To swing or not to swing? Let’s swing into another DVC Duo “What-If” article, this time around George of the Jungle. In the second installment of the series, we’re looking back at what Walt Disney World Imagineering had in the works if the movie was successful. Well, let’s grab that vine and get swinging!
For the DVC Duo “What-If” series, we’re looking back at movies that Walt Disney Imagineering had concepts or plans that would incorporate the movie into the parks, that were later filed away. Nothing at Disney Imagineering is thrown away, it is filed away for future consideration. Oh, how we would like to peek into that file cabinet.
Passholder Insights: Johnny Depp almost had two attractions at the Magic Kingdom if The Lone Ranger was a success.
George Of The Jungle, Huh?
In the summer of 1997, Walt Disney Pictures released their remake of the Tarzan parody, George of the Jungle. Based on the success Universal Studios had with The Flintstones remake, Walt Disney Pictures looked to bring its own version of a 1960’s cartoon to the big screen in the form a live-action remake.
The movie leveraged the comedic talents of Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann, and Thomas Haden Church. With a solid comedic line-up, Disney believed it would have a summer blockbuster.
What-If George of the Jungle was a homerun of a summer blockbuster? It’s why we are all here. Thanks to a little insight from Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, we have an idea of what Walt Disney Imagineering had in the hopper. Let’s just The Jungle Cruise may look a lot different than it does today.
Over the years, The Jungle Cruise has transformed into the tongue in cheek comedy based attraction that we know and love today. With jokes and comedic styles that would marry very well with the tone of the George of the Jungle movie. Disney Imagineering planned on adding aspects of the movie to the ride that would have included the hippos tearing part George’s luggage, and some of the animals wearing his clothes. The part that would have put the transformation over the top would have been a live-action gorilla (Ape, from the movie) at the end of the ride trying to “joke-scare” you.
A couple of things led to the retheming of The Jungle Cruise to a George of the Jungle ride experience being put on hold. The first was the overall success of the movie. Compared to The Flintstone remake the movie only made half the box office total. Secondly, was the pending release of Disney’s Tarzan. The animated movie was set to release two years later and Disney World did not want to distract from the release of the movie. Based on the projected timeline to change the attraction and the opening date of the ride would have been too close to the release of the movie.
Passholder Insights: During the holiday season at the Magic Kingdom The Jungle Cruise transforms into The Jingle Cruise.
We’re always up for more punny jokes! It would have been great to see additional comedic scenes added to the ride. However, in lieu of not getting a George of the Jungle version of The Jungle Cruise, we may see an updated version of the ride based on the new movie. We’re looking at you, Mr. Johnson. Or, should be less formal, Rock? Either way, we are left again wondering what-if?