It's possible that you have already heard about the recent news of a Jungle Cruise Boat sinking at Disney World yesterday, the 28th of February. But, did you know that this isn't the first time it's happened? Let's discuss both of these incidents, the reasons behind them, and how they unfolded.

The First Time a Jungle Cruise Boat Sank

On a summer’s day in the year 1996, everything was going according to plan on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland Park in California. Then, all of a sudden, one of the boats, full of passengers, derailed from its track.

There are about two spots on the track where this is more likely to happen. The boats are occasionally supposed to come off that track and onto another one to drive into the maintenance station. If you are looking for one of these spots, and where this likely happened this first time, look no further than the backside of water. Well, just after you pass that waterfall actually. Look to the left to see a rock with what looks like a rhino skull on top. Inside his eye is a light. The would-be-eyehole of the animal is lit to let skippers know whether the switch has been thrown for normal operation or if the other track is open for boats to go into boat storage. When you see that rock, you are in a spot where the boat is more likely to sink. Although, we promise it is extremely rare.

Anyway, on one of these spots of the ride, the track system malfunctioned and the boat derailed. The boat started taking on water. The water was only about four feet deep in this area and all guests were evacuated safely without injury. Needless to say though, some guests were upset. However, most were pretty excited to have a cool story to tell.

Unfortunately, since this happened in 1996, there is not much documentation on this incident – besides the stories from people who were there.

It sinks, again

On the morning of February 27, 2020, passengers of the Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World were in for a surprise. All we really know is that the boat started filling up with water. Shortly after that, all the guests were safely evacuated.

While it is unclear how it happened this time, it is safe to assume it was something along the lines of what happened 24 years ago at Disneyland. The boat likely derailed in a minor malfunction in an area where the tracks might change occasionally.

Fortunately, for those of us who are curious, we live in the age of phone cameras and social media. So we have tons of documentation of this insane moment in Walt Disney World history. There are pictures of the boat half-submerged, videos of guests being evacuated from the boat put to “My Heart Will Go On” (a la Titanic) in the background, and photos of guests with their feet underwater.

While this has happened at least twice now, if there is something that we can learn from these instances, it is that Disney cast members know how to handle every situation. These accidents are rare, but even when they do happen, Disney Park cast members have proven to be amazing at their jobs. Each guest, in both situations, was safely evacuated. I believe they were also given free, dry clothes. And as far as we know, there were no injuries.