- Disney World has started changing racially insensitive scenes in its Jungle Cruise ride.
- The Trader Sam character was removed as of Monday morning, according to WDW News Today.
- Disney does not currently have plans to change its Trader Sam’s bars at Disney World and Disneyland.
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Renovations have reportedly begun on the classic “Jungle Cruise” ride at Disney World.
WDW News Today reported on Monday that the Trader Sam character had been removed from the boat ride in Magic Kingdom. The character – a salesman of shrunken heads who stands shirtless with an umbrella at the end of the ride – has long been criticized by Disney fans as a negative representation of native people.
According to WDWNT, the Disney employee leading the ride, also known as a Jungle Cruise Skipper, did not acknowledge Trader Sam’s absence.
The Trader Sam character is also well known for its namesake bars at Disney World and Disneyland. At the time of writing, Disney does not have plans to re-theme either location.
Renovations will continue at the Orlando, Florida, ride while it remains open for parkgoers.
As Disney Imagineer Zach Ridley shared on Instagram this weekend, Disney World visitors “may start to notice some monkey business along the river as work begins on Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom.”
“The good news for all of you visiting @waltdisneyworld is the attraction will remain open to guests while our teams update scenes in a phased approach over the next several months,” he wrote. “We can’t wait to share the enhancements with our guests as we build on the story of the Jungle Cruise at both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park.”
He also included concept art of one of the ride’s new scenes, which will feature chimpanzees trying to catch butterflies.
A post shared by Zach Riddley (@thezachriddley)
Disney, on the other hand, has released descriptions of six new characters that will be added to the Jungle Cruise ride.
The new characters and scenes, according to a January post on the Disney Parks Blog, will help the ride “stay true to the experience we know and love,” while also reflecting and valuing “the diversity of the world around us.”
Chris Beatty, Walt Disney Imagineering’s Creative Portfolio Executive, previously discussed the changes with Disney’s D23 fan club, noting that the company felt it was time to “refresh” the attractions and address “negative depictions” of native peoples throughout the rides.
“We want to make sure everybody has the best time – that guests from all over the world can connect with the stories we share and that how we bring those to life are respectful of the diverse world we live in,” Beatty told D23. “And when they get off the attraction, they know that we have done our homework because these are the details that matter.”
Representatives for Disney World did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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