Friday, May 31, 2013
Disabled Disney Tour Guides
This morning NBC TV Today Show had a special report about Disabled Tour Guides at Disneyland Resort. This is the second such report in as many weeks. The first report was in a newspaper and reported it was rich New York families that were hiring disabled tour guides at WDW.
Once again I will start by saying I believe that Disney does the best job of making rides and attractions as accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of disabilities. Disney goes way above the industry standard for accessibility and makes it more than possible for anyone to enjoy the park. Having family that has disabilities and use Disney’s Guest Assistance Card (GAC) we appreciate it and would NEVER think of abusing it!
This is what is happening. Disabled people are offering their services as tour guides. In New York there is a tour company that hires the disabled to act as tour guides to help the rich families bypass the lines in the parks. In California it is independent entrepreneurs advertising on Craigslist and in other ways their services. In Walt Disney World they were charging as much as $1000 per 8 hour day and in Disneyland is between $50 an hour and $200 for the day.
You may say, “What is wrong with this? The disabled are getting some much-needed money and a day of fun and those it can afford it are being able to bypass lines.” Here’s the problem, the GAC is meant to help the disabled and those with them have access to attractions that their disability may have otherwise made it unable for them to enjoy together.
The GAC is not intended to be a cut the line pass. For those that can’t do stairs it gives you a way to bypass the stairs. You may have to stay in the regular line to the point that you can bypass the stairs. If you have autism, ADHD or a panic/stress disorder and you can’t take being in a long line confined with a lot of other people, depending on the ride you may be able to go up the exit or have an alternate quiet place to wait for your turn to ride. If you are in a wheelchair and the line cannot accommodate a wheelchair you may have to wait longer to get on the ride. This is especially true for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and Space Mountain. Radiator Springs Racers has a unique GAC policy. In a way you have to get a Fastpass for the attraction. But don’t worry if the Fastpasses are gone for the day they have a cast member that will give guests with a GAC a special Fastpass with a return time to get in the standard Fastpass line. The wait time to return will correspond with a Standby Line wait time.
So now you know how the GAC should work and how some are abusing the system. If you are disabled and need the GAC ask for it! If you have one please don’t abuse it! If you see someone abusing it please report it! If we, the guests don’t work together to support Disney in controlling the situation we won’t be able to continue to have the GAC access. If we do not Disney will be forced to do something drastic and we may end up losing the positive assistance we now have. Please help stop the abuse. Report ads you see for disabled tour guides to Disney. If you see someone in the park that is abusing their GAC report it!
Disney’s response to the situation, so far is to say they are looking into the situation. They are watching Craigslist and other ad sites. When they find offending GAC users abusing the GAC they are revoking their GAC and if they are an Annual Passholder there are revoking their pass. I think this is more than fair.
NBC Today Show Report
CNN Report on WDW
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Free and Unusual Things to do at Disneyland
There are several special things you can do at Disneyland that are free of charge. I’m going to create a list and give a little description of each special things.
Ride in the Lilly Bell Presidential Parlor Car:
The Lilly Bell Parlor Car is a very special 20 minute tour around Disneyland riding in the elegant Lilly Bell car decorated by Lillian Disney in honor of Walt Disney after his death. There are 2-4 tours per day with a maximum of 14 guests per tour. Each group has a private Conductor that tells the story of the Disneyland Railroad, Disneyland and the Lilly Bell train car.
To catch a ride on the Lilly Bell you must arrive at Disneyland before the Park opens and be at the Main Street Train Station at opening. Talk to the first Conductor you see and ask to ride the Lillie Bell. These tours can fill up in as few as 10 minutes. If you have somebody in a wheelchair in your group they cannot board the train at Main Street so you will have to inform the Conductor when you sign up about the situation and they can pick you up in New Orleans.
Disneyland Railroad Tender Ride:
When Walt Disney built Disneyland he said there had to be a train going around the outside of the park. To that end Walt had two engines made special for his Railroad. The CK Holiday and the EP Ripley are trained one and two respectively. On the tender or fuel car behind the engine Walt had special seats designed so that selected guests could ride up front with him as he drove the train around Disneyland. You would never find Walt sitting in a standard train car. He was either driving or not on it at all.
This is a 20 minute ride around Disneyland with the engineers telling you the history of the train, how they work and other fun facts about the railroad.
This is one of the harder free and special things to do at Disneyland. Go to the Main Street Train Station and talk to the first Conductor you see. They do not know exactly when you can board to do a Tender Ride as they have to wait until certain things are not happening on the train. Also there are only two trains the can do a Tender Ride, and they don’t always run on the same day. They cannot let you ride the Tender Car if they are stopping to take on water or fuel in New Orleans. Because of that you may have to wait 2 to 3 hours to get on the train. In my opinion if you have time it is well worth the wait.
Mark Twain Wheelhouse:
Take a ride in the Wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat! See the “Captains Quarters” where Walt Disney would sometimes hide from the crowds with a bowl of chili. Watch the shores of the Rivers of America go past way up high. It is a spectacular view.
Only 2-4 people can be in the Wheelhouse at any one time. Even with four you may need to do some trading off. This is not handicap accessible as you need to go of several flights of stairs to get to the “Captains Quarters” and then you have to climb up a ladder like stairway to get into the actual Wheelhouse. Don’t forget to sign the guestbook and get your “pilots certificate” before leaving.
If you wish to pilot the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain just ask the Cast Member at the dock. If someone is not scheduled to be up there or they do not have some other issue they will be more than happy to let you ride in the Wheelhouse.
Map of the Jungle Cruise:
You can get a map of the Jungle Cruise attraction free for the asking! This is a fun keepsake printed on parchment. To get your map just ask any Cast Member at the end of the ride or walk up next to the handicap line and ask a Cast Member there.
Monorail Front and Back:
The Monorail has small cabins at both ends of the train. The pilot is in one and the other is empty. This gives you the unique privilege of being able to speak with the pilot while writing and have a face on view (looking either forward or backwards depending on how the train is facing) instead of a sideways view of your travels. If you ask a cast member and are willing to wait you can ride in the front with the pilot or in the back.
A Visit with Oscar:
Oscar is a Disneyland Treasure! Oscar is the Head Chef at Carnation Plaza on Main Street. Oscar started working at Disneyland in 1956. He is the longest tenured Cast Member at the Disneyland resort. His has worked at Disneyland for 55 years! When the Park first opens you’ll find Oscar standing outside the Carnation Plaza restaurant greeting guests as they strolled down Main Street. Later in the day you’ll see him either outside the Carnation Plaza or inside walking around the tables making sure the guests are happy. Oscar no longer cooks instead he is an ambassador for the Park. Many of the park regulars do not consider their visit complete until they have said hello to Oscar and gotten a hug from him. If you do not see Oscar just ask a Cast Member in the Carnation Plaza if he is there that day.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Security At Disney Parks
You may think security is over strict at Disney Parks. I feel safe at Disney Parks and trust security to respond as needed. That said let me tell you what happened Tuesday, May 5th at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World.
