Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jungle Cruise skippers on world-traveling adventure - for real this time!

Tomorrow, the eight finest currently-serving Jungle Cruise skippers will converge on the Tokyo Disneyland resort - two from Disneyland, two from Walt Disney World, two from Hong Kong, and two from the host resort. The California park is proudly promoting its Adventureland embassadors, but it took some digging to find out who would be representing Florida's skips.

Thanks to some helpful fans of the site within Disney World, I can now pass on this article that was originally posted on WDW's interior site:

Beth Schafer and Alex Williams.

Beth Schafer and Alex Williams, Jungle Cruise skippers, were chosen to travel to Tokyo Disney Resort Feb. 26-March 6, as part of Tokyo's "Cast 25 Dreams" program.

The Oriental Land Company, which operates Tokyo Disney Resort, is making 25 dreams come true for their Cast Members as part of the resort's 25th anniversary celebration. One unusual dream request came from an Operations supervisor at Tokyo Disneyland Park who wanted to bring together the top Jungle Cruise skippers from around the world to share best practices.

"I want Jungle Cruise Skippers worldwide to gather at Tokyo Disneyland, and I'd like to experience all the Jungle Cruises that are located around the world," requested Kenichi Ito. "I also want to create an occasion where we can meet and get to know the skippers from around the world."

The visit will include a two-day tour of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, a meet-and-greet with Tokyo skippers, and a chance to reenact their own Jungle Cruise spiel alongside their Jungle Cruise video.

To be selected for this trip, Cast Members at each site with a Jungle Cruise attraction (Hong Kong Disneyland, Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort), auditioned before panel of judges, performing their best Jungle Cruise spiel. Beth and Alex will represent the Walt Disney World Resort.

They say they're excited to meet other skippers from around the world and share best practices.

"I think the coolest thing about getting to do this is really learning how their operation works to see what we can bring back for our Guests," Beth said.

Alex agrees and says he was happily surprised to have the opportunity to meet Cast Members from other parts of the world.

"This is a once in a lifetime experience - all these different cultures and different people brought together by such a unique and amazing attraction like the Jungle Cruise."

Here's the release from Disneyland about its winning skippers:

Mickey Wright and Kevin Lively.

Two Disneyland Resort Jungle Cruise Skippers 'Spiel' Their Way to Tokyo Disney Resort
ANAHEIM, CALIF., February 16, 2009 – Earlier this year, Jungle Cruise skippers all around the world were preparing their funniest material for a chance at representing their respective Disney Parks in Tokyo this month. 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 jokes.

As part of Tokyo Disney Resort’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, a total of eight Jungle Cruise skippers from Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort have been chosen to represent their resorts during a nine-day excursion to Tokyo Disney where they will participate in a unique dream opportunity.

In conjunction with the milestone anniversary, the Oriental Land Company, the Japanese company that owns and operates the resort, made 25 dreams come true for Cast Members. The Jungle Cruise skipper dream is one of the most unique being fulfilled. The request came from Kenichi Ito, a supervisor for Jungle Cruise, who dreamt to have Jungle Cruise skippers worldwide gather at Tokyo Disneyland and create an occasion where they could exchange best practices and, of course, best jokes!

In Anaheim, Jungle Cruise skippers Kevin Lively and Mickey Wright were chosen as representatives of the original attraction.

At the Disneyland Resort, the competition began in January with 60 skippers. On Feb. 6, six finalists took to the jungle delivering their finest skipper antics to a panel of surprise celebrity judges including - Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios John Lasseter and his wife, Nancy, Executive Vice President and Walt Disney Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar, Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering Tony Baxter, and Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Director and Concept Writer Kevin Rafferty.

Each finalist had one shot to deliver his or her spiel to the judges. Rain poured down throughout the skippers’ spiels making for a well-themed trip through the rainforest. Although conditions were soggy, the skippers were cool, calm and collected while delivering punch line after punch line.

“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.”

The excursion takes place Feb. 27 through Mar. 6, and will include a two-day tour of Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, Jungle Cruise skipper training on the Tokyo attraction, and the opportunity to present their personal spiel’s to the group.

The OC Register also has this story about the Disneyland skippers including video interviews with the winners.

Congratulations to Skippers Beth, Alex, Kevin, and Mickey and to the skippers from Hong Kong and Tokyo. Enjoy your adventure together!

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