More Skipper Stories

True Tales from Disneyland's Jungle Cruise

by David John Marley | Release Date: December 7, 2018 | Availability: Print, Kindle

Return of the Real Skippers of Disneyland

In this second oral history of Disneyland's iconic attraction, the World Famous Jungle Cruise, dozens of skippers, from the 1950s to the present, share harrowing, humorous, sometimes even horrific tales of their pun-fraught voyages and their behind-the-scenes hellraising.

The Jungle Cruise is that most unusual of Disney attractions where the ride itself is secondary to the cast member. Once the boat leaves the dock, Disney no longer controls the experience; your skipper does.

Former skipper and now history professor David John Marley presents the uncensored stories of six decades of Jungle Cruise skippers. Their never-before-spieled tales include:

  • Jungle 101: how the ride works, how skippers are trained, and everything else you ever wanted to know about the Jungle Cruise
  • The best and the worst celebrities, rockers, and regular people who ever rode the Jungle Cruise
  • The sketchy side of water: Grad Nites, creepers, and sexual harassment
  • Pranks and more pranks, from the comic to the cruel, with dickish skippers and unruly guests learning the law of the jungle

What happens in the jungle, stays in the jungle—except now it's all in this book.

Table of Contents


Skipper Stories Glossary

Chapter 1: High Hopes and Low Standards

Chapter 2: Training Days

Chapter 3: Jokes

Chapter 4: Joke Slayers

Chapter 5: Jungle After Dark

Chapter 6: Fun on the Dock

Chapter 7: Skippers Are the Worst

Chapter 8: This Isn't the Jungle Cruise

Chapter 9: Guests Are the Worst

Chapter 10: Like a Boss

Chapter 11: In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room

Chapter 12: Work Life

Chapter 13: Celebrities Are People, Too

Chapter 14: It's a Real Jungle Out There

Chapter 15: 3 Shot, 4 Shot, 6 Shot

Chapter 16: Skipper Safari

Chapter 17: It's a Holiday in Cambodia

Chapter 18: Grad Nites

Chapter 19: Changes Over Time

Chapter 20: Tales of Love and Occasionally Outright Sexual Harassment

Chapter 21: Skippers After Hours

Chapter 22: Once a Skipper, Always a Skipper

Chapter 23: No Wonder They Got Fired

The only thing sure to happen in life are death, taxes, and sequels to popular things. The response to Skipper Stories, the first volume in this series, has been fantastic, thanks to everyone who bought a copy or came out to hear me give a talk about my favorite Disneyland attraction. When I was working on Skipper Stories I sometimes found it difficult to get people to sit down for an interview. My wife told me not to worry, that once the first book came out I would get flooded with people looking to share their stories.

She was right, as usual.

Calls, texts, emails, Facebook messages all came in fast. I had so many people to interview that I had to finally tell some that their interview would have to wait for another book. If I wanted to wait another year, this book would be the size of a telephone book, if anyone remembers what those are.

More Skipper Stories features interviews with more skippers than the first book. I would say about a third more, but I’m really bad at math, so let’s just say “more.” Another interesting thing is that most of the people I interviewed wanted to talk on the record. The few anonymous stories here are either from the interviews I did or from skippers I know who only had a story or two to share and wanted to keep their name out.

There is a bond between skippers no matter what era. I talked with skippers from the 1970s and it was like I had worked with them. I was honored to be invited to a reunion of skippers from Walt Disney World, and although their Jungle Cruise is different than the one in Disneyland, we had an instant bond.

Disney likes to focus on the stars, on Walt and the Imagineers who designed these great attractions. In doing so, they neglect the stories of the people who made the attractions run. At a ride like Peter Pan or Space Mountain, it is mostly pushing a button and letting the ride work its magic. However, at the Jungle Cruise it takes a skipper to make Walt’s vision of the attraction come to life. This book is part of my on-going effort to tell the stories of the people who literally put their blood, sweat, and tears into Disneyland everyday.