Disneyland had a small explosion in Toontown. Someone put dry ice in a plastic bottle and set it in a trash can. No injury or damage in the incident but Toontown was evacuated in an abundance of caution for several hours.
At WDW’s Animal Kingdom a grandmother found a loaded gun on the seat of the Dino ride. She turned the loaded weapon in immediately. It seems the owner of the gun had been carrying it in his back pocket and it fell out on the bumpy ride. The owner of the gun stated he thought bag checks were for explosives and did not know guns were not allowed in the parks.
With those two incidents Disney will most likely take a closer look at security and make some changes. While some may complain about bag checks I honestly do not mind them as they are now. Disney is relaxed on what you can bring in. Other parks do not allow bottled/canned drinks or food in. Disney has allowed food and drink so far. You could bring a thermos of something to eat or drink but that might change because of the dry ice bomb. They could even say no bottled drinks from outside are allowed eliminating the possibility of someone trying to pass off dry ice in a bottle as a frozen drink. I hope this does not happen as I take my drinks into the park with me to save money.
Bag checks may become more aggressive and invasive. They may start looking for lumps in pockets and folds of clothing possibly doing pat downs. I hope not.
I have been told that at Disneyland Paris you have to go through metal detectors to go into the parks. We may end up with that happening here. I know at some other amusement parks local to me already have them. Those parks also have problems with gangs fighting in the parks.
Once again the actions of a few are affecting the freedoms and fun of the general public.
So how can we the guests help?
1. Know and follow the rules. Make your children follow the rules.
2. Do NOT bring in prohibited items such as weapons, explosives and drugs.
3. Listen when a Cast Member gives directions for your safety. Follow the directions, especially those of Security.
4. Do not leave items unattended.
(Security Personnel are pulled away from other tasks to check it leaving gaps in security.)
5. Place trash IN trashcans and do not toss it on the ground.
(Is that a bottle of frozen water or a dry ice bomb that was just left on the ground? Just like #3 Security may need to check.)
6. Be aware of what is going on around you.
7. Report suspicious people and items immediately.
8. Turn in any dangerous item found to the nearest Cast Member.
(Best option is to not touch it but stand guard over it until a Cast Member can come.)
Links to the original news story sources:
Dry Ice Bomb:
A Disneyland Cast Member was arrested for the dry ice bomb.
A Disneyland Cast Member was arrested for the dry ice bomb.
Gun Found in Animal Kingdom:
Improvised Explosive Made of Dry Ice Explodes in Toontown
An improvised Explosive Device made with Dry Ice exploded in or on a trashcan in Toontown. This caused the evacuation of Toontown. Thankfully there were no injuries and it appears that the damage was confined to a trashcan.
While this just happened and information is still forthcoming I had a thought about what might have happened. Right now is Grad Night Season. While the date of the incident is not a Grad Night it is the day before. Some schools come a long distance will actually have multi-day passes for their students.
This year there have been more issues with the Graduates. It seems that almost every Grad Night/Day several rides have to be closed due to damage caused by the Graduates. They are tagging the rides. I know that Haunted Mansion, Monsters Inc., Toy Story Mania, and Muppets 3D were affected all in one day.
The last couple of years Disney has given the kids more time at Disneyland for Grad Night. Instead of just coming in at the closing and staying until the morning they come in all day and then can stay and play after the park closes until 3 AM. In my opinion this added time has just given them more time to get into trouble. They do not appreciate the extra time are getting. I think it is sad that a few bad kids mess it up for everybody. I think Disney may have to stop Grad Nights. Either schools will be banned for their students behavior or the whole thing ended.
I remember my Grad Night at Disneyland. It has been a rite of passage for DLR locals for generations. We got there late after the park closed, we had to dress up for the event. Boys had to wear slacks and a dress shirt and girls had to wear dresses or pantsuits. No jeans and T-shirts allowed! It was fun, it was magical, it was exhausting and it was a reward that I treasured for my hard work at school.
Today’s kids can dress as they want, they spend all day in the parks mixing with the regular guests and then stay late into the night. I do not believe the supervision is adequate and I believe they need to either go back to the old way of doing it with more supervision or cancel the entire event.
While some people may consider this behavior nothing more than a childish prank I think it is a dangerous act of terrorism. It could have caused more damage and seriously injured someone. Just think of the little children and families in the area. How do you think they felt when their day of fun was interrupted so rudely by the explosion? What about the fear it caused? Someone could have been hurt in the panic caused by this “joke”.
A Disneyland Cast Member was arrested for the dry ice bomb.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Hardest Decision When Booking a Disney Cruise
You have decided to go on a Disney Cruise, congratulations!! You have chosen one of the most relaxing and fun vacation choices! You can do as much or as little as you wish and everything you need is right there. The epitome of a no hassle vacation!
Now, the crucial question is what category cabin is best for you. There are three basic categories of cabins, Inside, Oceanview, Oceanview with Veranda. Inside each group are subcategories.
If price is your major concern I suggest an Inside cabin. There are two subcategories, Standard Inside Cabin and the Deluxe Inside Cabin. The major difference between the two is that the Deluxe Inside Cabin has a split bath while the Standard Inside Cabin has a more traditional bath.
The major drawback to Inside Cabins is there is no porthole/window. If you have problems with enclosed spaces this could become difficult for you. Disney solved the problem when they installed Virtual Portholes on their two newest ships the Dream and Fantasy. Virtual Portholes or video screens placed in each Inside Cabin that are linked to a camera on the outside of the ship that shows the view you would have if a porthole could be placed there. These cabins are also smaller ranging in size from 169 sq. ft. to 214 sq. ft. and can accommodate three people. This is the full range of sizes on all four ships. Size and availability depends on the ship you choose.
Oceanview Cabins on Disney Ships may have one large or two small portals. Some Oceanview Cabins are less expensive because they may have obstructed view, something normally hangs in the way of the window. The Oceanview Cabins are 200-214 sq. ft. in size and can accommodate 3 to 4 people.
The only “negative” thing I have to say about an Oceanview Cabin is the fact you cannot open the porthole. If you suffer from claustrophobia I highly recommend an Oceanview Cabin. If you can’t afford a veranda this is a great option. It is a pleasure to wake up in the morning and sit and look out “Your Porthole” and see the spectacular views of ocean and ports.
