Earning distinction as two of the world’s best Jungle Cruise skippers, Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members Beth Schafer and Alex Williams were recently chosen to represent the resort at Tokyo Disney Resort’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.
Emerging from their helm in the darkest wilds of the Magic Kingdom, Schafer and Williams earned their overseas excursion thanks to their knack for spinning humorous spiels and stories. They competed against 35 skippers to win their spots, auditioning in front of a panel of judges from Walt Disney World and Walt Disney Imagineering who scored them on performance and punch lines. In Anaheim, Jungle Cruise skippers Kevin Lively and Mickey Wright were chosen as representatives of the Disneyland Resort.
From Feb. 26 through March 6, a total of eight Jungle Cruise skippers from Disney Parks worldwide (Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort) participated in a unique dream opportunity commemorating Tokyo Disney’s milestone anniversary. The Jungle Cruise skipper dream was one of 25 dreams fulfilled for Cast Members by the Oriental Land Company (the Japanese company that owns and operates the resort). The unique request came from Kenichi Ito, a Jungle Cruise supervisor, who dreamt of a worldwide gathering of Jungle Cruise skippers at Tokyo Disneyland as an occasion to share best practices and, of course, best jokes.
Schafer and Williams enjoyed meeting other skippers from around the world to share a common bond. “This was a once in a lifetime experience,” said Williams. “It was incredible to see all these different cultures and different people brought together by such a unique and amazing attraction like the Jungle Cruise.” The visit included a two-day tour of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, a meet-and-greet with Tokyo skippers, and a chance to reenact their own Jungle Cruise spiel.
Since its debut at Disneyland in 1955, the Jungle Cruise attraction has entertained countless guests and remains a perennial favorite that has been replicated at Disney Parks worldwide. At Walt Disney World Resort since the park’s opening in 1971, the Jungle Cruise maintains its popularity due in part to the talented boat skippers who thrive on fun and adventure.