Two Jungle Cruise skippers from the Disneyland Resort, Kevin Lively and Mickey Wright, set sail Friday for Tokyo, where they will join other lucky Jungle Cruise skippers from Disney Parks around the world to take part in a unique opportunity.
In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Tokyo Disney Resort, the Oriental Land Company, which owns and operates the resort, granted a unique dream wish to Jungle Cruise supervisor, Kenichi Ito. Ito's dream was to bring to the Tokyo Disney Resort Disney Jungle Cruise skippers from around the world who delivered the best spiels -- providing this select group of skippers with an opportunity to share best practices and, of course, their best Jungle Cruise material.
Lively and Wright competed against 60 other Jungle Cruise skippers, where they practiced their very best material in front of an esteemed panel of "celebrity judges." Judges included Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios John Lasseter, who once served as a Jungle Cruise skipper, and Exec VP and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar.
"All the skippers were terrific, every single one," said Sklar. "They were all able to use their own unique style during their performances to make the jokes funny every time. We had a tough time deciding the winners."
Since the attraction debuted at Disneyland in 1955, the skipper role has always been one of interaction and fun, telling the story of the Jungle Cruise through silly banter with the guests aboard.
The event, which is being paid for by the Oriental Land Company, takes place Feb. 27 through March 6, and will include a two-day tour of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Skippers also will go through training on the Tokyo Jungle Cruise attraction and have the opportunity to present their winning spiels to fellow Jungle Cruise skippers.