Disney to update Jungle Cruise ride after racism allegations

Disney has said it is updating its Jungle Cruise ride at theme parks in the US following allegations of racism.

The “scenic and comedic boat tour”, which takes passengers on a trip taking in “exotic rivers across Asia, Africa and South America”, has been accused of including offensive depictions of indigenous people.

White characters featured in the attraction reportedly referred to “savages”.

The Splash Mountain ride is at California’s Disneyland and Magic Kingdom at Florida’s Walt Disney World. Photo: Disney
Image:The Splash Mountain ride was also updated in 2020 following accusations of cultural insensitivity. Pic: Disney

It will now be updated at Disneyland resorts in Florida and California to “reflect and value the diversity of the world around us”.

The updated version will include an animated skipper and a wrecked ship boarded by chimps, Disney said.

Carmen Smith, executive for creative development and inclusion strategies at Walt Disney Imagineering, said: “As Imagineers, it is our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspectives of the world around us.

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“With Jungle Cruise, we’re bringing to life more of what people love – the humour and wit of our incredible skippers, while making needed updates.”

Jungle Cruise inspired a blockbuster film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and British star Emily Blunt, which is due for release in July.

The changes to the ride follow a cultural reckoning in the US over systemic racism that has led to overhauls of several television shows and movies, and this is not the first attraction Disney has changed due to allegations of cultural insensitivity.

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In June 2020, shortly after Black Lives Matter protests had gained momentum around the world, the entertainment giant said it was redesigning Splash Mountain to remove all references to 1946 film Song Of The South, which is widely viewed as racist.

The movie is not available on the Disney+ streaming service.

Disney also added disclaimers to some of its older films, such as 1967’s The Jungle Book and 1953’s Peter Pan.

Its resort in California is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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