in the Disney theme park
s, usually set in Adventureland
. Guests climb aboard African Queen
s piloted by a guide, who navigates the craft through the "jungle
" while delivering a pun
-filled commentary on the scenery
over his microphone. The boats sail past animatronic tableaux
s, and native
s. The Jungle Cruise pilots are rumored to have the wildest parties of any Disney park subculture
So a few years ago, my wife and I and another couple were visiting Disneyland together and we got on board the Jungle Cruise ride. Looking around, we realized that every other passenger on the boat was a Japanese tourist. As we set out on the river the pilot realized this too, and asked if anyone in the boat spoke English. Our party was the only one with raised hands.
Since there was nothing to do but go on with the show and hope for the best, the pilot gamely went ahead with his standard spiel. When we reached the first large animatronic scene in the tour, he delivered his scripted speech as usual. Then, jokingly, he offered his microphone to the Japanese man sitting closest to him.
To the pilot's (and our) amazement, the man matter-of-factly took the microphone and began delivering a spiel of his own, gesturing at the scene passing by. Our group and the pilot stared at each other in astonishment. The other Japanese tourists simply listened, nodding slightly as if this were very compelling stuff. When he was finished, the man gave the microphone back. They repeated this odd performance at every stop.
"This has definitely been the strangest trip I've ever made," the pilot said as we pulled into dock. Ours too.