Oceanview Cabins with Veranda have three major subcategories, Oceanview with Navigator Veranda, Deluxe Oceanview with Veranda and Family Deluxe Oceanview with Veranda. You may wonder what a Veranda is. Simply put it is a private balcony.
The Oceanview with Navigator Veranda has a private veranda with nautical touches and a large open–air porthole in the solid white wall of the railing. These range in size from 246 sq. ft. to 268 sq. ft. depending on the ship you are on. These cabins can accommodate three people. The verandas in these cabins are not very wide but have plenty of room for two chairs placed sideways.
The Deluxe Oceanview with Navigator Veranda cabin is wonderful for those that need “fresh air”. This can also give you a nice quiet place to spend a few private moments. Be aware some of these cabins may have obstructed view from the porthole. Just think, start the day sitting on your private veranda with a cup of coffee or ending the day with a nice drink as you watch the stars come out.
The Deluxe Oceanview with Veranda can accommodate up to four people. These range in size from 246 sq. ft. to 268 sq. ft. depending on the ship you are on. These cabins can accommodate four people. The veranda is wider in these cabins than the Navigator size. Also there is no “wall” above the rail. The veranda is more open getting a more unobstructed view.
The Deluxe Family Oceanview with Veranda can accommodate up to five people. These cabins range in size from 299 sq. ft. to 304 sq. ft. depending on the ship you are on.
There is a fourth category of cabin called Concierge Level. These have special lounges reserved just for them along with other privileges. There are Family Oceanview, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and Royal Suite. They range in size from 304 sq. ft. to 1,781 sq. ft. The Concierge Level Cabins have DVD players, TVs, wet bar and even games for the family to play. These cabins can accommodate between five and seven people.
Besides choosing what category cabin you want you need to take into consideration the location of the cabin. Location of the cabin is as important if not more important than the category for your comfort. You may have a beautiful large cabin with a large veranda but it’s at the back to the ship. That may not be the best for you!
If you have problems with motion sickness the center of the ship is where you want your cabin to be. To make it even better the lower decks are more stable. Simply put if you suffer from motion sickness you want mid-ship lower-level.
Once your travel agent books you on a cruise or you book online and you have your cabin number go to the Disney cruise website (see link at end of post) and look at the deck plans. See what is above and below your cabin. Having your cabin a deck below a lounge/bar may not be the best. I’ve heard guests complain of hearing the music and the “stamping of dancing feet” when staying in cabins below lounges and kids clubs. Also be aware of the kid’s areas. You may not want to be above or below those either.
Once you’ve checked their cabins location if you decide you wish to change it go ahead and call your travel agent, if you used one or contact Disney if you booked yourself and request a change of cabin location. The success of getting your room change depends on availability. I always recommend booking cruises early so you have the best chance of getting the category cabin you wish and having time to change cabin and staying within the same category if needed.
No matter what category cabin you have unless it is Concierge Level you have the same privileges as everybody else. Everyone is treated like royalty on a Disney cruise. Your access to shipboard amenities is not related to your cabin level. So if you cannot afford that cabin with a veranda enjoy the inside cabin and being on the ship.
Links for Disney Cruise Ship deck plans:
Monday, May 27, 2013
The Disney Difference
Over the weekend I enjoyed watching the Disney ships sail out on the Port Canaveral WebCam. (I’ve placed link to the WebCam and current schedule at the bottom if you wish to have it.) This is something I do every day I know there’s a Disney Cruise Ship at Port Canaveral.
The majority of the time they leave on time or up to 15 minutes early. Sometimes the ships are up to 30 minutes late meeting port. A few times it’s been longer. The longer times have been due to accidents or illness on the ship. Ever since March, when there was an accident on the ship making it late leaving people start wondering why. This past weekend one of my Facebook friends told me why the ship is sometimes delayed.
The Captain of the ship can at his discretion delay leaving port for any number of reasons. This past weekend a group of six passengers had a delay in their plane. They were pleasantly surprised that a Disney bus was waiting to take them to the port and the ship was being held until they arrived. The Captain had been informed of the groups predicament and chose to delay leaving port until they boarded. When these people stated how surprised they were that the ship was being held the bus driver smiled and said, “Thank the Captain when you see him.”
Even though the ships are on a tight schedule but 20 to 30 minutes will not overly delay them getting to their next port of call nor will it massively inconvenience the other guests on the ship. But delaying departure for that time can make the difference in a vacation of a lifetime. Disney knows that each Disney Vacation is a Magical Experience. For some it is a trip of a lifetime never to be repeated and to miss it due to a delay in transportation would be devastating.
Port Canaveral WebCam Information:
Departure time for all days is 5 PM EST
Thursday – Dream
Saturday – Fantasy
Sunday - Dream
Friday, May 24, 2013
Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights
When you cruise you realize that you may not go to all the schedule ports you wish, destinations may be changed, your cruise possibly cut short, or even cancel due to bad weather. This is something that is just understood by reasonable people when booking a cruise but it would be a shame to miss your desired ports and/or your cruise cut short because the Cruise Line did not maintain their vessel.
There has been lots of talk about the need for a Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights due to mechanical failure on the multiple mega-size cruise ships. One cruise line had 7 mechanical failures on 4 of their ships in just the first 3 months of this year! That and other disastrous situations on cruise ships that cost the lives of many people caught the attention of governments and cruise customers over the past year or so.
The United States Congress had made threats to write a Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights to force change in the Cruise Line Industry. Many people were swearing off cruising fearing for their safety and not wishing to be left stranded as thousands had been during different cruise fiascoes. So rather than face the wrath of the U.S. Congress and their paying customers the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) chose to come up with their own, self-imposed Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights. The 25 cruise lines (this includes the Disney Cruise Line) that make up CLIA did not state any penalties for not abiding by the Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights.
I believe this is a step in the right direction in making customers feel safe on the cruise ships. I believe that it states fair penalties for the Cruise Lines are that sending out sailing ships with mechanical issues and then not taking care of their guests.
Here is the text of the Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights:
international cruise line passenger bill of rights
The Members of the Cruise Lines International Association dedicated to comfort and care of all passengers on oceangoing cruises throughout the world. To fill this commitment, our Members have agreed to adopt the following set of passenger rights. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master's concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
1. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
2. The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.
3. The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of efforts to address mechanical failures.
4. Right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
5. The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
6. The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
7. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a crew is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
8. Right to have included on each cruise lines website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
9. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each lines website.
