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Jungle Cruise Update

_caleb

Well-Known Member
This to me doesn't scream backstory still, but okay.
Did you read either of the articles I linked to? Trader Sam is supposedly a bisexual Back South American headhunting bar owner who was friends with Teddy Roosevelt, Indiana Jones, The Swiss Family Robinson, Captain Jack Sparrow (and his mother), and Walt Disney while also a member of an organization known as the Adventurers Club, which is a splinter-faction of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers which was founded by S.E.A.-member Merriweather Adam Pleasure. He has authored several books under the pen name, ”T.S.”, most of which can be found in the Skipper‘s Canteen.

That’s not a backstory?
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
This to me doesn't scream backstory still, but okay.

More baloney is what it is actually.
LOL! I never said it was a good backstory!

I’m just surprised more of the Disneylanders over here didn’t seem to even be aware of it. Everyone is free to enjoy the parks however they like (or hate them), I just thought there might be at least one other nerd like me out there who noticed the details on stuff like this.
 

Zorro

Active Member
I refuse to recognize any back story unless Spin and Marty are involved.
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raven24

Well-Known Member
Did you read either of the articles I linked to? Trader Sam is supposedly a bisexual Back South American headhunting bar owner who was friends with Teddy Roosevelt, Indiana Jones, The Swiss Family Robinson, Captain Jack Sparrow (and his mother), and Walt Disney while also a member of an organization known as the Adventurers Club, which is a splinter-faction of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers which was founded by S.E.A.-member Merriweather Adam Pleasure. He has authored several books under the pen name, ”T.S.”, most of which can be found in the Skipper‘s Canteen.

That’s not a backstory?
Wow.

Anyways, I read one of them and it was mostly about the history of tiki bars and the company’s idea to build a themed tiki bar at the Disneyland Hotel. I’d have to find something officially written by Disney, but I most likely won’t look anything up anytime soon.
 

Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
I think it’s irrelevant whether or not the bar has a backstory. The bar is based around the character in the ride, and if the character in the ride is inappropriate, what does that say about the bar?

Many will say it’s just a name, but there are many references to the ride character in the bar, and the aforementioned backstory connects it even further (rather than separating it). There’s multiple approaches to this. Change the name (Trader Falls?). Create a new Trader Sam. But doing nothing because “the bar makes money” isn’t a calculated move.
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
I think it’s irrelevant whether or not the bar has a backstory. The bar is based around the character in the ride, and if the character in the ride is inappropriate, what does that say about the bar?

Many will say it’s just a name, but there are many references to the ride character in the bar, and the aforementioned backstory connects it even further (rather than separating it). There’s multiple approaches to this. Change the name (Trader Falls?). Create a new Trader Sam. But doing nothing because “the bar makes money” isn’t a calculated move.
Yeah, I think they’re going to try to change the character (well, actually create a “Trader Sam” character) so the bar can keep the name, lean into the S.E.A, stuff, and avoid controversy.

Basically pretend the AA from the ride never happened.
 

el_super

Well-Known Member
I think it’s irrelevant whether or not the bar has a backstory. The bar is based around the character in the ride, and if the character in the ride is inappropriate, what does that say about the bar?

There is a lot more nuance to this, that I am sure I am going to miss, but I think it's important to remember that character depictions in a themed restaurant and within an attraction are two very different mediums and provide very different contexts. So both things can be true: that the depiction of Trader Sam within the Jungle Cruise is not appropriate, and that the same depiction of Trader Sam within the bar is appropriate.

Within the context of a theme park ride, when you only see a character for only a few seconds, there is not enough time to setup a proper backstory and context for why that character is there, what they are doing, why their appearance is appropriate and also have some payoff. For Trader Sam in the Jungle Cruise, he is depicted as a native headhunter (ie Murderer) and one of the many dangers of the jungle. His depiction in Disneyland as a black man, like the natives, is making the unfair association between unease and danger with a specific type of person. It relies on stereotype and prejudices built into the audience for decades, because it is the easiest way to convey a feeling or emotion QUICKLY (within 7 seconds).

