Two Jungle Cruise skippers from California’s Disneyland Resort, Kevin Lively and Mickey Wright, set sail recently for Tokyo, where they joined other lucky Jungle Cruise skippers from Disney Parks around the world.
In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Tokyo Disney Resort, the Oriental Land Company, which owns and operates the resort, granted local Jungle Cruise supervisor Kenichi Ito his wish to bring Jungle Cruise skippers from around the world to Tokyo and try out their best material.
Since the original attraction debuted at Disneyland in 1955, the skipper role has always been one of interaction and fun, telling the story of the Jungle Cruise through silly banter with the guests aboard, and some skippers have become minor celebrities in the process.
Lively and Wright competed against 60 other Jungle Cruise skippers in Tokyo, where they spieled in front of a panel of judges including chief creative officer of Pixar Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios John Lasseter, who once served as a Jungle Cruise skipper himself, and executive vice-president and Walt Disney Imagineering ambassador Marty Sklar.
“All the skippers were terrific, every single one,” said Sklar. “They were all able to use their own unique style during their performances to make the jokes funny every time. We had a tough time deciding the winners.”
Pictured above: Jungle Cruise skippers Mickey Wright and Kevin Lively get ready for the trip to Tokyo