Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sailing Through Sundays on The JC: The Loading Zone

Today’s post shows the dock area, where the excitement builds as you board your boat; which will it be, the Amazon Belle? The Congo Queen? TECH SKIP: WOW... nice shot of The Tahitian Terrace and the dock. Again…waaaay before my time.USC TUBA: It looks like a baby Jungle. No Boat House, and no shipping office for skippers to lean on. AMAZON BELLE: It’s hard to tell from this angle but it appears that there was only one way into the boats back in ’55 and that was from the front of the boat. Today there are two load position front and rear. Front Load seats the dock side and the center; Rear Load seats the water side. The Rear Load line always moves faster. Front Load requires the loader and the skipper to tell Guests where to sit…and the Guests are too dang excited to listen to anyone once the boat arrives…so chaos ensues. Points of interest include the placement of the doorway seat cushion (right there on the bow of the boat—I guess the racks weren’t welded on yet). The skipper is looking down, probably loading his gun, something that was required by the SOP of 1986 to be completed between the unload and load positions. The bow of the boat holds the flag of the country where the river source name of your boat originated (or flowed through). For a good example of this look at September 20, 2007 “The JC Dock” second photo and you will see the flag of Egypt there on the bow of the Nile Princess. “No Man’s Land” (the area between Unload and Load) is blocked off by a picket fence. In case you were wondering what we did once we completed loading our gun…we would pose for photos. For a good example of this see the last photo of the same September 20 post. Looking good Kevin!

TECH SKIP: If you look on the right you notice just how "little" the jungle was. Amazing what 50 years worth of growth has done.USC TUBA: Seriously...who picked white pants after Labor Day? AMAZON BELLE: Front Load – Looking Dangerous: When the crowds were light, we would use the rear load only. The SOP required us to load the dock side of the boat first so that people sitting down would keep the boat leaning in towards the dock, thus making the gap between the boat and dock null and void; but from time to time there would be large parties and to accommodate, one loader may request the entire boat. If the party was loading from the front then we had to request that Guests walk along the dock side first around the engine, and then all the way up to the front of the boat before sitting down. This was the only way to keep the weight in the boat evenly distributed so it wouldn’t lean too far away from the dock. In this photo you can see the kids are a little apprehensive to make the leap from the dock to the boat. The worst is having a child fall in…I know. My lead made me walk the child over to first aid (where the nurse and dryers are located)… with the parents sneering at me the whole time. So, to prevent the boat leaning away we came up with some clever lines. I’ll give you the first one and you feel free to jump in. “Please stay on the dock side. That is the side of the boat named after that famous doctor, ‘Doc Side.’ Doc Side had a wife name Sue. ‘Sue A. Side.’”

TECH SKIP: In 50 years the art of boat loading hasn't changed! Also if you look behind the Queen you can see one of the old huts... really wish they would dress up that area; pretty sad these days. USC TUBA: Unfortunately, no one told Erik it was formal dress day at Disneyland. AMAZON BELLE: Front Load Moron: “We call that guy a moron (pause) because he keeps loading more and more on.” Well here we are, still, at Front Load (are we ever going to leave the dock!), but you can see the park is changing. The photo above shows a rope to keep Guests from wandering into No Man’s Land. And this photo shows the start of the railings that would separate Front from Rear Load. These railings reminded me of a cattle shoot and were great for keeping Guests from wandering around the dock. But the Guests would also speed up and “stampede” once they saw a boat arrive. It was a funny thing. It’s my belief that Guests didn’t believe the boats had a capacity; therefore, once they saw it arrive at the dock they figured it was for them…even though they were 500 people deep in the line. The capacity of the boats was approximately 35. Points of interest are the ever changing costumes (just look over these last few posts). The Wardrobe issued Huarache sandals (which I’m sure hurt like hell when Guests stepped on his toes), black sash, and cool straw hat (probably from the Guatemalan Weaver). Most important to note is the eye contact and warm smile. He is buying everything Van France and team was selling in training and that is what continues to set Disney apart!!

Kevin Kidney has sent some more way cool material, beginning with a few more 1954 model shots:

Kevin also sent a pic of an article from THIS WEEK Magazine, dated November 3, 1963. Now how cool would that be to have your pic taken in the midst of the Jungle Cruise and its animals? Talk about Year of a Million Dreams!

Any other skippers that would like to contribute material can email me at thanks to Kevin and the other skippers for supplying so much cool material! See more vintage (and current) Jungle Cruise photos on my regular website.


Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, that lucky kid got to swim in the river and play with the hippos and elephants. I can't imagine that this would be allowed these days!

Chiana said...

Now that's fun - a fun visit to the 'cruise and what a hoot it would be to be that lucky kid. :D

Cassandra said...

I'm scared whenever I see the animals on the Jungle Cruise! I can't imagine having fun with the animals, but anyways... lucky kid! :)