That Time I Made a Jungle Cruise Skipper Costume for Disney World and How You Can Too

When I go on a Disney trip, I almost always make myself a new shirt or two. *Editor’s Note: right off the bat she comes in making the rest of us feel inadequate* The trip I took last fall for EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was no exception. And this time I also cobbled together a super sweet costume for the party, and it was still on the cheap. If you’ve read my previous articles, you know that I have a serious affinity for all things Jungle Cruise related, be it Trader Sam’s (on either coast), the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, or attraction itself with the phenomenal wit of the beloved Skippers. That said, it should really be quite simple to guess what my costume was, but this article would be painfully short if I waited for guesses before giving more details. Complete with a Cast Member name tag reading “Wanna B. Skip” I was a Jungle Cruise Skipper. That’s right, I dressed as a Cast Member for a place that had extra Cast Members working at a party I paid extra for. I was literally borderline “that guy (girl)” wearing the tshirt of the band I was seeing. And it was the single greatest evening I’ve had on an adulting trip to Walt Disney World.

There are very few instances where anyone over the age of 13 can wear a costume to the park, but one of the exceptions is dressing up for the Halloween parties. I wanted to hit up EPCOT on party day for one last go-through of the Food & Wine Festival, and then take the monorail over to Magic Kingdom in the early afternoon. I was able to keep my whole costume in the cinch backpack I carry on trips, because I simply wore khaki shorts for the rest of the day and changed shirts and added the accessories just before 4pm in the restroom. People started looking at me like I was in the wrong place, so I figured that I looked somewhat authentic. More on that in a minute. My costume seriously consisted of a Dickies work shirt that was slightly modified with some ugly brown fabric accents, a homemade Cast Member name tag, my kids’ Finding Nemo bucket hat on a long string, and a cheap piece of crap shoulder microphone that plugged into nowhere. This also comes into play later so keep reading. All in all, my costume cost me about $25, and that was money well spent since I was wearing comfortable clothes, which is clutch if you’re walking around, riding rides, and sweating at Disney World.

There are plenty of people who would prefer to go the way of a fancier costume, a princess or villain perhaps, and I must say there were some IMPRESSIVE costumes. Like…these people spent more on that ONE costume than I did on my whole damn vacation. But they looked amazing. This year, Disney has decided to answer the call of what I can assume was hordes of Millennials crying for an adult-version of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, because they’re even pushing it as something to do before the Halloween parties.  This is probably another post for another day, but personally, as someone who doesn’t even wear makeup more than a few times a YEAR, I’m sure as shit not shelling out for my child to go to Bibbidi Bobbidi, much less for myself…but I absolutely will dress up as a smartass pun-master Skipper.

So, I get changed and get my party wristband, candy starter bag, and ride a ride or two. I’ve had a couple of compliments on my costume, it was mainly Cast Members who knew who I was dressed as right away. This was the best part for me because I was paying homage to the people who work for pennies at the most magical place on earth, yet have to put up with the idiotic tourists 24/7. So, if they liked my costume, I’d won. At one point I was leaning on a high-top table outside Casey’s and checking my phone, and this 60ish year old Cast Member walks by and gives me the shittiest shit look ever. Like suuuper pissed off. I was so freaking confused…then realized it’s because she thought I worked there, and was lounging around in the public eye on my cell phone!! I couldn’t stop laughing, but I was damn proud. We took a stroll to the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen because I’d told a Cast Member there earlier on my stay about my costume and agreed to swing back by. Well she called her manager to the front, and dude was geeking out over my costume. He asked if we had a reservation and I explained I wasn’t planning to stop for long, I had a Jungle Cruise FP+ soon and I wasn’t missing that. (That’s one attraction that closes down during the party and they turn the queue into a trick or treat station.) He insisted that we sit down and eat, and made some wacky announcement on his radio. I had my picture taken with and by multiple Cast Members so I knew I had created a believable outfit. At the Jungle Cruise besides getting some curious looks in the line, the Skips were pretty chill about my whole getup. The Skipper we had was trying to get me to join in on some of her jokes along the way so that was really fun, and she let me take pictures with her, of me “driving the bote” as long as I didn’t touch the throttle.

I heard all kinds of crazy comments, but the most absurd ones were the people who would ask me, “oh, can you do some puns??” It um, doesn’t work like that. I did come up with some good little jokes for the Cast Members handing out candy at the Storybook Circus trick or treat line, because they didn’t see many people and it was entertaining. I had decided to ride Dumbo during the fireworks because it was a different perspective and zero crowds. Like seriously 3 people. Well, the Cast Member working the queue at Dumbo made my night. He started telling me how he “used to be a Skipper” but now he works at Dumbo (seriously?). He was commenting about my costume, but then it got weird. He called me out about my radio. Remember how it was a cheap piece of crap? Yeah, by design. Not spending a ton on something that I might break or lose and is literally useless otherwise. Well he said, “Uh, that’s not even the same BRAND of radio we used on the Jungle Cruise! I mean, ours were at LEAST $100.” Cool story, bro. He was relentless about this and I was never so glad to go ride Dumbo. I *think* I know why he was “no longer” working as a Skipper. Editor’s Note: I’d bet this dude is no longer employed by the Walt Disney Company

Hopefully you got a chuckle or two but also gained some insight to dressing up at Disney World, and all of the fun that can bring. I’m going back this fall and hitting up another Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and you can bet your ass I’m going to be reusing my costume.
Have you dressed up in a group, or with your family? Let us know in the comments!

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