Jungle Cruise News Blues

Written by Al Lutz. Posted in Features, MiceAge Update

Tagged: , , ,

Published on April 01, 2013 at 4:01 am with 67 Comments

The following article initially ran on Monday, April 1st, as an April Fools Day piece.  Enjoy the silly fun below and pray Disney doesn’t get any ideas from this article.

On September 20th, 2011, Disney announced their partnership with James Cameron and FOX to bring the world of Avatar to the Disney Parks. It was widely assumed that we would see blue creatures show up at Disney’s Animal Kingdom first. However, that project has been nothing but trouble and has been creating more problems for Disney than it would solve. With Iger breathing hard on the necks of Imagineers, something had to happen. And it looks like Disneyland will now be the first park to explore the mysteries of Pandora.

Do you have your pair of blueberry Pop Tarts unwrapped? Got that Blue Mountain Coffee brewed? Because today we tell the tale of something which will have you turning blue.

Whenever a classic Disney attraction is put on the chopping block, management trots out the old Walt quote that Disneyland would never be complete. Expect that phrase to be shouted from megaphones in an attempt to drown out what is sure to be fan outrage as Disney remakes Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, a 1955 opening day attraction.

Jungle Cruise is one of those attractions with staying power, but at 58 years old, is long overdue for a facelift. The attraction takes up one of the largest swaths of real estate in a park challenged with expansion room. With projects already in the works for Tomorrowland and Frontierland, increasing pressure has put Jungle Cruise in the sights of redevelopment. As with the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse before it, a small band of purist Imagineers hope to save a bit of early Disneyland magic by reskinning it. In this case, blue.

With potential Indiana Jones projects in the early stages which would have completely removed the jungle rivers, it was thought by some camps in Imagineering that the only way to save a classic would be to fight franchise with franchise. Since no one is more upset that Avatar isn’t progressing than Bob Iger, it was logical to follow that path.

“AVATAR created a world which audiences can discover again and again and now, through this incredible partnership with Disney, we’ll be able to bring Pandora to life like never before. With two new AVATAR films currently in development, we’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said James Cameron. “I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life. Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and to give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of AVATAR with an unprecedented sense of reality.”

As proposed, the Pandora River Adventure would use advanced pilot-less motion-based boats to traverse the beautiful, but dangerous, jungles of Cameron’s multi-billion dollar world. The sharp pencil boys up in Burbank are also interested in the idea as it would mean removing skippers from the jungles, saving Disney hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

While many of the aged animals you love will be removed, some will remain, though reskinned as creatures reminiscent of those seen in the film. For example, at least one hippo-like creature will remain in the river, with four ears wiggling around as it dangerously blows bubbles. Though, this time around, when the Pandorian Hippo charges your boat, he’ll seemingly hit it, causing the boat to tip on its motion base. You’ll narrowly escape doom as a giant Na’vi riding dragon creature rises out of the lagoon, scaring off the hippos and turning your boat toward the safety of a narrow inlet.

A re-skinned hippo concept.

Next gen technology will be a central element of the new attraction. The current Jungle Cruise dock will be rethemed to look like a military base which has been reclaimed by the jungle over time. It will be covered in vines and other-worldly flowers and insects, some of which will interact with guests. But it is the optical guns you’ll be trained to use which will make this adventure different from anything you’ve ever experienced before. Three small shooting galleries will be set up in the station; one downstairs and two upstairs. Each will teach you a different objective and skill; one of which is to decipher the good creatures from the bad.

The Interactive flower in the queue.

 

As you progress on your journey, you’ll have the opportunity to shoot at hundreds of elements in the attraction. Everything from cute bunny-like creatures to massive dragon-like beasts will be possible targets. However, what you choose to kill and what you don’t will affect the outcome of the story. Will you be on the side of good or evil? Government or environment? The choice will be up to you, but you’ll feel the consequences of your actions and see how they impact Pandora and its inhabitants. But no decision will be more important than what you choose to do when you reach the Tree of Souls located in the former rhino/explorers up a pole scene. Should you fail to protect the tree, your path will take a very dark turn.

Tree of Souls scene concept.

The river will retain it’s current path, however, once you pass behind the waterfall, the short remainder of the ride will be enclosed, allowing for advanced projection technology to play out the results of your earlier shooting spree. Your boat will swirl, tilt and turn with the projections, setting up a truly thrilling experience.

