Sunday, August 2, 2009

Disneyland - Some Unique Views - The Jungle Princess

Greetings, Disneyland geeks, lovers and observers! You know who you are. Heck, if you have stumbled into this blog from cyberspace and you AREN'T a Disneyland geek, lover or observer, you had better strongly reconsider your choice of search engine.

Where was I?

Ah, yes, Disneyland. For those of you who have never worked the Jungle Cruise, our first photograph gives you the view that most dockhands and unloaders get for most of their work day. Perhaps in the mad dash to exit the boat as a guest, you never took the time to take a look down the dock---much less photograph it. It is for you hapless folks that I offer Photograph No. 1 above, taken from just past "Jungle Central," or the Lead office on the dock of the Jungle Cruise. In the distance, you can see that our boat loader (at Front Load) giving the skipper and the Rear Load boat loader the "all clear" hand signal, indicating that all his guests are safely seated and ready to depart the dock. If the Rear Load loader looks into the boat and agrees, she would make the same signal and simultaneously shout: "Hit it, Skip!" send the boat off into the turpid, teeming, untamed rivers of the Jungle.

So much for that.

Next is a photo of Space Mountain that most of you will simply never be able to capture on your own. It is taken on a brilliantly clear day, from almost due south of the attraction and from a position in front of the old Administration/Wardrobe building. There are more interesting shots to share, but we shall save them for another day.

I will leave you with the following vignette:

I was working Jungle and was on the "Uki" (Ucayali Una) when we were at unload and a family with a small girl in a motorized wheelchair came on board (the Uki has a fabulous wheelchair ramp that allows guests in wheelchairs a chance to ride the attraction). I remember a mom, a dad, and this tiny girl with her hair in ribbons and a Minnie Mouse t-shirt. As her chair was loaded onto the ramp and the ramp lowered into my boat, I said hello to the family (as they were my only passengers until we pulled ahead to the "Load" position).

The parents looked a bit tired and glum. I imagined it had been a long day for them. Still, I smiled and then proceeded to tease the little princess who had entered my boat upon her magnificent "throne." I told her I loved her pigtails and pretty ribbons and warned her that ribbons attract gorillas and chimpanzees. She looked at me with bright eyes and simply gushed a wonderful smile.

The parents saw her reaction and smiled, too. "Thank you," they said, "that is the first time anyone has acknowledged our daughter today. And, you made her smile."

I went on to make our princess the star of our cruise. After the rest of the guests boarded, I introduced her to the entire boat and warned them that we'd need their help to keep the monkeys and gorillas at bay, since those ribbons are known to attract them.

We all had a blast. Upon our return, as the guests disembarked, we all clapped for our princess---and for safely avoiding gorillas and chimps. The little girl glowed from her tiny chair. Her parents simply said, "Thank you." They all turned at the exit and waved back to me as I loaded my gun for the next trip. "Have a great day!" I told them over the P.A.

I think they did.



Yellows said...

Nice work, Mike! That's what it was all about, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, there were times where one could make a difference. It kept me spieling....and spieling...and spieling working the guests when I could. It certainly beat working the "gallery'. BTW, it appears the boats are not the same ones that I drove in the 70s. Is that true?

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

Mike, I have worked with a lot of children in my time, and I have seen a lot of high-spirited youngsters with what the world looks at as a 'disability.' I cannot tell you how moved I was by your story, and the reminder that there are still people creating real magic for others all over the world. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post...thanks for brightening my day.

Mike said...


Thanks! YOU epecially know where I'm coming from on this given your status as a former ODV CM!


Yes, the boats today are different from the ones you drove in the 70s. They've eliminated the seat cushions and use a different paint/canopy scheme. Everything else, though, is pretty much the same. We need a few more "old timers" to come back to the Jungle. There's a guy there today named "Kip". If you get the chance, ride his boat!

Ryan P. Wilson,

Much obliged, sir. Thanks for the nice words. Feel free to pass along this little story to anyone whose day you feel might be brightened a bit by it.


Thank you for stopping by and letting me know your thoughts. I am happy to know that someone's day improved---even a small bit---by stopping by "Jungle is 101." To be fair, though, the credit goes to the little "Jungle Princess." I assure you, it is her charm and warmth that drives this little story. I took a woefully inadequate stab at trying to capture that in a written form.

Keep on stopping by!


Ducksoop said...

Mike, you bad boy. You almost made me cry with that story.