That is it, just 9 simply stated rights. There’s nothing complicated but every Cruise Passenger needs to know the right
Disney Cruise Line did sign this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights and has posted them on their website. The actual number of events related to mechanical failure on cruise ships is proportionally fairly small when you consider how many ships are sailing the oceans of this small world of ours. It’s just when something does happen thousands of people are affected and their lives put at risk.
I know that the Disney Cruise Line will have no problem standing by the standards as I know they’re one of the better maintained fleet of ships.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Misuse of the Disability Access at Disney Parks
Over the last few weeks reports have been in various newspapers and Disney fan sites regarding the misuse of the GAC card (Guest Assistant Card) at Disney parks. Let me share my thoughts on this issue.
Reports are that a tour company in New York is hiring disabled people to act as “tour guides” at Disney Parks. These disabled people use their GAC to take their “clients” through the handicap access on rides and attractions. This effectively allows their “clients” to cut lines. Reports also say that these disabled people are being paid over $1000 a day for their services.
While it is nice that these disabled “tour guides” can make some money doing something enjoyable I do not think it is fair or morally right for them to use their disability to help a rich client cut lines.
Let’s start off with what the GAC is intended for. The GAC is intended to assist those with limitations, of all kinds both visible and invisible have access to the attractions at Disney Parks. These are not intended to be passes to cut to the front of the line or give unlimited access to attractions and characters. The GAC is designed to tell Cast Members it is shown how to best to assist that particular guest at the attraction they wish to see.
The GAC will tell a Cast Member to tell a guess that can’t walk up or down stairs to use an alternate route bypassing stairs. Sometimes people who can’t walk up or down stairs do not use canes are wheelchairs so you can’t tell without the GAC. The GAC will also help a child with ADHD or adult with an anxiety disorder who cannot stand in a long line or who gets nervous and crowds. For some it will give them a place to wait until it is their turn to ride that is quite safe for them.
I am thankful for the GAC Disney gives my husband and daughter when we go to the parks. We would never think of abusing it. It allows my husband and daughter to enjoy the parks without undue stress. If the regular lines are 30 minutes or less we will wait in the regular line. Our GAC allows us to take up to six people total with us per GAC, that six includes us. If friends and family are with us they can and do go in the handicapped entrance with us. We would never think of using this as a way to make money.
Disney says it will take appropriate action to stop the abuse of the GAC. It is my concern that because of these few dishonest, disreputable and downright rude people it will be even harder to get a GAC in the future. In my opinion the GAC policies, as enforced at Disneyland are appropriate and work well. I believe that anyone found abusing the system and being paid to use their GAC as a tour guide to cut lines should be banned from the Parks for life.
See news article here:
See news article here:
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Disney Does Not Listen?
The last few weeks a lot of Disney Fans banded together and complained about changes Disney had made in the costume for Merida at the Disney Parks. In case you missed what had happened let me explain.
Disney had decided that for her coronation as a Disney Princess Merida needed a makeover. They gave her a smaller waistline, more controlled hair, more makeup and a fancier dress. In doing so they made her less of a tomboy attempting to define her own fate and more of a femme fatale. Many people complained saying that they had made her more sexy and in fact too sexy. I do not think that the makeover went too far in making her look too “sexy”. I just think the makeover was not in keeping with the character of the movie.
Merida of the movie did not care about fancy dresses or being all made up. She was not rejecting the idea of finding a prince she just wanted to find one her way, in her time. The “new” Merida of Disney parks appeared to be concerned with her looks and to be looking for her prince.
With all the negative feedback Disney received with the makeover that change was blessedly short lived. Disney announced in the last week that the makeover was for Merida’s coronation as a Disney Princess and as such only “Limited Time Magic”.
I do not believe that the makeover was intended to be “Limited Time Magic”. I honestly believe that Disney listened to the guests concerns and displeasure and changed their plans. People felt that Merida of the movie, Brave is a great role model for their children. She does not want to be pushed into doing things she is not ready for. She is not waiting for a prince to save her. The made over Merida is more in keeping with the typical Disney Princess, like Snow White who is singing, “Someday my Prince will come”.
The point of this is Disney DID listen to the guests/fans! For the naysayers who say, “It doesn’t do a thing to complain to Disney.” I say, “Yes it does!” This is proof that Disney does listen to guests concerns/complaints. If you see something you feel is wrong at Disney tell them. If enough people speak out they do listen. Their goal is a happy guest. They can’t know the guests are unhappy if we the guests do not say something.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
The Must Know Information on Doing DLR with Disabilities
I do not have a disability but have gone many with family and friends with a wide range of DisAbilities and have done lots of research to help them enjoy the parks.
At Disneyland many rides have lines that are not accessible to wheelchairs and therefore have alternative entrances. Most of these lines are much shorter than the standard lines. One major exception to that rule is Pirates of the Caribbean. Often the regular line is shorter than the wheelchair line for PotC.
At DCA all the lines are wheelchair accessible so there are fewer lines with “special access”. At DCA the rides with special wheelchair accessible vehicles or special loading areas for guests in wheelchairs (Toy Story Mania, Little Mermaid, Radiator Springs Racers) have special lines or a division in the line where you go to a special access line. If they do not have an designated line and you have a GAC just ask a Cast Member where to go.
At DLR if you cannot be in a long line for any reason (physical limitations or disabilities such as Autism & ADHD) you can get a GAC (Guest Assistance Card) that lets you use all the FastPass lines at both parks without getting a FP. The way it works is you go Guest Relations in either park for the GAC. When asking for the GAC make sure you let the Cast Member know you can’t be in long lines. Go to the Handicapped entrance of any ride or up to the first Cast Member you see at that ride and ask where to enter. This also acts as a VIP pass for shows such as Aladdin.
One ride that is different is Radiator Sprints Racers. Due to the fact the ride is new and very popular you need to get a FP even if you have a GAC. FPs for this ride are gone within the first hour of the park being open. Don’t worry! With your GAC you can get a FP at any time. There is usually a podium with a Cast Member at it near the statue of Stanley in Cars Land. If you don’t see them just ask any Cast Member where to go. You show them your GAC and they give you a time to return to enter the FP line. You will usually have to wait the length of time for the standard line. If the standard entrance line is 90 minutes you will be asked to return to the FP line in 90 minutes. When you return to ride just show both your FP and GAC to the Cast Member.
Radiator Springs Racers requires you to transfer from the wheelchair to the vehicle. You are not rushed in loading so take your time and make it easy on yourself. If you are taking a child from a chair to this ride I suggest two adults to load the child. One steps down into the car and the second hands the child to them. (If you want a picture of the loading area I’ll be glad to provide it.) This would also work with helping an adult transfer.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
It seems that Disney in its infinite wisdom has decided that Princess Merida needs a makeover. I’ll say right here right now I disagree!
Merida, as her character was created for the movie Brave is a redheaded wild child. She is a tomboy with innocence and a childlike look at life. She is not fancy. She just does not care if her hair is brushed or if it is a tangled mess. The look in her eyes shows innocence, awe and wonder of the world around her. There is a determination to be herself and not be defined by her culture or her parent’s goals for her life.
The updated, “new and improved” Merida is too concerned with her looks. She has more makeup and her hair is more controlled in the concept drawings. The dress is more in the style of the type of confining dress that Merida of the movie rejected.
Now some are calling her new makeover a sexualization of the character. I would not go quite that far. Yes she is a little more provocative and sultry but I would not call the new makeover overly sexy or inappropriate.
Another problem I have with the new Merida is the significant weight loss. Once again Disney is telling young girls that if they have any meat on their bones or do not fit into a size 0-4 they are not beautiful. ”You can’t be a Princess if you are not skinny.” I’m sorry I don’t find this healthy for young children, boy or girl.
Disney has sold out in my opinion. Merida no longer stands by her conviction to not be defined by the rules, culture and family want to hold her to. Instead she is been redefined to fit into the super skinny, supermodel view of what society thinks woman should look like.
In the past Disney has been accused of being insensitive to women and showing women as weak, always in need of being saved, and unable to take care of themselves. Merida of the movie most definitely could take care of herself and stand up for what she wanted. I feel this change of Merida reduces her credibility as a role model for children.
Friday, May 10, 2013
What Type of Disney Tourist Are You?
In my opinion there are six different types of Disney tourist. There is the Ride Runner, Showstopper, Character Greeter, Shop Hopper, Pin Trader and the People Watcher.
The Ride Runner runs from ride to ride and is not happy when stopped for any other reason. They skip parades, shows, shops and dislike the fact they have to stop for something to eat. They often count the number of rides they got on and if they do not reach a set number they feel cheated. They want to ride every ride they can.
The Showstopper will look online days before going to the park for the show schedules during their trip. They will grab an entertainment schedule walking in the park gates to double check their information. They plan their rides and meals around show schedules. They want to see every show available. Often they will park themselves and wait for hours sitting on a bench or the ground for a show to get just the spot they want.
The Character Greeter. Character Greeters will keep an eagle eye out for characters around the park. They will often look online to see where their favorite characters can be found in the parks before they go. You can tell the Character Greeter by the autographed books and Pen’s they proudly carry as a walk around the Park. They filled the character meet and greet areas and character meals.
The Shop Hopper. The Shop Hopper will stop to shop spending the day looking at the various Disney curios available. They have their favorite shops and will not leave the Park without a stop in their favorite store. They are the best people to ask when you are looking for a certain type of Disney curio. They will often know which stored in which area to find what you’re looking for.
The Pin Trader. The Pin Trader is an eagle eyed Park tourist. They can spot a fellow guests or cast member with a pin trading lanyard at 100 yards maybe 200! They will know all spots to buy and trade pins. They see a cast member with a lanyard in the shop, down the street or at a ride they will pause to take a look and possibly trade a pin or two.
The People Watcher. That People Watcher is just that, a people watcher! They love to just pick a spot and watch people go by. These are usually friendly folk that will start up a conversation if you pause near them. I love people watching so I’m a people watcher. I guess I picked this up from my grandma.
In truth I’m a unique blend of all. Each the sixth tour style depends on the day and who I’m with. I must say I actually am a combination of the Showstopper and People Watcher. I love the rides but will often skip the rides to wait for a good spot to see a show. While I’m waiting for the show I will often pass the time people watching and making new friends.
So what type of Disney Tourist are you?
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Disney Cruise Line Wave Phones
Every Disney cabin comes with three phones. One phone sits on your nightstand table and is hardwired into your room. This acts like a phone in any standard hotel room. These phones are placed on your nightstand table. There are two other phones sitting on the desk when you arrive.
The two phones on the desk are called Wave Phones. There is usually one charger for both phones. These phones act like a cell phone while on the ship. The Wave Phones are approximately the size of a standard cell phone but a little thicker. These phones can be used to call other members in your group, call the kids club to check on the kids, the kids call you from the kids club or you call any cabin or phone extension on the ship. These phones can be a little confusing and difficult to work at first. Don’t be afraid to stop in at Guest Services for help or talk to your Room Steward.
To call a standard room phone you put a number in front of the cabin number. The Wave Phones also use the cabin number as the base for their number. Each of the two Wave Phones has a different number in front or back of the cabin number. So you can call from Wave Phone to Wave Phone. This is an extremely convenient way to keep in touch while on the ship and can save costly cell phone charges.
If you have more than two people in your cabin that need a Wave Phone you can request one for a nominal charge per phone. So now your older kids can go explore the ship and still be able to reach you (and you them) if needed. This can really help in making you feel safer giving your older child a little extra freedom.
Be aware that you are responsible for returning the Wave Phones in good working condition. If they are damaged by misuse or lost you will be charged for them. This must be taken into consideration when giving one to or requesting an extra one for a child.
One complaint I had about the Wave Phones was the fact we were only given one charger for two phones. We usually have one phone with a dead battery. Not to worry you can always stop by the Guess Services Desk and get the battery or phone replaced. I am not sure if you order extra phones if you get an extra charger for it. It would make sense that you should but there are very few electrical outlets in the cabins.
These phones do work well in the majority of the public areas of the ship. They also work in the areas near the ship while in port. Having not use them on Castaway Cay (Disney did not have them when we went there.) I cannot confirm how they work there. Reports say that the Wave Phones work on Castaway Cay.
I suggest packing a few Ziploc baggies for your cruise. These can be used to protect your Wave Phone while poolside or on the beach.
Before the Wave Phones parents were given pagers so their children or kids clubs staff could page them if there was a problem. I believe the Wave Phones are great improvement on this. It is a fantastic way for parents to keep in touch with their children and give them a little freedom. It is also good for adults who are going without their children. No longer do you have to prearrange a meeting place and wait for someone to meet you. You have the freedom to say, “Give me a call and we’ll meet up.”
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The Jungle Cruise is a family favorite. We enjoy the classic jokes and the beautiful attention to detail on this great ride. One great little known souvenir can be found at this attraction at Disneyland in California. Just ask a Cast Member at the ride for a map of the ride and you can take it home for free.
The Jungle Cruise is an attraction located in Adventureland at many Disney Parks, including Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Tokyo Disneyland. At Hong Kong Disneyland, the attraction is named Jungle River Cruise. Disneyland Paris is the only Magic Kingdom-style Disney park that does not have the Jungle Cruise in its attraction roster.
