Sunday, October 5, 2008

Disneyland - Jungle Cruise - What Would It Be Like?

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...



Yellows said...

Forget free admission on your birthday. We need "work a shift in your old job on your birthday"!

Katella Gate said...

Hi Mike, lurking here for a while, and I wanted to complement you on the blog ... As for female skippers, I've been on JC literally hundreds of times since 1965, and my all time favorite was a woman in the late 80's. Sharp delivery, continuous patter, and most of it was completely fresh material. For many years I remembered her name hoping to get her again. Sadly it was a one-time shot, and I've forgotten the name. But the performance was outstanding.

Mike said...


Amen! Thanks for stopping by. Keep up the great work on your blog, too!

Katella gate:

Fabulous call-sign! (By the way, anyone who loves Larry the Cable Guy AND Titanic can't be all that bad). I appreciate your comments and agree heartily. I've enjoyed some pretty good spiels from female skippers (and I'm a bit of a connoisseur thereof). Thanks, too, for the compliment and for rising up from the "lurker" depths of the Jungle waters! Please post a hello now and then!


Anonymous said...

Nice write up. And yes the memories remain of all the "characters" that I worked with way back to the time the .38's shot full load blanks and the boats were gasoline powered (there was an accelerator pedal on the floor and the transmission was a bit different than "throwing it into reverse"). But much remains the same despite the time one worked there. Now sorry folks, I liked the JC as an all male outfit...a real fraternity of sorts. There is a place for tradition. Really enjoy your blog.

J Kam said...

Great job on this. Fond memories. I worked the Jungle and BTMRR from '79-'83. I have my 5 year old trained to give his spiel on his raft in the pool. It's hilarious. He loves inanimate objects that "have been known to leap over 30 feet!". Liked the Pirates pictures also. My sister is one of the girls around the bed. More blackmail for me...