Jungle Cruise: What to Know About Disney's Latest Ride-to-Screen Movie Ahead of Its Swashbuckling Debut

Revamped 'Jungle Cruise' ride opens July 16 with Easter eggs for the upcoming Disney adventure

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Jul 9, 2021, 4:58 PM EDT

A few days away from its 66th anniversary, Disneyland's OG Jungle Cruise ride revealed its new story upgrades and characters for the boat-based ride that will be ready for visitors on July 16, along with some Easter Egg's that tie into the July 30 blockbuster movie of the same name starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Emily Blunt.

SYFY WIRE was one of a few select outlets invited to experience the new Jungle Cruise ride today, which includes an updated queue that reveals background details about Alberta Falls, who is now proprietor of the Jungle Navigation Company Ltd. She’s the granddaughter of the world-renowned Dr. Albert Falls who has been part of the Jungle Cruise ride storyline since the ‘60s.

As seen in the trailers for the Jungle Cruise movie, the production design looks like its been lifted straight from the ride itself with its naturalistic color palette and period style costumes and boats, and that’s because the attraction was a direct inspiration for the film.

However, it was confirmed today that the new ride storyline doesn’t tie into the film’s narrative. According to Kim Irvine, Executive Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering, where the two overlap is in the Jungle Cruise ride queue. “Most of the Easter eggs having to do with the film are in the boathouse. It was hard to really work them into our story on the jungle because that has already been established. But if you go through the boathouse after you see the movie, you'll see lots of things in there that we took from the film story.” In particular, there are maps you’ll see featured the movie, and some props that tie through to river boat captain Frank Wolff (Johnson) and where he’s hired to take Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt) down the Amazon. 

It was also revealed that only Disneyland in Anaheim, CA and Walt Disney World in Florida, will be getting the Jungle Cruise changes. And that if you are a die-hard park-hopper, there will be differences between each experience to keep guests guessing. 

“My counterpart in Florida and I talked a lot about how we should do some things a little different, so that people that do park-hop can find the different little nuances of things,” Irvine shares.  

In particular, she says look out for a new feature of chimps playing with an entomologist’s butterfly collection. “In Florida, [the chimps] are eating the butterflies and I just couldn't do that,” she laughs. And we added a gag with a magnifying glass which is a play off the pirate captain in the captain's quarters in The Pirates of the Caribbean ride because he too is holding the magnifying glass up in front of his teeth, so they magnify big. It's a fun tie back to that some of our inside guests catch onto.”

Check back next week for more about the expansion to the Jungle Cruise ride.

Jungle Cruise arrives July 30 in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access.