A ride that’s been a beloved part of Disneyland since the 1950s will be given a radical makeover following accusations of racism. Picture: iStock
A ride that’s been a beloved part of Disneyland since the 1950s will be given a radical makeover following accusations of racism. Picture: iStock

Disney to redesign ‘horrifyingly racist’ ride

Disney will update a popular ride that's been at its parks for decades following accusations of racism against "natives".

The entertainment giant said the Jungle Cruise ride will be designed both at Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California to remove "negative depictions" of Indigenous peoples.

The original Jungle Cruise ride first opened at Disneyland in 1955, and has long been criticised as racially insensitive.

The Orange County Register reports that Disney Imagineers will update the aquatic attraction's scenes involving shrunken head dealer Trader Sam, and a rhino chasing a safari tour group up a tree.

Disney is reimagining its popular Jungle Cruise ride. Picture: Disney Parks
Disney is reimagining its popular Jungle Cruise ride. Picture: Disney Parks

According to the Los Angeles Times, Trader Sam is a "dark-skinned man today outfitted in straw tribal wear" who beckons that he'll trade "two of his heads for one of yours".

The Trader Sam scene was described as "horrifyingly racist" in a blog post last year by LA-based design and production company Thinkwell.

Meanwhile, a rhinoceros scene in the ride features a white traveller atop a tree trunk as "native safari guides" cling "in a more perilous position".

Moving forward, a rendering for the new rhino scene "solely features hapless participants of a previous Jungle Cruise boat tour," the LA Times reports.

This illustrated scene will replace one of the ride’s most criticised features. Picture: Disney Parks Blog
This illustrated scene will replace one of the ride’s most criticised features. Picture: Disney Parks Blog

Another new scene in the works will feature monkeys on a sinking boat, according to an illustration shared by the Disney Parks Blog.

Chris Beatty, the Walt Disney Imagineering creative portfolio executive, explained the changes to the ride in a new interview with D23, the official Disney fan club.

"We are constantly evaluating ways to enhance attractions and experiences in our parks. And when (guests) get off the attraction, they know that we have done our homework because these are the details that matter," he said.

"When you look at the Jungle Cruise, as it is today, there are just a couple of scenes that don't do that and needed a refresh … It's the Jungle Cruise you know and love, with the skippers still leading the way, and at the same time, we're addressing the negative depictions of 'natives'."

The Jungle Cruise ride first launched at Disneyland in 1955. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
The Jungle Cruise ride first launched at Disneyland in 1955. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Carmen Smith, executive of creative development and inclusion strategist for Walt Disney Imagineering, emphasised the importance of inclusivity across the theme park brand today.

"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," Ms Smith said in a statement shared by the park's blog.

When reached by Fox News, a spokesperson for Disney declined to offer further comment.

Last year the company was praised for recasting its Splash Mountain ride - an attraction criticised for its connection to the 1946 film Song of the South - with a new The Princess and the Frog theme, based on the 2009 animated Disney film featuring a Black female lead.

Disney’s films and park rides have long attracted accusations of cultural insensitivity. Picture: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort
Disney’s films and park rides have long attracted accusations of cultural insensitivity. Picture: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

It's among other initiatives Disney appears to be taking as it reckons with accusations of racism.

Its streaming network Disney Plus has blocked children aged seven and under from watching the popular films Peter Pan, Dumbo and The Aristocats after they were accused of breaching content advisories for scenes of racial profiling.

The movies will no longer appear in the kids' section of the app but can still be watched on adult profiles, where they come with a content advisory warning informing viewers they contain "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures."

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as Disney to redesign 'horrifyingly racist' ride

An illustration published by Disney Parks Blog of a new scene in the works at the Jungle Cruise ride. Picture: Disney Parks Blog
An illustration published by Disney Parks Blog of a new scene in the works at the Jungle Cruise ride. Picture: Disney Parks Blog


'Life changes overnight': Farmer’s $1.5m storm loss

Premium Content 'Life changes overnight': Farmer’s $1.5m storm loss

An emotional farmer says he has no choice but to start again after a rain 'tsunami'...

Daily Catch-Up: March 6, 2021

Premium Content Daily Catch-Up: March 6, 2021

Today's local weather, funeral, and other notices in one place.

Broken bones and maggots: Nan’s horror death in aged care

Premium Content Broken bones and maggots: Nan’s horror death in aged care

She died with maggot-infested bed sores from negligent nursing home