Disney announced Monday that its Jungle Cruise ride will undergo changes to better "reflect and value the diversity of the world around us." The attraction, which first opened at Disneyland Park in Anaheim in 1955, has long been criticized for its negative depiction of indigenous people.
The Los Angeles Times provides a glimpse into the offensive experience you could've expected to see on a Jungle Cruise ride. A dark-skinned man who goes by the name "Trader Sam" is known as the "Head salesman of the Jungle" due to his propensity for trading shrunken heads. There is also a group of individuals who carry around spears and dress in tribal garb.
Disney's reckoning with racism in its Jungle Cruise ride comes after announcing last year that Splash Mountain would be retooled to follow a theme inspired by the 2009 animated film The Princess and the Frog. Splash Mountain follows the adventures of Br’er Rabbit, a character mentioned by Uncle Remus in the 1946 movie Song of the South. In the Disney-produced film, Remus works on a plantation in the South during the Reconstruction-era, and...we don't need to go any further, right?
Disney executive chair Bob Iger confirmed in March of last year that the film wouldn't appear on its streaming service because it's "not appropriate in today’s world."
Later this year, Disney is scheduled to release the film Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson as riverboat captain Frank. The company has stated these changes have nothing to do with the upcoming movie. Instead, Disney Parks wants to breathe new life into the 65-year-old attraction by bringing along new characters and most importantly, "making needed updates."