The native attack scene will now feature Na’vi attacking depending on how you hunt on pandora.

Facial recognition will allow your image to play out on the walls around you. Possible scenarios will see you hailed as an honorary Na’vi, military hero, ravager of Pandora, and many others. You can be with the Na’vi or destroy them and their world completely. But the biggest reward and the most exciting payoffs will be for protecting Pandora. It’s a lesson that Cameron insists must be at the core of all Avatar projects.

As with many of the newer Disney projects, it’s what happens at the end of the ride that has the suits truly excited. In the space currently occupied by Aladdin’s Oasis will be a brand new Avatar gift shop. The dock will be completely reconfigured with three zones. The entry zone will be very much like you remember it, although the new boats will be much smaller 12 person vehicles, which seat 4 people each in 4 separate rows. The unloading zone will be much further back than the boats currently disembark, allowing you to exit directly into the new store. The middle zone will hold empty vehicles just waiting to be loaded. Boats will load three at a time and will head immediately around a corner into a new curved path where your seat belts will be checked and you’ll be instructed by a military representative to take no prisoners.

The shop will completely change the former Tahitian Terrace facility. The facade will look like a huge tree with lights and luminescent strands within the branches. At night, it promises to be a spectacular focal point in Adventureland, as does the Tree of Souls within the ride itself. While there has been some discussion about expanding the shop into the adjacent Tiki Room, that concept has been shelved for now. If the Avatar-themed Jungle Cruise is a huge hit, all bets are off for future expansions throughout Adventureland, or should we say Avatarland. Though Indiana Jones is fully expected to hold its own, as Disney now owns that franchise as well.

Studies on next-gen technology are currently being run to see if it is feasible to create DVD on demand which will combine your image and the choices you made in the ride with footage from the movie to create a truly personalized film just for you, with you as the star!

We’ve had a bit of fun creating images of what we think the new attraction will look like. I’d like to thank Fishbulb and Andy Castro for their photographic help with this article.

Walk around characters will greet guests at the exit.

 

Oh-kay – that should do it for today. Let us know if this news has you blue in a good way or bad. We’ve started a discussion on the MiceChat Forums – LINK

See you at Disneyland!

THIS WAS AN APRIL FOOLS PRANK (THANK GOODNESS)

About Al Lutz

The MiceAge crew was started by Al Lutz in 2003, and is committed to bringing you the inside Disney story that you just can't get anywhere else. As much as we'd all like to see more frequent rumor updates on the site, we only publish when reliable news and rumors are available to share. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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  • BuckyRister

    April Fools.

    You had me for a minute. But just for a minute.

  • MousEarz

    This is the first place I always go on April 1st…and well worth it. Another fabulous job! Here’s hoping the suits don’t get any ideas though. 🙂

  • Zeathos51

    I’ll be the first to say, GET RID OF THAT OLD EYESORE KNOWN AS THE JUNGLE CRUISE!! I WANT TO SEE NEW ANIMATRONICS, PROJECTIONS AND NAVI ACTION FIGURES IN THE GIFT SHOP!!

    Good creative concept though, I just hope the Disney Executives don’t read it and ironically go with
    the idea.

  • jcruise86

    Thanks, Al, Fishbulb & Andy! Shooting bunnies & 4 x 4 + 12? Now that’s out of the box thinking! Bob Iger knows it’s ALL about branding, so I expect this to be up and floating by 2019, after the two newer Avatar movies would have faded away. . . FOREVER! Or, Small World will be adapted to cover the Avatar sequel films.

  • Trumpet

    Great Update Guys

    I was hooked at the beginning, despite not wanting them to remove the Jungle Cruise, but this has to be a April Fools, right? Why would they remove the Jungle Cruise at the moment? It is a classic attraction, and log may it continue.

    Thanks Again Guys

    Trumpet

  • XxBellaThornxX

    I knew it was April Fools Day, but I still fell for that at first. It gave me a mini panic attack. I’m so relieved this isn’t happening!!

    Great Job!

    • Jayce

      LOL I am totally expecting april fools pranks today of course but I also was taken by this. Great work guys!

  • DebG

    Love the Hippo

  • TL59

    Oh my god, this scared me so much! Hehe, good work, you had me for a while.

