Back in January Disney Parks revealed official plans for a major redesign of the classic Jungle Cruise attraction. Previously, the attraction was a loose affiliation of animatronic sequences that were really only held together by the Jungle Cruise skipper and their endless stream of corny jokes. The new Jungle Cruise was described as a more cohesive story, but exactly what that story was we did not know, until now. Disney just dropped the first pieces of information about the new Jungle Cruise in the form of an "interview" with one character who will be at the center of the new version of ride, Alberta Falls.
Alberta Falls is, canonically, the granddaughter of Dr. Albert Falls, a founding member of Disney's Society of Explorers and Adventurers, who is also the current owner and operator of the Jungle Navigation Company, the in-universe operator of the Jungle Cruise tours, as well as the Skipper Canteen Restaurant found in Walt Disney World's Adventureland. In a new post on the Disney Parks Blog we can now read an interview with Alberta with The Daily Gnus which delves into her own backstory and connection with the ride.
However, it also appears to set up the events of the new Jungle Cruise as well. Near the end of the "interview" Alberta mentions a private tour she is about to embark on which appears to be the one that guests on the Jungle Cruise will come across during their trip. As Alberta Falls explains...
I'll be hosting a special cruise for a special friend of mine from Mexico, the renowned painter Rosa Soto Dominguez, as well as a noted botanist from Nova Scotia named Leonard Moss. I guess he is just trying to branch out with his studies. Also, I recently met Dr. Kon Chumosuke, an entomologist from Japan, who camped out alongside the river. Would you believe it, he is a member of the Society of Explorerers and Adventurers just like my grandfather? It really is a small world after all. Who knows what other visitors from around the world might arrive between then and now? For instance, my cousin Siobhan "Puffin" Murphy from Ireland, may show up unannounced to take a birdwatching expedition.
Including Alberta Falls herself, there are five names referenced here, and that would match up with the five people we see in the newest concept art, which reimagines the explorers that have been chased up a tree by a rhino. As we see in the concept art below. The woman at the top of the tree is clearly a birdwatcher. The Asian man below her is surrounded by insects, and that appears to be Alberta Falls herself below him. So now we have names to go along with all these characters.
While the redesign of Jungle Cruise is happening, and now we so the set up for the attraction's new story. What we don't know is when we'll see it. No announced schedule for the existing ride shutting down at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland has been given, but the attraction is being redone at both parks. With Splash Mountain also being redesigned at both parks, there are a lot of changes coming, and while change at the parks is inevitable, it's also usually slow.
Of course, all of this is happening as Disney is gearing up for the release of the Jungle Cruise movie, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. That movie had hotly been anticipated in 2020, but was pushed back like many projects during the global events of the past year. The Rock's already explained why that move was made, but for fans who have been waiting to see a nostalgic Disneyland ride get turned into a movie for some time, the wait for release is inching ever closer. Catch it on July 30th and see when your other delayed favorites are coming with our full schedule.