Disney History: Adventureland Then & Now

Adventure is calling! Nestled among the foliage, a land that is part Middle East, part Caribbean, part Jungles of the World has been delighting guests for nearly 40 years. The landscape has changed a bit over time, but the sense of adventure remains intact.

Adventureland Then & NowAdventureland Then & Now

When Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, three attractions welcomed guests in Adventureland. Jungle Cruise, Swiss Family Tree House, and Tropical Serenade were all replicated from Disneyland at the new East Coast park location. Jungle Cruise and Swiss Family Tree House have remained nearly identical to their opening day versions. The only notable change was that the real revolver that Jungle Cruise skippers used to fire to ward off danger during the ride has been replaced with a safer prop gun.

Slide all the way forward now... That's the only way we have of keeping the cushions clean!Slide all the way forward now... That's the only way we have of keeping the cushions clean!

Tropical Serenade, on the other hand, has undergone many changes throughout its life. This Disneyland original was created to be a restaurant in which animatronic birds, a technological marvel at the time, would serenade guests in a restaurant setting. By the time the attraction opened at Walt Disney World, the restaurant concept had been abandoned and the attraction was soon renamed "The Enchanted Tiki Room." In 1997, the attraction underwent a name and story change again, presenting as "The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management." The new story line included the addition of Iago and Zazu and was not exactly met with critical acclaim. Fortunately for fans of the original, a small fire in 2011 irreparably damaged the Iago animatronic, prompting Disney to restore the attraction to its original form. It continues to operate today much as the original that debuted at Disneyland in 1963.

Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki RoomWalt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

Two completely new attractions have been added to Adventureland since opening day. An abbreviated version of Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, which had opened in 1967, was brought to Walt Disney World for Christmas of 1973. Since the attractions opened, it has survived a number of changes that have softened the original storyline. One of the most notable "improvements" is that in the chase scene, the women now chase the men with pitchforks instead of the original version where the pirates chased the women. This prompted Disney Legend X. Atencio to dub the attraction "Boy Scouts of the Caribbean." Following the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean films that are based off of the popular attraction, characters from the movies were added in an effort to make the experience more relevant for younger guests.

We Wants the RedheadWe Wants the Redhead

The most recent addition to Adventureland is the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, which opened in 2001. While the ride, itself, is basically an Aladdin-skinned Dumbo, the ride brought with it a new welcoming committee in the form of a water-spitting camel. Although the attractions of Adventureland have remained static for more than a decade, shopping and dining enhancements, including the recent swap of Sunshine Tree Terrace and Aloha Isle, and a rumored new restaurant continue to keep Adventureland fresh and exciting.

What's your favorite Adventureland attraction? Leave a comment and let us know!

A big thanks goes out to Guest Author Holly L. for sharing a little bit of her time in Walt Disney World with us. If you'd like to read more about Holly's trip, you can find her sharing her adventures on our member forum.

Melissa W. wrote on Wed, 06/10/2015 - 12:59:

I love learning about the history! My favorite attraction is POTC followed by the Jungle Cruise.

dheaton wrote on Wed, 06/10/2015 - 14:51:

dheaton's picture

My favorite is definitely the Tiki Room now that it's closer to the original show. Pirates is close, but it seems less thrilling after I rode the superior version in Disneyland. I like Adventureland but still think the Flying Carpets have made it too cramped. Still, it's hard to complain too much.

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