The attraction simulates a riverboat cruise down several major rivers of Asia, Africa and South America. Park guests board replica tramp steamers and are taken on a voyage past many different Audio-Animatronic jungle animals. The tour is led by a live Disney cast member delivering a humorous scripted narration.
Sources of inspiration for the attraction include a 1955 True-Life Adventure about a pride of lions, and the film The African Queen. Imagineer Harper Goff referenced the African Queenfrequently in his ideas; even his designs of the ride vehicles were inspired by the steamer used in the film. The project was placed on the schedule to open with the July 17, 1955 debut of Disneyland.
When plans began to develop, Bill Evans, the Imagineer responsible for landscaping Disneyland and most of Walt Disney World, faced the daunting task of creating a convincing jungle on a limited budget. Aside from importing many actual tropical plants, he made wide use of "character plants" which, while not necessarily exotic, could give the appearance of exoticism in context. In a particularly well-known trick, he uprooted local orange trees and "replanted" them upside-down, growing vines on the exposed roots. Disney controls the clarity of the water (known as "turbidity") in order to obscure from guest's view the boat's guidance system and undesirable items like perches and mechanized platforms of the bathing elephants and hippos. Initially, the clean water was dyed brown but after a few years the colorant was changed to a green hue and in recent years a bluish-green has been used. The water of the Jungle Cruise is approximately 5 feet deep and is part of the Park's 'dark' water system which circulates southward from the northern end of Frontierland's Rivers of America, through Fantasyland and creates the moat of Sleeping Beauty's castle. The water's journey continues flowing past Frontierland's entrance and into Adventureland where it meanders alongside the Tiki Room before entering the Jungle Cruise beside the ride's exit. The water returns to the south end of the Rivers of America via a 37" diameter underground pipe near Tarzan's Treehouse. Originally, the Jungle Cruise waterway was 1,640 feet in length before being slightly shortened and re-routed in 1994.
Although Goff and Evans can be credited with the creation and initial design of the ride, Marc Davis, recognized for his work on venerable attractions such as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, added his own style to the ride in later versions and Disneyland updates. The "Indian Elephant Bathing Pool" and "Rhinoceros Chasing Explorers up a Pole" were among his contributions.
Effect on Walt Disney
In a popular story recounted by Jeff Lange, a writer for weblogging site Jim Hill Media, an experience at the Jungle Cruise helped bolster Walt Disney's obsession with the concept of 'plussing', or continuous improvement. The story claims that Walt overheard a mother visiting Disneyland telling her child that since they had been on the ride the last time they visited the park, they didn't need to ride it again. In horror, he put his Imagineers to work designing upgrades to the ride. Many similar variations of this story exist.
The attraction was in the opening day roster of the park, and has remained open and largely unchanged in theme and story since then. The original plan was to use real animals, but the animals would have been sleeping during the day. Aside from alterations and maintenance changes, four completely new show scenes have been added to date. In 1994 the river channel was rerouted to make way for the queue buildings and entrance courtyard of the Indiana Jones Adventure.
While the current version and most previous instances have made use of a comedic spiel, filled with intentionally bad puns, the original intent of the ride was to provide a realistic, believable voyage through the world's jungles. Until 1962, the original spiel had no jokes and sounded much like the narration of a nature documentary.
The queue and station are themed as the headquarters and boathouse of a River Expedition Company, located in a (presumably British) colony of the 1930s. The queuing area is cluttered with appropriate props, such as pinned insects, an old radio on top of a bookshelf, and a chessboard with miniature animals and decorated shotgun shells replacing the pieces. The extended queue winds upstairs, underneath an Audio-Animatronic hornbill, and then downstairs again. Big band music from the 1930s plays overhead, punctuated by jungle-related news bulletins, helping to reinforce the setting and threading together the show scenes and boat.
Once aboard the boats, guests are introduced to their skipper and they head into the jungle, allegedly never to return. The first rivers simulated are the Irrawaddy and Mekong rivers, representing tropical Southeast Asia. The boats sail through a dense rainforest inhabited by large butterflies and a pair of toucans and then glide precariously under the first of a pair of stone arches severely damaged by an earthquake centuries ago. These are part of the ruins of an ancient Cambodian city where just a crumbling temple and shrine have managed to avoid tumbling into the river. Here passengers see a Bengal Tiger, giant spiders, king cobras and mugger crocodiles. Passing a statue of the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesha, the boats pass under the second arch and enter the Sacred Indian Elephant Bathing Pool. Here a large herd of Indian elephants frolic and squirt water at the passing vessels.
The theme transitions to the rivers of Africa, and riders see a family of baboons, and a safari camp that has been overrun by gorillas, (that look simailar to gorillas that overran the camp in Disney's Tarzan). The boats narrowly avoid the dramatic waterfall, Schweitzer Falls, and turn down Africa's Nile river where they pass between two African Elephants, and large termite mounds. A tableau of the African Veldt follows, showing zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, and gazelles watching a pride of lions feasting on a zebra beneath a rocky outcropping. Beyond the lion's den, an angry rhinoceros has chased a safari party up a tree. Antelope and hyenas watch from nearby. The skipper then pilots the boat into the Congo river disturbing a pod of hippos that signal their intent to attack the boat. Armed with a gun filled with blanks, the skipper fires into the air to frighten them away.
Drums and chanting are heard as the boats come to headhunter country. The vehicles pass a native village before sailing into an ambush by natives wielding spears, the sound effects for which are usually provided by the skipper.
The boats now pass behind Schweitzer Falls (referred to as "the Backside of Water") to enter the Amazon River. Skeletal animal remains and warning signs featuring pictures of dagger-toothed fish forewarn the next show scene, where the boats encounter a swarm of leaping piranha. The guests then pass a pool of water buffalo, and meet shrunken head dealer Trader Sam ("who will trade you two of his heads for one of yours") before returning to the dock.