  • bamato

    Nice job, you guys really had me this year!

  • doppio

    You had me for a minute and a half. But just for a minute and a half…

  • penguinsoda

    Seriously… I almost had a heart attack…. :lmao:

  • penguinsoda

    Seriously… I almost had a heart attack… :lmao:

  • ni_teach

    I love April first on Mice Chat. There is always a great story to read. 😉

  • MrTour

    And then hop over the the Crystal Cathedral Disney Water Park… Good job!

  • juhlian

    Had me for a moment then I remembered its April 1st. I personally didnt care for Avatar so weither it ends up in a park or not I don’t care. Just hope it never replaces a current attraction.

  • DanielTink

    Well it would be a great idea but, I have never even seen Avatar so I would be totally lost!!

  • Haunted Pennies

    Well, you guys sure know how to push our buttons!

  • bday789

    I TRULY hope this is an April Fool’s article!! Disney, and the world in general, doesn’t need another “military-themed shooting” game, or a game that has the option to destroy the environment just for fun. And more projection technology? What crap….

    • Eric Davis

      SAVE the Jungle Cruise!

  • cwalter428

    Hook. Line. Sinker.

    Nice one, guys! Now that my heart has restarted, that is!

  • Akikaze27

    Omg I can’t believe I fell for it!!! Good one guys 😀 I blame it on me being really exhausted right now LOL

  • rstar

    Wow, nice job! It was not so far fetched, and sounded pretty real even though I knew what I was reading from the start. And, as usual the photography work was excellent! Thanks guys!

  • xboxtravis7992

    Great April Fools. Yet this would actually make an interesting ride. And that is saying something because I hate Avatar with a passion. Fortunately the Jungle Cruise is safe and the only thing at risk from Avatar is a meet and greet in Florida.

  • DisneylandTraveler

    Darn It! I was about to start an anti-Avatar T-Shirt printing business. I would have made a fortune.

  • daveinfontana

    April Fools…. However it was a good read until the bit about the shooting guns part.Just think, A Cruise thru Pandora could happen? One never knows.

  • Tapdawg

    Did anyone else notice the Al Lutz features section has now been named “MiceAge Update”? Does this mean Al won’t be posting the updates anymore?

    His bio has also changed to read “The MiceAge crew, started by Al Lutz in 2003, is committed to bringing you the inside Disney story that you just can’t get anywhere else. As much as we’d all like to see more frequent Al updates on the site, we only publish when reliable news and rumors are available to share. Generally, you’ll find a new MiceAge news update once or twice a month on Tuesdays. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

    What do you guys make of this?

    • Al’s still around, he’s just receiving help with his updates. 🙂

  • Ashphan

    I got really mad, then I remembered the date! Thank God!

  • Tinkd

    Oh thank goodness it’s April fools, you had me going and boy was I getting blue in the face over it!

  • TodAZ1

    I don’t know…..as April Fools jokes go, this one never had me, even at the headline.

  • Illusion0fLife

    That wasn’t even funny guys. Even with my April Fools guard up this is the kind of gross shenanigans I could totally see Iger and company pulling. I made it all the way to the hippo picture before getting the joke 😛

  • TodAZ1

    Geroge Takei announcing on his Facebook that he has just been confirmed to be in the new Star Wars movie, directed by ‘Star Trek’s’ JJ Abrams, as a Jedi Council member? THAT’S a great April Fools joke! 🙂

  • HeeHee

    Ha! I thought it sounded pretty cool-well, as long as it didn’t really happen…great “article”, this is something I look forward to each April 1st, thank you for being so creative!

  • LittleTink

    This is a joke, right?

  • sandiegomousefan

    Good job sir. It took me a bit to remember what day it was 😉

  • eicarr

    Better idea than Tarzan in the Swiss Family Treehouse! That was a sad joke played on us all.

  • justjohn

    My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw the contract licensing Paranormal Activity for a Haunted Mansion makeover last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.

    • Illusion0fLife

      I really can’t wait to ride an omnimover through well-lit expensive houses with contemporary decor. I can’t wait to see what kind of effects WDI has in store for loud noises coming from off camera and inanimate objects suddenly moving across the frame!

  • dsnygrl13

    Your annual April Fools article was well worth waiting for. Good show!

