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Walt Disney’s: Adventureland
Walt Disney's

Walt Disney’s: Adventureland

I enjoy collecting postcards that feature Adventureland… it’s one of the several themed lands at all Disney theme parks around the world. Original to the first park, Disneyland in California, this land is a fixture at every new park, and each park puts its own unique spin on it. Follow along as we travel to the land of Adventures.

Adventureland is one of the different “lands” you will find at the Walt Disney theme parks around the world. It was designed to look like the most remote jungles of Africa, South America, Asia, and the South Pacific islands. In fact, imagining himself in a place such as one of these, far from civilization, is how Walt Disney himself came up with the design for the original Adventureland at Disneyland in California.

This particular land is a snapshot in time of how Americans viewed the concept of “exotic adventure” in the 1950s. Lush flora that resembles jungle foliage surrounds the visitor, as well as items that were deemed “other” in those days, such as tribal masks, totem poles (not the North American kind), conga drums, statues of exotic animals, and examples of southern Pacific architecture. Uncharted nature is the rule here. Adventureland also capitalizes on the “tiki” craze of the post-WWII era.

Adventure Safari

Goofy, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, return with an elephant’s tusk as a memento of their safari through Disneyland’s Adventureland jungle.

The initial vision for Adventureland was one of real-life adventure and was supposed to be based on Walt Disney’s award-winning documentaries on nature in Asia and Africa. There were supposed to be real exotic animals in it in the original vision for the land. Those animals were going to live in a “jungle” river. Once the zoologists hired for this project told Walt that the real animals would hide or just laze around, Walt had Disney’s Imagineers build animatronic animals for the land.

The Jungle Cruise ride was the big attraction of the original Adventureland, and the reason most visitors came to the land. Years after opening, the Swiss Family Treehouse supplanted the Jungle Cruise as Adventureland’s premier attraction. The Enchanted Tiki Room was added near the entry bridge to Adventureland and was made possible thanks to enhancements in audio-animatronic technology. Oceanic Arts made a series of tribal masks for Adventureland that line the entry bridge.

Adventureland was expanded many years later, and the expansion gave room for the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction to be added to the land. This addition gave Adventureland an upgrade from a late 1800s colonial jungle theme to a 1930’s America theme. A DJ named Albert Awol even plays 1930s-era big band music in Adventureland now. A further upgrade was made in 1999 when the Swiss Family Treehouse was made into Tarzan’s Treehouse. Since 2008, Adventureland has remained the same, including the annual summer event, Indiana Jones Summer of Hidden Mysteries.

Jungle Adventure Ahead

Leaving the Adventureland Dock – a jungle riverboat heads out on an exciting journey down the “Tropical Rivers of the World” into a panorama of jungle wonders in Disneyland.

At Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Adventureland is much the same as at Disneyland in California, with a few unique differences of its own. It has two sub-areas, for instance. One is the Arabian Village, and the other is the Caribbean Plaza, which is where the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is located. The Swiss Family Treehouse is still Swiss, and the Enchanted Tiki Room is still there. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride was unique to the Adventureland at Walt Disney World until the opening of Tokyo Disney and Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris.

The Adventureland at Tokyo Disneyland is a mix of the different Adventureland designs at the different Disney parks. It also has its own unique ride — the Western River Railroad. There is also a different version of the Enchanted Tiki Room, without the Disney tag and with a more Hawaiian motif than other Enchanted Tiki Rooms. This Adventureland also boasts a New Orleans Square.

Adventure Art

Silent and mysterious, this Indo-Chinese temple guards its secrets well as the tropical river of Adventureland flows at a lazy pace, and jungle “animals” lurk silently for unwary prey.

The Adventureland at the European Disney park is in the location of Frontierland at other parks (and vice-versa for Frontierland). There are heavier Indian and Moroccan influences than at other Adventurelands, as well. There are four sub-areas in this Adventureland, each with its own theme. They are:

Adventureland Bazar — A recreation of a city from 1001 Arabian Nights. Most people assume it is Agrabah from the Aladdin movie, though it is never stated outright. Imagineers were designing this Adventureland while the original Aladdin cartoon was being made.

Africa — This area is African in appearance, and mostly just has shops and restaurants, including the Hakuna Matata Restaurant.

Asia — This area shows off mysterious Asian jungles, and includes the Indiana Jones et le Temple du Peril roller coaster.

The Caribbean — This is the biggest sub-area at this particular Adventureland. It includes the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Adventure Island, the Swiss Family Treehouse, and Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship.

This Adventureland does not have a Jungle Cruise ride, because of the issue of growing tropical plants in an area where the weather can be freezing cold, especially in the winters. There is also no Enchanted Tiki Room here.

Hong Kong Disneyland’s Adventureland is the biggest of all the ones at the different Disney parks. It includes a large island where Tarzan’s Treehouse is located, and the island itself is circled by the Jungle Cruise. It has its own unique attraction in the Festival of the Lion King show.

The Adventureland at Shanghai Disneyland Park is called Adventure Isle but is almost just like the other Adventurelands. There is no Jungle Cruise ride there. Instead, there is a ropes course that is called Camp Discovery. There is also a dinosaur-themed rapids ride called Roaring Rapids and Soaring Over the Horizon.

This Adventureland includes its own unique land-wide story. As the story made especially for it goes, Adventure Isle was discovered by the League of Adventurers, who found it when their airplane went off course in the 1930s. The explorers befriended the indigenous Arbori tribe, and have been on the island studying the island and the Arboriculture ever since.

Each attraction at Adventure Isle is tied to a Guardian Animal in the Arbori mythology. The Roaring Rapids is the home of the giant crocodile Guardian of the Water, for example. Soaring over the Horizon is the realm of the condor spirit of the air, and Camp Discovery is in the kingdom of the fanged cat Guardian of the Earth.

About the author

Will Moneymaker

I enjoy collecting postcards as a way to inspire my own adventures. Over the years, I’ve found them incredibly valuable in sharing memories — places I've been and places my loved ones have sent cards from.