· 1957 - Addition of rainforest, pair of menacing gorillas, native war party and dancing natives. Trader Sam begins offering his "... two for one deal"
· 1961 - Original two-story boathouse removed; open waterway between Jungle Cruise and Rivers of America filled in to create space for Tree House
· 1962 - Construction of Indian elephant pool and African veldt scenes (sans figures)
· 1963 - African elephants re-positioned on the Nile river section; removal of two original lions and pair of 'charging' rhinos
· 1964 - Addition of Indian elephants to bathing pool, African veldt animals, and trapped safari figures
· 1976 - Addition and enhancement of several scenes: crocodiles snapping at hornbill, Bengal tiger and cobras added to Cambodian ruins, safari camp overrun by gorillas, gorilla battling crocodile, baboons on termite mounds, lions feasting on zebra moved into new rock outcropping/den, python threatening water buffalo calf replacing gorillas threatening from the banks
· 1993 - Boats repainted and "weathered" in anticipation of Indiana Jones attraction
· 1994 - Addition of new two-story boathouse queue; attraction re-themed for 1930's era to support the coming "Indiana Jones Adventure," rerouting of river to accommodate the "Indiana Jones Adventure"
· 1997 - Replacement of the original ride vehicles
· 2005 - Various replacements and reconstructions including complete replacement of Schweitzer Falls; addition of piranhas; updates to safari camp scene including 'exploding' gasoline drums
· 2010 - After 55 years of growth and care Disneyland's man-made jungle is declared "real" and complete with its own ecosystem.
Description of specific changes
The baboons at the safari camp previously sat on the African termite mounds. A total of six lions have been removed since opening day: one that growled when the African Veldt was added, two lionesses from the Veldt that were fighting over a bloody strand of zebra meat, a lion and a lioness that each had a zebra leg in their mouth, and a dead lion hanging on a spit over a fire in the native village. Also removed from the Veldt were African wild dogs barking at the pride.
There are 12 vehicles, with a maximum of 9 in operation at any given time. The boats in 1955 were painted as clean, idealized replicas, but have since been given a more realistic theming reflecting the grunge and wear of actual watercraft due to the addition of Indiana Jones Adventure and its ruggedness.
Names in use:
· Amazon Belle
· Congo Queen (gold-painted for 50th anniversary)
· Ganges Gal
· Hondo Hattie
· Irrawaddy Woman
· Kissimmee Kate
· Nile Princess
· Orinoco Adventuress
· Suwannee Lady
· Ucayali Una (Wheelchair equipped)
· Yangtze Lotus
· Zambezi Miss
Names decommissioned in 1997:
· Magdalena Maiden
· Mekong Maiden
The skipper introduces himself or herself, and begins to take the boat full of guests down the tropical rivers of the world. The ride starts out in the Amazon River, where the passengers encounter butterflies with one-foot wingspans, or as the skipper might say, twelve inches. The boat then passes Inspiration Falls, which transitions into the Congo River in Africa.
The skipper explains that there is a Pygmy welcoming party waiting for them, but when the boat arrives at the beach, the canoes are empty, and the place deserted. The skipper wonders what scared off the Pygmies, and they soon discover that it was a giant python. The boat then passes a camp that has been raided by gorillas, which transitions the cruise into the Nile River.
After encountering two elephants, the boat passes along the African Veldt, where numerous African animals watch a pride of lions eat their kill. The boat then passes a lost safari group that has been chased up a pole by an angry rhinoceros and are now trapped. The group then passes by another waterfall, Schweitzer Falls, and heads past the remains of a plane crash. The boat then encounters a pool of hippos, about to charge the boat until the skipper scares them off. Ominous drums are heard as the group enters headhunter territory. Natives are seen dancing near the boat and guests soon find themselves in an ambush. They escape and proceed into the Mekong River.
They enter a temple which has been destroyed by an earthquake. Inside, baboons, cobras, and a tiger can be found. After they exit, they come across an elephant bathing pool where numerous elephants are relaxing in the water. The boat narrowly avoids being sprayed by water from one of the elephants. The cruise concludes after passing Trader Sam, the head salesman of the jungle, who offers two shrunken heads for one of the passengers.
The Walt Disney World Jungle Cruise is set as a depression era British outpost on the Amazon river, operated by the fictional company, The Jungle Navigation Co., whose advertisement poster is painted on the wall near the exit of the attraction. Albert Awol's broadcast is different than that of Disneyland's, being ride specific. Also unlike Disneyland, the queue never extended to a second level. The skippers at the Magic Kingdom no longer carry revolvers loaded with blanks. These real guns have been replaced with realistic props.
Near the Hippo Pool, a piece of a downed airplane can be seen along the shoreline. This is the back half of the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior found at The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Casablanca scene.
Each variety of plant throughout the attraction was carefully selected by landscape architect Bill Evans to ensure that the foliage would be able to endure Florida's unique climate: hot summers and relatively cool winters. The most difficult aspect of this was making sure these plants had the appropriate look and feel of traditional tropical plants in the equatorial jungle.
The queue of the Jungle Cruise is heavily themed with period artifacts, tools, gear, photos and more. It is intended to resemble an outpost where an exploration of the jungle rivers may be booked. It is divided into four main sections which may be opened or closed in sequence to accommodate crowd fluctuation. The queue was designed to wind about extensively so that guests may see all of the different artifacts in the queue. The most notable section of the queue is the office of Albert Awol.
There are 15 vehicles, with a maximum of 10 in operation at any given time.
· Amazon Annie
· Bomokandi Bertha (Wheelchair lift equipped)
· Congo Connie
· Ganges Gertie
· Irrawaddy Irma
· Mongala Millie
· Nile Nellie
· Orinoco Ida
· Rutshuru Ruby
· Sankuru Sadie
· Senegal Sal
· Ucyali Lolly
· Volta Val
· Wamba Wanda (Wheelchair lift equipped)
· Zambesi Zelda
· Kwango Kate (Retired in 2000)
The Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland attractions are very similar to each other, with the exception of a few minor differences. While the boats in the Magic Kingdom's attraction travel counter-clockwise, the boats at Tokyo Disneyland travel in a clockwise direction.
In Tokyo Disneyland, the station and surrounding area are themed to a more upscale African city, as opposed to an isolated jungle outpost. This version shares a station building with the park's steam train ride, Western River Railroad. The spiels in Tokyo Disneyland are delivered in Japanese and skippers bow to the audience after each joke.
There are 13 vehicles, with a maximum of 12 in operation at any given time.
All boat names, except Orinoco Ida, are alliterations.
· Amazon Annie
· Congo Connie
· Ganges Gertie
· Irrawaddy Irma
· Kwango Kate
· Nile Nelly
· Orinoco Ida
· Rutshuru Ruby
· Sankuru Sadie
· Senegal Sal
· Volta Val
· Wamba Wanda
· Zambezi Zelda
Disneyland Paris does not have any Jungle Cruise attraction, due to the cold temperature and weather of northern France. Because many copies of the original Jungle Cruise attractions exist in other French theme parks, French guests might be used to the experience and not find it exciting. An indoor jeep ride called Jungle Expedition was originally planned at the opening of the park, but was cancelled due to financial difficulties.
