Tales of a Former Jungle Cruise Skipper: Volume 1

“Welcome to the world famous Jungle Cruise. My name is Lincee and for the next few weeks, I’ll be your Jungle Cruise skipper. I’ll also be your alligator wrestler, snake charmer, lion tamer…and if you don’t laugh at my jokes—quite possibly your swimming instructor!”

[Pause for laughs.]

Yes, in 1998, yours truly donned an extremely monochromatic uniform consisting of khaki shorts, shirt and safari hat, while bravely guiding Disney guests through dangerous rivers around the globe. And I loved every minute of that terrible, terrible spiel.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I treat you with the hilarity from backstage of the Jungle Cruise and Walt Disney World, I must confess that I did not start out as a super cool skipper.

After interviewing for a summer internship at Magic Kingdom with my dear friend Jill, we were excited to find out that we had not only landed the job, but would be working an attraction!

Our first day in orientation was exciting. We opened our packets to find that we were in separate lands…Jill in Adventure and me in Fantasy. Jill went off to be a Jungle Cruise skipper. She was funny and energetic…just what they needed. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t be a skipper too.

You see, there are a few attraction jobs at Disney that come with a certain reputation. Aside from characters, most cast members aspire to one day be a skipper or a pirate. A skipper because it’s fun. And a pirate because…it’s just plain cool.

While Jill was off shooting hippos and getting squirted by elephants, I was running attractions in Fantasyland. Or Fantasy Hell as it was known to those in my inner circle. Not just one ride…but FIVE! I can tell you everything you need to know about the inner workings of Snow White, Peter Pan, Dumbo, the Teacups and Cinderella’s Carrousel. I was absolutely miserable.

I longed for the “stage” that the Jungle Cruise could provide as a creative outlet. I did not sign up for this gig just to say, “How many? Row two. How many? Row three.” while pushing green buttons to make the ride go. My heart really was convinced that I had been misplaced.

After numerous complaints to several managers and a little finagling by Jill to her JC bosses, I was OUT OF FANTASY HELL just two weeks after entering its gates. Nice!

I was home in the jungle. I flourished in the jungle. I made many friends in the jungle.

Disney offered me a ton of fond memories that I will be sharing here for your reading pleasure. Check back often for more tales from the six months I spent working at Disney World. Experience the shocking behind-the-scenes moments my innocent eyes witnessed. Join me as I re-live the time the rather large woman fell on me at the handicapped entrance of Peter Pan.

Until then,

“Off your seats and on your feets…back out to those Magic Kingdom streets. Make sure you catch the three o’clock parade. If you do catch it…let it go. It will drag you all the way to Main Street. Go on and watch your step. Watch your head. Watch your step. Watch your head. If you happen to miss your step and hit your head…lower your voice and watch your language. This is a family attraction and we’d like to keep it that way.”

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