Disney updates Jungle Cruise theme park attraction after racism claims

Disney updates Jungle Cruise theme park attraction after racism claims
The Jungle Cruise attraction at Walt Disney theme parks will be updated (Sean Dempsey/PA)

The Jungle Cruise attraction at Walt Disney theme parks will be updated to “reflect and value the diversity of the world around us” following allegations it was racist, the entertainment giant has said.

The ride, which takes passengers on a “high adventure on a scenic and comedic boat tour of exotic rivers across Asia, Africa and South America”, was accused of including offensive depictions of indigenous people.

It reportedly included white characters referring to “savages”.

The updated version at Disneyland resorts in Florida and California will include an animated skipper and a wrecked ship boarded by chimps, Disney said.

The company said it will remain “true to the experience we know and love – more humour, wildlife and skipper heart – and also reflect and value the diversity of the world around us”.

Carmen Smith, executive, creative development and inclusion strategies at Walt Disney Imagineering, said: “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.

“With Jungle Cruise, we’re bringing to life more of what people love – the humour and wit of our incredible skippers, while making needed updates.”

Jungle Cruise inspired a blockbuster film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt, which is due for release in July.

Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim is closed due to the pandemic.

This is not the first attraction Disney has changed due to allegations of cultural insensitivity, as it wrestles with maintaining a legacy which includes its vast catalogue of properties created over nearly a century.

In June last year, the entertainment behemoth said it was redesigning Splash Mountain amid criticism of its links to 1946 film Song Of The South, which is widely seen as racist.

The movie is not available on the Disney+ streaming service.

Disney includes disclaimers on some of its older films, such as 1967’s The Jungle Book and 1953’s Peter Pan, warning some aspects may seem outdated.

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