I’m a big Disney World Fan. I can safely say that I’ve been there more than most people and my estimate is somewhere around 500 times and counting. The highlight of my Disney Adventure has been the time we were having lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and a cast member holding a clip-board came up to us and politely asked if we knew about the “Jammin’ Jungle Parade” and if we wanted to be part of the 23 temporary cast members to ride the floats. Of course we said “Yes”. Were at the parks with 2 of my nephews from New York and they were at that age where anything unusual was fun. Let me tell you that it was pure magic to be selected. I was totally invested in the parade.
We were instructed to meet in front of the big wooden gate by the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride. We were sure to get there early and we met our host who provided us with colorful hats, vests and a camera for us to take photos. We jammed our stuff into a locker and were told the plan. We were not to take any photos behind the scenes except for the few we took while getting prepared for the show. We were escorted to a float with the Tiger (pictured) and were told to have fun. The parade started and we were greeted by a large crowd of guests. We sure did feel important and we wanted to make it fun for everyone. We danced, laughed and got the audience to do the “Macarena” while the song “Iko, Iko” played over the speakers. It was the best 20 minutes of my Disney life. After the parade was over we were thanked by everyone in the parade and took a photo with our host, TJ.
Sadly the parade was shut down last year to make way for the new “Avatar” land. The parade ran from October 1, 2001 thru May 31st, 2014 and include five character-based safari vehicles, four drum sculptures, three rickshaw taxis, eight animal puppets, 16 Disney characters, 10 Party Animal stiltwalkers and 10 Party Patrols. The eight abstract animal puppets were designed by Michael Curry Designs in Portland, Ore., which created the puppets for “The Lion King” on Broadway. It was pure Disney Magic to get picked to participate in the parade. I guess the cast member who scouted us out could feel my loyalty to Disney seeping through my bones!
Here’s the short video we took while riding the float: 2007-04-14 Animal Kingdom “Jammin Jungle Expedition”