THIS ONE TIME, AT MAGIC KINGDOM
Living in Orlando, Florida, you hear some ludicrous theme park stories from time to time. These include, but are definitely not limited to: wild sex acts on slow-boat rides in Disney, girls menstruating on roller coaster seats (it happens more than you’d think, really), tourists peeing on everything imaginable because they’re drunk and can’t find bathrooms at night – I’ve heard just about any crazy exploit you can possibly hear involving theme parks and crazies. And today, I heard a new story I’m going to share with you all, involving George Lucas riding the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Before I begin, let me just state that just because I’m explaining this story that I initially heard from a friend at a local comic book store, this could be somewhat falsified information that I was given. Either way, it’s pretty fucking hilarious and involves George Lucas getting his ass owned.
For those unfamiliar with the Jungle Cruise ride at Magic Kingdom, let me explain how it works. Folks (mostly old people who can’t handle boats that go more than 5 MPH) board a shitty riverboat that takes you through the major rivers of Asia, Africa, and South America. The ride’s pretty fucking old, so its ridden in 70’s animatronic snakes, tribal people, gators, and other animals you’d see in the scariest, mainly mosquito-infested places in the other continents. Except this is Disney, so every threatening animal is smiling or not moving because its 70s technology is broken.
Anyway, the people who drive the boats are called “skippers,” and they’re the ones who talk to you the entirety of the jungle cruise. They fake-steer the boat (it’s on a track and also Disney magic) down a river and point at certain animals and get the boat pumped up for what the fuck else is in Africa/Asia/South America.
The skips have certain lines they have to speak during specific parts of the ride, but older employees of the attraction occasionally adlib to entertain themselves, as well as riders, by adding their own wit and humor into the original script. Adlibbing is an especially a useful trait when the 30-something-year-old ride doesn’t work right and stops in place with all of its passengers looking at the skip for some comic relief, or an explanation of why they’re stuck in a goddamn a river in Africa surrounded by smiling alligators and tribal men who won’t stop dancing around a fire.
So one day, George Lucas goes onto this ride. Of course, the majority of the park guests (tourists) and team members (employees) know who he is, and that George Lucas is on a vacation in Orlando. If you’re the skipper on the boat George Lucas walks on, what would you say if your boat tour of the jungle suddenly broke down?
Well, apparently the friend I heard this story from knows the skip that was on that exact ride. The ride shut down during the tour George fucking Lucas was on. And when the ride shuts down, you kind of panic and you have to pretend like the boat was supposed to stop somewhere in the jungle for some odd reason, and it’s not because the ride is over 30 years old. So the guy starts telling jokes and the ride doesn’t start back up. He’s running out of ideas. Then he looks at George Lucas and goes, “So…who here worked on Howard the Duck?”
And George sat there, red-faced and angry and he mumbled a lot. And the ride started to move again.
Now mind you, I don’t actually know how genuine this story is, but it’s still a great one. And just imagining George Lucas sitting on a Disney ride, angry and ashamed of his past is kind of funny as well, considering the rich man is bathing in money from Star Wars, regardless of what an alien duck has to say.
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