24 January 2011

If found afloat

If there is one thing Walt Disney World has known how to do since its inception, that is take a basic attraction from off of the rack and dress it up for a night on the town, or forty years worth of nights on the town. Space Mountain is not the world’s greatest rollercoaster, but it certainly has its fans that would rank it number one. Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure is an overgrown playground that, while set in the late 1980s, children still flock to and enjoy in the midst of some of the greatest attractions this side of Disneyland. Sometimes, however, just sometimes the cost of such attractions overreach their potential.Such an overextension comes in the form of Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Boats. Set up along the exit of the world famous Jungle Cruise, the Junior Jungle Boats are a set of remotely controlled steamer boats where guests can pilot their watercraft through perilous spike-filled waters, around tiki idols, beneath stone icons and past headhunter territory. This watery recreation lasts a few minutes and includes a captain’s wheel and a throttle for forward and reverse movements. The cost of this self-guided tour is two dollars, and does not come with a money back guarantee.I appreciate the boats, and take time to test my piloting skills (which usually requires me to spend a great deal of time in reverse trying to get back to where I misjudged a turn) every few trips but the cost to benefit ratio is just not there. The fact that the Junior Jungle Boats are an extension of the Jungle Cruise experience and has not been transmogrified into a gift shop is another fact that has not been lost on me. However, when compared to other extracurricular activities in the park, Shrunken Ned’s appeal begins the shrivel.Tom Sawyer Island is a wealth of child-friendly activities, from barrel bridges and wonky caverns to rifle roosts in an old fort, and costs nothing more than the investment of time. Perhaps the single most comparable attraction to the Junior Jungle Boats is the firing range known as the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade. Another test of skill, the interactive target game allows thirty shots for one dollar. The two experiences take about the same length of time to enjoy and supply equal amounts of fun and smiles for younger guests. Despite the number of Mickey ears, balloons and ice cream bars seen throughout the parks, guests are shrewd with their vacation dollars. Which explains why more often than not I see burgeoning crowds at the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade and only a scant few skippers-in-training at Shrunken Ned’s.Thankfully, the pay-for-play attractions at Walt Disney World are few and far between, and most times live up to their additional cost. In the case of Shrunken Ned’s Junior Jungle Boats, the solution is simple and easily acquired, reduce the cost and they will come.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, Ryan. As someone who visits Walt Disney World regularly (at least once a month), I make time to enjoy the smaller details of the parks.

But, at twice the cost of Frontierland Shootin' Arcade, I rarely ever part with $2 to enjoy Shrunken Ned's Junior Jungle Boats. At that price, I'm only a dollar and change away from being able to enjoy a Dole Whip or a number of other great Disney treats, so I usually skip the attraction.

If Disney dropped the price to $1 I'd definitely be a skipper more often, perhaps every trip to Magic Kingdom.

Gordon said...

My kids adore those boats and part of the WDW experience for us is letting them waste a few dollars piloting their boat. I would hate to see them go in order for us to be given yet another attraction gift shop.