Greetings…You may call me Keeper…for I am the keeper of theme park tales. I just came back to our shores from a cruise that made itself available at the last minute to me. A holiday adventure that left from a dock in the port of Adventureland. That’s right, your pal Keeper ventured out to the Magic Kingdom to experience the new holiday themed Jingle Cruise.
I must admit I did something an open-minded spinner of tales should never do. I had my review already written in my mind…and it wasn’t good. I was going to lay into the Mouse House like I never did before. How could they do this to the Florida park-goers? They deny us the Haunted Mansion holiday for years, ditto Small World. If that’s not bad enough they actually TAKE AWAY the Country Bears Christmas show. Then they offer up an overlay that happens overnight without even taking the attraction down.
Pfft, boy that’s gonna be great!! A big ole lump of coal in our Christmas stocking while our siblings in Anaheim get all the big sparkly gifts. I did stop short of watching the ride-thru videos, but I did read the feedback on the forums, and it just confirmed what I already knew.
What I was sure of from the moment it was announced. Riding it was just a formality but my opinion was already made before wandered thru the que. I scoffed at the cheesy decorations that had been added to the dock, the office, the boats. I thanked Zeus that I only waited 5 minutes for this theme park equivalent of a train wreck.
Then an odd thing happened, let’s call it a Christmas miracle…I liked it. Go figure. I’ve been trying to understand why ever since. It was all I thought it would be, it was everything the prior reviews said it was…yet I liked it…I liked it a lot. In analyzing I realized that I ignored my first rule of theme park attractions, the lesson I harp on you my friends, over and over and over. You know the one-say it with me, “story, story, story.”
Let’s analyze the Jungle Cruise:
- Basic jungle boat ride…first generation audio animatronics, nothing in it that anyone beyond 6 years old would mistake as real. But what does it have…the skippers.
- The skippers spinning their yarn to the gullible travelers.
- Working the spiel…telling the tale. Making even the jokes in the script better than they are, rising above the material to make an otherwise Six Flags quality ride into an ATTRACTION.
The attraction lives or dies on what skipper you get and how well they tell the story. In Jingle Cruise the jokes are just as good (or bad depending on your perspective) as the Jungle Cruise jokes. That my friends explains the mystery of why I liked something unlikable its theme park 101 right in front of our eyes if we only look and learn from the lesson…. story, story, story.
So don’t listen to the scrooges of the world. Book a passage with the skippers for the holidays and you just may find that your journey will be a merrier one than you might expect.
Make sure you hang around a little bit, there will be more Jingle Cruise soon. Be sure to follow along on Twitter @BehindThrills for all the latest tales.
Every Day’s An Adventure