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Disney Introduces A Revamped Jungle Cruise Ride Without The Racist Imagery

Disneyland's updated Jungle Cruise ride features tourists of various ethnic backgrounds getting chased by wildlife.
Christian Thompson
Disneyland Resort
Disneyland's updated Jungle Cruise ride features tourists of various ethnic backgrounds getting chased by wildlife.

A ride at Disneyland that used to feature racist, colonialist depictions of Africans now emphasizes slapstick monkeys and chimpanzees besting clueless tourists instead.

Jungle Cruise, which originally opened in 1955, until recently featured spear-waving, headhunting Africans as part of the attraction. A revamped version of the ride opened Friday at Disney's theme park in Anaheim, Calif. Disney previously announced the ride will also be redone at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Carmen Smith, who leads inclusion strategies for Disney's Imagineering arm (which creates the company's theme park attractions), said in a Los Angeles Times interview that the goal is to make sure that "everyone who comes to our parks is seen and that they're heard."

"When we look at something and realize the content is inappropriate, and may perpetuate a misconception or a stereotype," Smith told the newspaper, "our intention is to take a look at it critically, and figure out a way to enhance it, to make the necessary changes so it is relevant."

The timing of the reimagined ride lines up with the release of a Jungle Cruise movie, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, set for a July 30 release.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.