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Disneyland, Disney World to revamp ‘Jungle Cruise’ after years of criticism for racist depictions

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Disney announced plans on Monday to revamp its “Jungle Cruise” attraction in Disneyland and Disney World after the ride has received years-long criticism for its racist depictions of indigenous people. 

Disney’s California and Florida theme parks will see an update to the Jungle Cruise attractions to “reflect and value the diversity of the world around us,” the company said in a release

Disney is expecting the remodeling to remove “negative depictions of native people” will be completed at both parks this year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In the updated storyline, guests will see what happened to a different Jungle Cruise boat tour that didn’t go according to plan, including passing a boat overtaken by monkeys, which Disney “imagineer” Kevin Lively said shows that “the jungle gets the last laugh.”

Additionally, the “trapped safari” scene that shows a group of adventurers climbing a tree to avoid a rhinoceros will also be revamped. In its current form in Disneyland, a white traveler is at the top in a safer position while native guides are seen lower down the tree. 

“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,” Carmen Smith, the creative development and inclusion strategies executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a statement. 

Jungle Cruise, one of the opening rides in Disneyland in 1955 designed as a river tour of Asia, Africa and South America, has been updated several times over the years. The controversial scenes depicting tribes of indigenous people as tourist attractions, attackers or cannibals were not included in the attraction until after opening day, according to the Times.

The renovations of Jungle Cruise come after Disney modernized the Pirates of the Caribbean’s portrayal of women, and last year the company announced that it would remodel Splash Mountain to be based on “The Princess and the Frog” instead of “Song of the South,” a film that is widely considered racist.  

Disney said its updates are unrelated to the upcoming “Jungle Cruise” film starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, with a spokesperson telling the Times that the new figurines to will be added will not represent the movie’s characters. 

Tags Disney Disney World Disneyland Jungle Cruise Racism The Walt Disney Co.

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