While we previously took a look at a new “Trader Sam-ta” finale scene for the Jingle Cruise, I took more than 800 photos from three rides during yesterday’s opening day for the Jungle Cruise holiday overlay that probably deserve their own article. I’m not sure what the final tally for photos will be just yet, but let’s find out together and head over to Adventureland to take a look at the 2023 version of the Jingle Cruise!
The Jingle Cruise started back in 1935 (according to Jungle Cruise lore), but officially debuted at Magic Kingdom in 2013. Over the years, more props and jokes have been added to the jungle, and have made the Jingle Cruise a holiday season must-do.
Before we jump into our photos, here’s how Disney World describes the Jingle Cruise holiday overlay:
During the holiday season, the beloved Jungle Cruise experience is transformed into the Jingle Cruise—a festive-yet-familiar adventure from stem to stern!
Join the homesick Jungle Cruise skippers as they set out on a holly, jolly journey packed with silly shenanigans. The boathouse and beyond are decked out with merry décor that’s been mailed to the skippers or that they’ve created themselves. They’re even unwrapping a few holiday jokes to help everyone get in the spirit.
Guests get their first glimpse of the holiday shenanigans that await as they approach the attraction. While the decor starts simple with multi-colored Christmas lights, there are some clever uses of materials in the courtyard in front of the attraction. We’ll start with way too many photos of the attraction signage, which includes garland and Christmas lights.
A clever candy cane-style ‘i’ is added over the ‘u’ of Jungle Cruise to complete the transformation. Of course, as we continue through the queue and ride, you’ll see it’s not that simple of a transformation.
Jungle Cruise is already one of the most popular attractions at Magic Kingdom, but the holiday overlay makes it extra enticing. If you’re planning on visiting this holiday season, pack your patience or a $100 bill to pay for your family to skip the line with Genie+. It’ll probably average somewhere between 60-75 minutes this holiday season, with morning waits and very late night waits being below that average and midday waits exceeding it.
As you enter the queue building proper, the fun begins – first visually and then audibly as holiday music plays and custom holiday announcements are made.
Make sure to take some time to look into the displays. There are fun gags and theming throughout as you’d imagine from the skippers.
The Christmas Tree typically found in the queue has been moved to the front of the building at the Jungle Navigation poster seen a few photos above. It’s a bit bare here at the moment, which hopefully means some extra room for decor in 2024.
Alberta Falls’ shipping office has way too many details for us to photograph while trying to keep up with the party ahead of us, so keep your eyes peeled when you visit. Here are a few photos that we could grab.
Continuing through the queue, there are some decorations in the large switchback space. Thankfully, we rode early in the morning at rope drop and the hour afterward, so we had some lower crowds to contend with.
Here are a few more details from the loading dock before we board our cruise through the (festive) jungle.
Each of the boats have a festive name change. Here’s a look at the boats that were out when we visited.
Let’s board the boat and take one last look at the load area before we set off on our cruise.
We set off on the Amazon River where we see a failed present delivery off to the right side of the boat.
One of the “new” scenes that hasn’t been incorporated into the Jingle Cruise version of the ride is the Boats & Baits and Bites! scene.
While the African rock python doesn’t have a festive bow-a necktie (yet), it is often mentioned in the Jingle Cruise spiel by skippers.
One of our favorite scenes is the R.V. Laust camp site where lowland gorillas have raided the site. The holiday theming here seems to be extra-specialized. A shotgun shell wreath on the overturned jeep is fun and who doesn’t love watching a gorilla figure out the intricicies of a revolver while wearting a Santa hat?
Moving on, we come across another scene that doesn’t have any specific props for the Jingle Cruise, but does have a number of reindeer.
The trapped safari scene is another fun one to spot details. While the human characters don’t have any additioanl holiday theming, the rhino does seem to have gotten into the food before running the safari group up the tree. For a detailed look at the “new” characters here, check out our earlier article.
Continuing the on-again, off-again nature of decorated scenes, we’ll go into a bit of a lull for the next 2.5 minutes or so. There are no decorations in the hippo pool or where the chimpanzees have comindeered a boat and some insect crates. That said, we did get a lovely rendition of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (Hippo the Hero)” from our skipper.
A quick trip past the backside of water and we’re on to the Meykong River and an ancient temple that may or may not double as Santa’s workshop. We’re off to investigate.
Inside the temple, the tiger seems to have found a snack (or at least the snack’s hat), and monkeys are playfully enjoying treasure in the most festive way possible.
In our opinion, this cobra would look adorable in a spare Santa hat. Maybe next year.
The elephant pool doesn’t have any decorations, but it’s always a great spot to snap a photo or two.
For the first time, the new Trader Sam’s Lost & Found finale has holiday decorations. We took a closer look at the decor in an earlier article, but we’ll go over it again here.
At the unload dock, the skippers have decorated for the next holiday – New Year’s Eve. It’s here that we always get our first look at the New Year’s Eve hat that guests will receive when visiting the theme parks on December 30th & 31st, as well as a look at the skipper’s New Year’s resolutions!
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the Jingle Cruise!
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!