Walt Disney Imagineering will lean into its original Society of Explorers and Adventurers franchise as it revamps its Jungle Cruise attraction, Disney confirmed today.
Disney announced earlier this year that it would Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen restaurant in the old Adventureland Veranda space at the Magic Kingdom. Disney announced the news in an "recently uncovered" edition of the Jungle skippers' "The Daily Gnus" (say it out loud), posted on the Disney Parks website today. It's an "interview" with Jungle Navigation Co. owner Alberta Falls.
Alberta Falls is granddaughter of Jungle Navigation Co. founder Dr. Albert Falls (for whom the Jungle Cruise's Schweitzer Falls is named - in one of the ride's countless silly jokes). Earlier stories had suggested that Alberta was Albert's daughter, but now there's an Albert Falls Jr. in the timeline. It's also worth noting that Disney now has made Alberta a South Asian woman with this reveal, as the daughter of an Indian mother and English father.
Going back up the family tree, he senior Albert was a member of Disney's Society of Explorers and Adventures, a hundreds-year-old secret society headquartered at Magellan's restaurant at Tokyo DisneySea. The SEA long has been a bit of an Easter egg for Disney Parks fans, as a park-original IP franchise that mostly features the likenesses of Imagineers. It provides the backstory for the Mystic Manor ride at Hong Kong Disneyland as well as the Tower of Terror and Soaring: Fantastic Flight rides at Tokyo DisneySea. In recent years, however, Disney has retconned backstories for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Jungle Cruise and other attractions to add them into the SEA franchise. Here's an overview, if you haven't seen it yet:
Now a Disney+ TV series based on the SEA is reportedly in the works, potentially making this theme park Easter egg into the type of multi-platform franchise that Disney craves.
Revamping the Jungle Cruise ticks two boxes for The Walt Disney Company. It allows Disney to rid one of its enduring entertainment properties of racist caricatures for which the company has no desire to spend social capital to defend, and it helps the company develop a new multi-platform entertainment franchise by tying it to that same enduring property - the Jungle Cruise.
The new Jungle Cruise will include several new scenes and "welcome new characters from around the world." It's slated to open in Orlando and Anaheim by the end of the year.
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