  • ayalexander

    lol this article had me up until the part when it said “12 person vehicles, which will seat 4 people in 4 separate rows” lol the math didn’t add up and neither did the story! Good one though.

  • judearmstrong

    THANK GOD FOR APRIL FOOLS! I was going to set up a site to Save the Jungle Cruise if this were true.

  • twainrider

    Okay, I know what the date is, but just for the record, on the chance that this isn’t about the date, if this happens, I will never go on the Jungle Cruise again. Ever.

  • Chesire

    This my first April Fools on the site. You got me good. Real good.

  • Oregonmom2

    I almost passed out! glad jungle cruise is safe ( jcruise was the first disneyland ride I ever rode)

    • Marko50

      JCruise? You wanna reply to this?

  • heysi

    You would have had me if you had used the BTRR refurb as the story. You could have gotten everyone worked up by saying the reason its taking so long is because of the new “enhancements”, where the old west is being attacked by aliens and the train is being chased by star ships. It would have added to the gag to say that a famous “unnamed” former Imagineer had leaked the story since he was forced out after fighting this destruction of such a classic attraction. You would have had me with that….

    • You got that memo too? They’ve been trying to keep that a secret. But we all know the aliens are coming. 😉

  • 1WaltFan

    Second year in a row you got me hook, line and sinker.

  • DLFan1995

    The first paragraph sounded VERY authentic (and I wouldn’t be surprised if THAT wasn’t true). However, when Disneyland was added to the picture, it totally fell apart.

    If you had stopped with something like “Iger has decided to cancel the Avatar project altogether”, I would have been completely fooled.

  • DobbysCloset

    Another freshman-year reader who didn’t realize what was going on until I got to the comment section. I think it will be safest if I spend the rest of the day in bed. Very well done, but Thank You NOT!

  • Gullywhumper

    April Fools, though I fear you may have given Disney an idea. Though now they won’t do it, since they’d have to pay you for intellectual rights. … Or would they?

  • Timhotep

    I was sitting here at my desk at work having a major stroke as I read this until I remembered what today it. Great job guys! I’ll send you the invoice for my hospital stay!

  • fnord

    Nice April fools, I’m so cynical, and a long time reader, that I was never fooled. I was
    very surprised that I kind of liked the concept for some of it’s ideas.
    I’ve never liked the wise acre skipper routine on that ride, it really detracts from the incredible jungle horticulture and entertaining tableaus, and also makes it dull when
    they are low energy, so I like the skipperless, and mostly the trackless technology.
    I also like the idea of a high tech tunnel finale.
    However, I sat through Avatar, but found it to be pretty juvenile sci-fi drek, devoid of
    the spirit that drives the best of Disney attractions, and nothing I welcome in a
    Disney park experience.
    I would love a redo of the JC where the smaller boats could could actually face each
    enhanced tableau, before scooting off downriver. Then add the high tech finale tunnel.
    Have the boats face away from the waiting line for Indiana Jones.
    Sounds like fun to me.

  • Zorro825

    The funny thing is, the whole part about whose side you would be on and how your choices affect the ride actually sounded pretty cool! Great April Fools article though!

  • brianpinsky

    You almost had me but then you said interactive queue for Disneyland.

  • skratch addict

    Oh my goodness. I got about halfway through the second paragraph and was like “Wait a minute….” lol. Whew.

  • Quentin

    I see what you did there…

  • DragonBoy92

    Thank God today is April Fool’s day…

  • TRONAlex

    Great joke guys,
    Just don’t let Disney catch wind of this or they might just do it.
    LOL

  • 4Apples4Disney

    I fell for it again, and was practically in a rage. Well written Al!

  • lighttragic

    Great Job mice chat team! This was definitely well done … Lets hope not well done enough for Iger to run with this idea.

  • whamo

    Not funny! You got me for awhile. I still don’t like the way the Jungle Cruise turned into comedy from adventure. I was so scared during those first trips down the river. Especially when the hippos attacked. It was like taking a walk in Jurrasic Park. It was Disneyland at its finest.

  • CAspace

    Al,
    Thanks for giving the Disney Corp. MBA’s a idea that they will surely pitch.
    I hope they don’t seriously try to pitch it. Because it would be horrible.
    :(. :). Good prank though.

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