Yesterland Hotel

Safari Adventure

The other Jungle Cruise
Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel


Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

The Jungle Cruise boats of Yesterland, with their candy-striped canopies

The Jungle Cruise is one of the best-known attractions of the park. Guests travel along the jungle rivers of Asia and Africa in explorer launches with white hulls and striped canopies. The boat’s skipper narrates the tour, showing off such landmarks as “Schweitzer Falls, named after the famous humanitarian, Dr. Albert… Falls.” As the boat returns to the dock, the skipper warns guests they are “now coming to the most dangerous part of the journey—the return to civilization and California freeways.”

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Striped canopy boat at the Yesterland Hotel

There’s another Jungle Cruise nearby. It’s Safari Adventure over at the Yesterland Hotel—where you can be the skipper! That means you get to steer the boat. And, if you like, you can even make up your own corny narration.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

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Unlike the Jungle Cruise over at the park, Safari Adventure doesn’t run on a track. And the water is clean and clear, unlike the park’s murky jungle rivers.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Volunteer fire department elephant

Safari Adventure has animals too, although not nearly as many as the better-known Jungle Cruise.

As you successfully guide your boat past the loading dock, an empty boat in a nearby slip catches fire. The good news is that there’s a barge with volunteer firefighters nearby—including a helpful elephant who promptly extinguishes the blaze by squirting water from his trunk.

You won’t see that on the regular Jungle Cruise.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Diswaytada Falls (“Enter at your own risk”)

Instead of Schweitzer Falls, Safari Adventure has Diswaytada Falls. It takes skill to steer your boat behind the falls. Be sure to tell your passengers that they’re seeing the “amazing, stupendous backside of water.” Add a few more adjectives to “backside of water” if you wish.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Angry gorilla on the rope bridge

A rope suspension bridge connects the top of a rocky island to the top of Diswaytada Falls. As you carefully guide your boat behind Diswaytada Falls, an explorer on the bridge yells, “Hey, stop that!” That’s because a gorilla on the bridge will be upset with you.

You pilot your boat behind the falls anyway. Oh no! You’ve made the gorilla angry. He’s shaking the suspension bridge violently. The explorer is thrown off the bridge.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Forbidden Tunnel

There’s another event you can trigger. The rocky island that serves as one end of the suspension bridge has a tunnel through it. A sign above the tunnel reads “BEWARE!” You decide to ignore the sign and take the short cut through the tunnel. While your boat is inside, there’s lightning and an explosion; smoke billows out; your passengers scream.

Oh no! Did your boat blow up? No. Your boat emerges unscathed, ready to trigger the events again and again if choose to.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Safari Adventure lagoon adjacent to the Lost Bar.

By now, you’ve undoubtedly figured out that the Safari Adventure boats at the hotel are much smaller than the Jungle Cruise boats at the park. Safari Adventure is a remote-control attraction located near the center of the rectangle formed by the hotel’s three towers and its convention center.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Boat in the Safari Adventure lagoon

Just as at the Jungle Cruise, each boat has its own name, but the names are different. Look for Bambari Bob, Great Ruaha Hideo, Katonga Kristin, Kinshasa Kathi, Kwango Joe, Limpopo Lizzie, Lulua Laura, Sehithwa Hutch, and others.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Remote control stations

Each boat has a large number above the boat’s name. The number corresponds to one of the token-operated, remote-control pilot stations. One token is $2. Or you can get four tokens for $5. The best value is the “Super Special,” which provides ten tokens for just $10.

Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Boats huddled together

When you pick a remote control station, look for one that controls a boat that’s not blocked by other boats. Don’t be concerned if an interactive element doesn’t work properly. The real fun is piloting your boat all around the lagoon and avoiding (or running into) other boats.

As you make up a corny narration for your passengers, don’t be upset if your passengers don’t laugh. The passengers at the real Jungle Cruise don’t laugh out loud either—even though they’re having a good time.


Safari Adventure opened in 1999 at the Disneyland Hotel.

1999 was significant year in the evolution of the hotel. The Walt Disney Company, which had acquired the Disneyland Hotel in 1988, demolished the hotel’s original buildings and pools from the 1950s in 1999 to clear land that would become part of Downtown Disney. That meant the hotel needed a new main pool. The former Marina became the site of the Never Land Pool, which opened in July 1999. The Lost Bar and Safari Adventure opened in December 1999.

Safari Adventure was designed and built by Thola Productions of Laguna Hills, California. With its attention to detail and its clever interactive events, Safari Adventure had true Disney quality. Remote-control tour boats, tug boats, and hovercraft from Thola can also be found at other parks, including Knott’s Berry Farm and LEGOLAND California.

Thola Productions’ involvement with the Disneyland Hotel began back in 1984, when Disney Legend Jack Wrather was still alive and his company still owned the hotel. Thola’s first remote-control tugboat attraction anywhere, Queen’s Berth, featured 22 remote-control tugboat, islands with interactive events, and a scale model of the Wrather-operated (and later Disney-operated) Queen Mary as its centerpiece.

Over the years, Safari Adventure lost some of its miniature people, and the events did not always function properly. But it remained fun to play and fun to watch.

Former Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel

Safari Adventure a few days after being closed permanently (photo: August 4, 2010)

As part of the largest renovation of the Disneyland Hotel ever, Safari Adventure ended operations permanently July 31, 2010. Hook’s Pointe restaurant and the Wine Cellar had already been given the hook on July 25. The Video Arcade was unplugged on July 30. The Lost Bar and Croc’s Bits and Bites snapped shut forever on August 1, 2010.

In 2011, Tangaroa Terrace and Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar opened as the new eating and drinking spots adjacent to the old site of Safari Adventure. New pools, water slides, sun decks, and lawns replaced their counterparts from 1999, as well as erasing remnants of older enhancements to the hotel.

You can still operate remote-controlled, miniature Jungle Cruise boats on Disney property. You can walk a few hundred yards from the old Safari Adventure site to Mayan Adventure, located in Downtown Disney adjacent to the Rainforest Cafe. Mayan Adventure does not have little people or boats with candy-striped canopies.


Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove

Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove

Although this article about Safari Adventure at the Disneyland Hotel deals with a different time period, anyone who is interested in the rich history of the Disneyland Hotel should consider Don Ballard’s 2011 book, Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959: The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove, with more rare photos and new research about the early years of the Disneyland Hotel.

For more about this book, including ordering information—or just to enjoy historic photos of the Disneyland Hotel online—visit www.MagicalHotel.com.


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© 2012 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated October 14, 2012.

Photo of Safari Adventure sign: 2010 by Chris Bales.
Photo of Disneyland Jungle Cruise: 1974 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Safari Adventure boat with yellow striped canopy: 2010 by Chris Bales.
Photo of Safari Adventure dock: 2010 by Chris Bales.
Photo of Safari Adventure elephant: 2010 by Chris Bales.
Photo of Safari Adventure Diswaytada Falls: 2010 by Chris Bales.
Photo of Safari Adventure gorilla: 2010 by Chris Bales.
Photo of Safari Adventure island with tunnel: 2009 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Safari Adventure and Lost Bar: 2009 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of boats in Safari Adventure lagoon: 2010 by Chris Bales.
Photo of Safari Adventure remote-control wheels: 2009 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Safari Adventure boats bunched together: 2009 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Safari Adventure after being closed: 2010 by Werner Weiss.
Book cover courtesy of Don Ballard.