The Jingle Cruise debuted during the 2013 Holiday season, opening at Magic Kingdom on November 8 and Disneyland on November 12. The first year of Jingle Cruise was very simple in that most of the holiday decoration was for the boathouse queue and the boats themselves, with a story of Skippers being homesick during the holidays. The ride itself mostly just had a new script of Holiday jokes.
In the following years, the Jingle Cruise became more elaborate with a story about finding decorations and gifts that were spread out across the jungle after a cargo plane accidentally dropped them. The Disneyland version of Jingle Cruise would feature more decorations then the Magic Kingdom version though. During the 2017 Holiday season, Disneyland would skip doing a Jingle Cruise and it became Magic Kingdom exclusive. It's not yet known if this is a permanent decision.
The Jungle Navigation Company boathouse queues have been decorated for the holidays, creating makeshift holiday decorations from materials on-hand or using whatever they've been able to recover from the mostly lost shipments. Skipper stockings and letters to Santa are hung with care, a chalkboard message board offers a place to voice New Year's Resolutions, and the week's mess hall menu is nothing but turkey.
Disneyland ride summary
The lost Christmas Cargo can be found all over the river, generally matching a type of festive item to each scene.
- Tinsel is scattered around the trees and banks of the first bend in the river, with the toucans using some in their nest
- At the Ancient Cambodian Shrine, the tiger and crocodiles have been chewing up and unraveling scarfs and stockings. The cobras have discovered something much more poisonous then them: fruitcake!
- At the Elephant Bathing Pool, the elephants have discovered a shipment of Christmas Wreaths, with some wearing them around their necks or trunks.
- At the Trashed Camp, Baboons have found Santa Claus costumes and the gorillas have found ingredients for Christmas Cookies. The gorilla reaching for a floating crate is now trying to get a candy cane.
- The African Elephants have found sleigh bells, which jingle to their movements.
- At the African Veldt, plastic "Santa and his Reindeer" decorations are scattered around, with the Lions now trying to feast on a plastic deer.
- The Trapped Safari's pole has been partially decorated for the holidays, though the star for the tree has become stuck on the Rhino's horn.
- The Hippo Pool is full of fruitcakes, some of which can be seen in the mouths of the hippos
- The Native Village is decorated with Christmas Lights, with the dancers dancing to holiday music on a phonograph, with some wearing Christmas sweaters. Attacking natives wield fruitcake shields.
- On the Amazon River, floating gift boxes chewed up by the Pirahnas can be seen and the python has found itself wrapped up in gift ribbons
- Trader Sam is dressed up in festive gear, offering bottles of holiday champagne instead of heads.
Magic Kingdom ride summary
Christmas cargo at the Magic Kingdom's version of Jingle Cruise shows much more restraint then Disneyland, with much of the lost Christmas cargo being limited to areas where nature and civilization meet and generally staying reliant on its script of Holiday jokes.
Christmas cargo locations include:
- Crates dropped across the way from Inspiration Falls on the outskirts of the Pygmy Village. Reflecting their absence in the regular version, it seems that they haven't discovered and used the Cargo.
- The Trashed Camp has the gorillas discovering the Christmas presents for the absent explorers, with one of them wearing a Santa Claus coat. One of the jokes here is the Skipper describing them as in-laws visiting for the holidays.
- Crates and gift boxes are scattered around the base of the Trapped Safari's pole, billed as the "North Pole".
- The Sunken Cambodian Temple has cargo crates and parachutes scattered around its entrance. With a skipper joke calling the complex "Santa's Workshop", we see a candy-cane striped decoration in the tiger's mouth and the temple's monkeys having found themselves wearing Elf costumes and playing with giftboxes, ribbons and wrapping paper.
- Trader Sam is dressed in festive red gear as "Trader Sam-ta", offering a special holiday deal of "three of his heads for one of yours".