The shape of Hong Kong Disneyland's route is significantly different compared to the others, and circumnavigates Tarzan's Treehouse. A grand finale is included with a battle between angry fire and water gods. Three languages are regularly available: Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. Each language has a separate queue, allowing visitors to experience the journey in their preferred language.
The queue takes place in a small boathouse less elaborate then the boathouses found at the other parks. After winding through the queue, guests board one of the boats and meet their skipper who speaks either English, Cantonese, or Mandarin, to accompany the park's guests who speak many different languages themselves.
The boats then depart and head down the river, past Tarzan's Treehouse where the skipper tells guests to wave goodbye to the guests traversing the treehouse, for they will never see them again. The boats then drift past a mother Indian elephant and her calf playing in the water, followed by another elephant showering in a waterfall. A large bull Indian elephant emerges from the water squirting a plume of water at the boats with the guests narrowly avoiding the free shower.
The vessels then drift down a narrow stream past ancient Cambodian ruins which have been claimed by the jungle. Giant spiders and king cobras watch the boats as they move on. Up ahead several crocodiles are seen resting on a small beach, while a school of hungry piranha are jumping in the hopes of attacking the guests. The boats escape into Africa and they pass a large safari camp where several curious gorillas have discovered clothes, guns, hammocks, and books, as the "Trashing the Camp" song from Tarzan plays on a nearby 1930s radio. The African Veldt comes into view where antelope, giraffes, zebras, and African elephants stare at the boats. The vessels then drift into a small pool where a pod of hippos try to tip the boat. Several feet ahead a rhino is seen chasing a safari group up a tree while several hyenas look on laughing.
Skulls and cloth impaled on broken bamboo sticks appears as tribal drums and horns fill the air. The skipper tells guests that they have entered head hunter country and must quietly sneak by. The boats slowly pass through the main village where several upright shields rest in the tall grass. A native notices the boats and all the shields now revealed to have head hunters behind them begin firing spears and poison darts at the boats as they narrowly escape into a rocky canyon. In the rocky canyon, the boats stop near two unusual rock formations that look like faces, revealed by the skipper to be the fire god and the water god who constantly feud over their differences. The fire god sets the river ablaze while the water god vomits a water bomb, causing the flames to die and the whole canyon to become a cloud of steam. The boats escape the canyon and pass a baby elephant before returning to the boathouse.
· 2006 - Piranha Attack and Trapped Safari scenes added, enhancement of Gorilla Camp, African Veldt, and Headhunter's Territory
· 2007 - Temporary scene added during the "Pirate Takeover" summer event (from May to August)
There are 9 vehicles, with a maximum of 8 in operation at any given time.
· Amazon Annie
· Congo Queen (Wheelchair accessible)
· Ganges Gal
· Irrawaddy Irma
· Lijiang Lady
· Mekong Maiden
· Nile Nellie
· Yangzi Ying Ying
· Zambezi Zelda
Albert Awol is a fictional Jungle Cruise boat captain and disc jockey for the Disney Broadcasting Company. Considered the "Voice of the Jungle", he broadcasts everything from news, to quizzes, reminders, weather, etc. on the DBC (Disney Broadcast Company). He also serves as a period disc jockey for the station, filling the airwaves with music from the 1930s depression era.
Albert Awol was added in 1991 to the Jungle Cruise during a refurbishment:
"Standing in the Jungle Cruise queue was a somber affair prior to the aforementioned 1991 rehab; once guests crossed the threshold they were faced with a series of twists and turns that led past bare walls, their fellow guests and occasional glimpses of the river. There was no background music at that time either, so if the queue was full it promised a fair amount of shuffling drudgery. Of course DL's Jungle Cruise queue is now closer to the full embodiment of how cool a ride's waiting space can be, but Florida's 1991 upgrade did include queue music interspersed with radio commentary by Albert AWOL, 'the voice of the jungle.' A considerable array of visual enhancements were also made at that same time, from a series of new destination-based wall murals to the artifact-laden 'office' in the center of the queue."
Albert's broadcast is projected not just over the Jungle Cruise queuing area, but over Adventureland as a whole, setting the time period. In Disneyland, Albert is replaced by "Jungle Radio." Various air personalities comment on the environment, the luminaries who are in the area (including references to the designers of the attraction - Harper Goff, Bob Mattey, Winston Hibler [True-Life Adventure films, upon which Jungle Cruise is based]). The music is a good deal slower in pace and tempo than the tracks used at Walt Disney World. The music was previously linked with the outdoor speakers at the Temple of the Forbidden Eye (Indiana Jones Adventure), however, two separate tracks of material with similar tone and some songs now exist. The Jungle Radio at Disneyland does connect the setting with the nearby Indiana Jones attraction, and ties in announcements that reference Indiana Jones, and the temple in which the ride is set.
· There was a tribute to the ride in 2005 on an episode of the podcast The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, as well as a Strong Bad E-mail entitled "theme park".
· In the sing along songs video Disneyland Fun during "Following the Leader", Jungle Cruise made an appearance.
· Jungle Cruise was parodied as Timon and Pumbaa's Virtual Safari on The Lion King Special Edition.
· A stand up comedy show featuring only Jungle Cruise Skippers, called The Skipper Stand Up Show, has been doing shows in Fullerton, California since May 2006.
· "Weird Al" Yankovic wrote and recorded a song titled "Skipper Dan" about a failed actor who ended up as a guide on a Jungle Cruise-type ride. The song is included on his 2009 digital Internet Leaks EP and his 2011 album, Alpocalypse.
· Disney's "Fab Five" characters, cruise boat and the "River Expedition Company" boathouse were incorporated into an original painting and limited edition print offering by artist Randy Souders entitled "Jungle Cruise" created for the 1999 Official Disneyana Convention at Disneyland.
A studio recorded soundtrack of the Jungle Cruise was release in 1968 by Disneyland Records included as the B side of the album Walt Disney Presents The Enchanted Tiki Room and the Adventurous Jungle Cruise (ST-3966). The Jungle Cruise attraction has always featured narration by a live Disney cast member; for the release the narration was provided by Thurl Ravenscroft. This soundtrack was also used in Disneyland television features as early as 1964.
The Jungle Cruise is an announced Disney motion picture loosely inspired by the theme park attraction of the same name.
The film, originally scheduled for release in 2007, has experienced various delays and changes. Shooting of the film, originally scheduled for 2006, was postponed. Moreover, the original screenplay by Josh Goldstein and John Norville was reportedly rewritten by Al Gough and Miles Millar.
The film follows a group's riverboat journey through a jungle in search of a cure. Further details have not been forthcoming, apart from confirmation that the film is set in the twentieth century.
It has been announced that Toy Story stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen will star in the film.