If you've never skippered a Jungle boat, you don't know what it's like to miss the Jungle. Some old skippers might not give it much thought, but I'd say the majority of us get a pang inside every so often.
You think back to the happy shifts---jumping into your assigned boat, pushing the throttle forward, throwing it into reverse as you reached the "load" area of the dock; Idling while guests entered. Spieling into your microphone; Taking it all in as you surveyed your latest crew; Teasing your fellow cast members over the PA as they loaded the boat; and then throwing the throttle forward with "Hit it, skip!" Off into the Jungle, just you and your crew.
Those days seem pretty real---even as memories today. I guess because they were each different, but very much the same. Each crew brought new faces, but the scenery remained the same. You'd mix up your spiel, but the core elements had to stay. The routine burned the experience into a deep part of your consciousness. Disney has a way of doing that to people, I guess.
What would it be like to return as a cast member today?
Things are somewhat different, but deliciously the same at the World Famous Jungle Cruise. The dock is a little different, but actually a bit improved from its past iteration. There are female skippers now, but they seem to fit right in with the guys. The Jungle is its own family. Adventure/Frontier Attractions is its own little community within the grander community of Disneyland itself.
The job is still fun.
Oh, to grab the mike and throttle just one more time.
To don that name tag and costume and walk through Adventureland.
I think it would still be pretty cool.
I know it would be enjoyable.
Until then, we old skippers blessed with good memories have plenty of loops around the Jungle to fall back on!
Well, I'm off like a dirty t-shirt, so---wave goodbye to the folks on the dock! Make it look like you're having fun! You'll never see them again...