At the Enchanted Tiki Bar though, Sam was given more of a backstory and more context. Instead of being a danger, he is portrayed as a successful business owner. He has many different clients and relationships that enforce a normal functioning adult (ie Not a Murderer). The Tiki Bar is itself a tells a very different story in that the dangers of the bar are exaggerated in way meant not to seem as real as the dangers of the Jungle Cruise. It's a fantasy. It's a cartoon. And unlike the Jungle Cruise, in this cartoon everyone is having a good time.

Does the new story of the Tiki Bar absolve the Jungle Cruise of the original depiction? I tend to think it doesn't. Is the new story of the Tiki Bar itself above any form of additional examination or criticism? Absolutely not. It just shows that there was an attempt to evolve the character design of Trader Sam forward, and was one of many little steps in trying to "fix" the problems with the Jungle Cruise. If I remember right the debut of the Tiki Bar was also the point when Trader Sam's mask was removed in the actual ride, and Trader Sam became a person again.
 

BayouShack

Well-Known Member
I wanted to drop in fact I learned on twitter yesterday. Apparently the original ride ended with a giraffe, Trader Sam was one of the earlier editions, but still not “original” to the ride. I doubt it will appease the people upset, but it throws a wrench in the whole “purist” argument.
 

Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I think they’re going to try to change the character (well, actually create a “Trader Sam” character) so the bar can keep the name, lean into the S.E.A, stuff, and avoid controversy.

Basically pretend the AA from the ride never happened.
That’s probably the best idea. Maybe I’m incorrect, but the name might be okay? I just don’t think the way they’ve presented the head hunting/shrunken heads is okay.


There is a lot more nuance to this, that I am sure I am going to miss, but I think it's important to remember that character depictions in a themed restaurant and within an attraction are two very different mediums and provide very different contexts. So both things can be true: that the depiction of Trader Sam within the Jungle Cruise is not appropriate, and that the same depiction of Trader Sam within the bar is appropriate.

Within the context of a theme park ride, when you only see a character for only a few seconds, there is not enough time to setup a proper backstory and context for why that character is there, what they are doing, why their appearance is appropriate and also have some payoff. For Trader Sam in the Jungle Cruise, he is depicted as a native headhunter (ie Murderer) and one of the many dangers of the jungle. His depiction in Disneyland as a black man, like the natives, is making the unfair association between unease and danger with a specific type of person. It relies on stereotype and prejudices built into the audience for decades, because it is the easiest way to convey a feeling or emotion QUICKLY (within 7 seconds).

At the Enchanted Tiki Bar though, Sam was given more of a backstory and more context. Instead of being a danger, he is portrayed as a successful business owner. He has many different clients and relationships that enforce a normal functioning adult (ie Not a Murderer). The Tiki Bar is itself a tells a very different story in that the dangers of the bar are exaggerated in way meant not to seem as real as the dangers of the Jungle Cruise. It's a fantasy. It's a cartoon. And unlike the Jungle Cruise, in this cartoon everyone is having a good time.

Does the new story of the Tiki Bar absolve the Jungle Cruise of the original depiction? I tend to think it doesn't. Is the new story of the Tiki Bar itself above any form of additional examination or criticism? Absolutely not. It just shows that there was an attempt to evolve the character design of Trader Sam forward, and was one of many little steps in trying to "fix" the problems with the Jungle Cruise. If I remember right the debut of the Tiki Bar was also the point when Trader Sam's mask was removed in the actual ride, and Trader Sam became a person again.
A very interesting, yet reasonable assessment. This should be how most of these things are assessed. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. It’s wherever the money blows. I just wish more people in the community would assess these decisions like you did here, and not just for Jungle Cruise but for everything.
 

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