Documenting the Construction of the Jungle Cruise

Since this feels a lot like “Jungle Cruise Month” – what better time to share some cool Jungle Cruise artifacts from the very earliest days of the attraction. These photos were taken by Imagineer Harper Goff, the lead designer of the Jungle Cruise. They were part of an extraordinary collection of his drawings, photos, and other memorabilia that was auctioned off in November of 2017 for around $20,000. 

The real treasures in the collection are the photos with notes written by Harper to Walt Disney explaining how the Jungle Cruise attraction construction and landscaping was progressing. In one of these photos Harper shares a preview of the framing work done to create “Sweitzer Falls.”

In another, he highlights for Walt the impact of palm trees in establishing a jungle landscape and notes they’ve flipped over trimmed walnut trees that were excavated on site. The new Behind the Attraction episode on the Jungle Cruise mistakenly indicated orange trees were inverted. 

In total, this collection features around 40 black and white photographs taken during the construction of the Jungle Cruise. Only a limited number of these were shared by the auction house online. It’s unfortunate they are not all publicly available or in the Disney Archives. Furthermore, it’s too bad we don’t have similar photos and notes documenting the construction of other original Disneyland attractions from before the park opened in 1955. 


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