Who doesn’t love a parade? Who misses a fun parade when it is gone? Me! That’s who. Especially Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.
Back in 2003 was my first time watching this joyful parade. I had read about it in a planning book (yes, 16 years ago we used books to research things, plus the internet), and I knew it was something we should not miss during our first visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Little did I know that this parade would be one of my favorites that I now miss every time I visit Animal Kingdom.
The parade did not have traditional floats like other Disney parades. These were unique with the characters’ floats being pulled by Jeeps or trucks and many looked like they were taking all of their belongings on a safari. Each character vehicle had that character’s personality built into it.
Goofy’s was a mess, with golf clubs falling off the back and a smoking grill being pulled along the back. Minnie Mouse, of course, had polka dots, picnic baskets and some of her furniture, as well. Donald Duck’s looked like a duckboat with Donald in a row boat with paddles and towing a sailboat full of items you might need on a water expedition. Mickey’s was the only one that was just a platform with him waving from the top.
Then there were the stilt walkers, dancers, characters, and jungle animals. The animals looked like they were made out materials found in the jungle, like vines and leaves, giving them an organic feel. They were moved by Cast Members walking inside the animal, controlling them like puppets. It was so fun to watch the parade with it’s upbeat music, as the stilt walkers, walking characters and animal puppets would move from side to side freely down the parade route.
The only down side to Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade was that it basically shut down the pathway around Discovery Island. The parade started at the Tusker House Gate at Harambe Village and wound its way counter clockwise around Discovery Island as it returned to the Tusker House Gate. As you may know, the pathways in Animal Kingdom are narrower than most parks, which give you the feeling of being on a nature walk and not in a theme park. But, the up side to these narrow paths was that viewing was great for the parade! Rarely were people two-deep along the way, which allowed everyone to have a front row spot for the parade. There were a few places along the route that held more people, so those may have had a few rows of Guests, but nothing like the crowds at a Magic Kingdom parade.
We were also fortunate to watch this parade during the Holiday season when it was transformed into Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade with a holiday overlay. You can hear more about Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade on the WDW Radio Podcast #495 “Lost Parades of Walt Disney World”.
Sadly, Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade ended in 2014 as the park was getting ready for the Pandora – The World of Avatar expansion. It sure would be nice if Disney would add this 12 minute parade back into the entertainment schedule at Animal Kingdom.
Photos from the author’s personal collection.
To learn more about Vanessa and read her recent posts for the WDW Radio Blog, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.