I kept them in their own words and occasionally unique syntax. Some of these chapters titles may sound familiar, but I used stories and told tales you didn’t see in the first book. Also, I didn’t take out all the swear words like I did in Skipper Stories, so you’ve been warned. It’s not bad, but still.

Those of you who work at the Jungle Cruises in Florida, Hong Kong, or Tokyo, you wonder where your book is? It’s coming.

But now that you’ve read the introduction, you’re ready to enter the crazy world of Disneyland’s World-Famous Jungle Cruise!

David John Marley

David John Marley, a former Disneyland Jungle Cruise skipper has a Ph.D. in modern American History from George Washington University. Marley is the creator of the first-ever class specifically on the history of Disneyland. He is also a member of the Hyperion Historical Alliance, a group of scholars who work with The Walt Disney Company. Marley has appeared on the History Channel, published articles in scholarly journals, a chapter for an anthology on the civil rights movement, over a dozen book reviews, and editorials for the History News Network. He has worked as a performer and comedy writer for Disneyland and is the producer of the popular Jungle Cruise based comedy show The Skipper Show (

About Theme Park Press

Theme Park Press is the world's leading independent publisher of books about the Disney company, its history, its films and animation, and its theme parks. We make the happiest books on earth!

Our catalog includes guidebooks, memoirs, fiction, popular history, scholarly works, family favorites, and many other titles written by Disney Legends, Disney animators and artists, Mouseketeers, Cast Members, historians, academics, executives, prominent bloggers, and talented first-time authors.

We love chatting about what we do: drop us a line, any time.

Theme Park Press Books

The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion The Ride Delegate 501 Ways to Make the Most of Your Walt Disney World Vacation The Cotton Candy Road Trip The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney Disney Destinies Disney Melodies The Happiest Workplace on Earth Storm over the Bay A Historical Tour of Walt Disney World: Volume 1 Mouse in Transition Mouseketeers Down Under Murder in the Magic Kingdom Walt Disney and the Promise of Progress City Service with Character Son of Faster Cheaper A Tale of Two Resorts I Saw Ariel Do a Keg Stand The Adventures of Young Walt Disney Death in the Tragic Kingdom Two Girls and a Mouse Tale Ears & Bubbles The Easy Guide 2015 Who's the Leader of the Club? Disney's Hollywood Studios Funny Animals Life in the Mouse House The Book of Mouse Disney's Grand Tour The Accidental Mouseketeer The Vault of Walt: Volume 1 The Vault of Walt: Volume 2 The Vault of Walt: Volume 3 Who's Afraid of the Song of the South? Amber Earns Her Ears Ema Earns Her Ears Sara Earns Her Ears Katie Earns Her Ears Brittany Earns Her Ears Walt's People: Volume 1 Walt's People: Volume 2 Walt's People: Volume 13 Walt's People: Volume 14 Walt's People: Volume 15

We're always in the market for new authors with great ideas. Or great authors with new ideas. Whichever type of author you are, we'd be happy to discuss your book. Before you contact us, however, please make sure you can answer "yes" to these threshold questions:

Is It Right for Us?

We specialize in books that have some connection to Disney or theme parks. Disney, of course, has become a broad topic, and encompasses not just theme parks and films but comic books, animation, and a big chunk of pop culture. Your book should fit into one (or more) of those broad categories.

Is It Going to Make Money?

There's never a guarantee that any book will make money, but certain types of books are less likely to do so than others. They include: hardcovers, books with color photos, and books that go on forever ("forever" as in 400+ pages). We won't automatically turn down these types of books, but you'll have to be a really good salesman to convince us.

Are You Great to Work With?

Writing books and publishing books should be fun. The last thing you want, and the last thing we want, is a contentious relationship. We work with authors who share our philosophy of no drama and zero attitude, and the desire for a respectful, realistic, mutually beneficial partnership.