics depicting a variety of wildlife, and engaging narration by witty skippers.

Upon boarding the boats, guests are transported into a realm of adventure, where they encounter whimsical interactions with hippos, elephants, and other jungle inhabitants. The attraction’s meticulous attention to detail and compelling storytelling have solidified its status as a cherished highlight of the Magic Kingdom experience.

Jungle Cruise
Credit: Disney

Over the years, Jungle Cruise has undergone strategic updates and enhancements to uphold its appeal to visitors of all ages, all while preserving its nostalgic allure.

As a quintessential destination within Disney’s enchanting theme park, Jungle Cruise continues to beckon adventurers seeking immersive entertainment at the heart of the Magic Kingdom.

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