Just a few days ago, Disney announced that Walt Disney World would being renovating the beloved Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise attraction. What makes this reimagining particularly interesting is that the attraction will remain open to guests throughout the first phase of the makeover. This is far from standard practice and may lead to some unsettling revelations before fans have a chance to take in the new rendition in its entirety and adapt accordingly. Such as the whereabouts of Trader Sam!

Trader Sam is MIA

You remember Trader Sam, don’t you? Trader Sam is the jungle’s “head” salesman who lurks throughout the last leg of your journey through the jungle. He offers you a real deal, two heads for one of yours! Well, as of today, Sam has been removed, both physically and from the attraction script. Who knows, maybe Sam got himself into some trouble and is now on the lam. However, this getaway seems to have been planned, as he managed to take his head, umbrella, and lantern with him. My assumption is that we have seen the last of Trader Sam.

Why Is Trader Sam Gone?

While there is a chance that the animatronic was simply shipped off to the shop for a little tune-up, it is highly unlikely. The Jungle Cruise’s reimagining is one of Disney’s initiatives to promote diversity and remove cultural insensitivity from the theme parks.

The Jungle Cruise Update

This updated version of the Walt Disney World opening day attraction will contain new characters, scenes, and a “cohesive storyline” that will “bring more humour, wildlife and skipper heart.” Some of the new explorers to be on the lookout for as you journey through the wild are:

  • Alberta Falls, founded the Jungle Navigation Company). Her mother, Sneh, was a world-renowned artist from India, and her British father, Albert Falls Jr., was an art scholar.
  • Felix Pechman XIII, Jungle Navigation Company Ltd. Skipper
  • Dr. Leonard Moss, Acclaimed Canadian Botanist –
  • Rosa Soto Dominguez, Celebrated Mexican Artist
  • Dr. Kon Chunosuke, S.E.A. Member and Japan’s Preeminent Entomologist
  • Siobhan “Puffin” Murphy

If you were hoping to see Dwayne Johnson’s name on the list above, you’ll have to keep waiting! Interestingly enough, the Jungle Cruise makeover will not include any connections to the upcoming Jungle Cruise film. This comes as a big surprise and relief to those who are anti-intellectual property making its way into the parks.

When Can We Experience The New Jungle Cruise

As for when we can expect the completed version of the refurbishment, various sources have speculated that the new edition will be completed in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, The World’s Most Magical Celebration.

What About Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar?

Part bar, park attraction – Trader Sam’s (on both coasts) is a watering hole is cluttered with whimsical tiki regalia! You can pretty much count on this quaint little fan-favourite to always have a waiting list and a bar full of cheery patrons. But given the disappearance of the Trader Sam animatronic, we couldn’t help but wonder if change may be coming around the corner to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Thankfully, Walt Disney Imagineers Susana Tubert and Kevin Lively have put an end to the rumours by dishing the dirt! Tubert  confirmed that there are no changes currently planned for either tiki bar, claiming “As far as Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland Resort and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Walt Disney World Resort, no plans are on the way to update them currently.”

Fun Facts

While researching this article, we came across some fun Trader Sam fun facts worth sharing! Don’t worry, they don’t get too heady.

  • According to The Disney Wiki, Trader Sam is believed to be a man of Jivoroan culture/ethnicity given his head-shrinking and location in the Amazon rainforest portion of the ride.
  • Sam and Jock Lindsey have a lot in common, as they are both barkeepers affiliated with Indiana Jones and the Adventurers Club.
  • Sam is similar to Peco Bill who through the Tall Tale Inn appears to be a long-lived barkeeper affiliated with a myriad of Disney characters in the S.E.A. mythos.
  • Trader Sam may be an LGBTQ+ individual as there are photographs of women whom he was romantically involved with along with one, “Cap’n Kevin” who is a man implied to have been his past boyfriend.
  • Sam has been connected to the stories, locations and characters of many Disney Parks titles.

Do you think Trader Sam is gone for good? Do you think any chance is to come to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort?