It was reported this morning by WDWNT and others that the "Trader Sam" animatronic has been removed from one of the final scenes of the Jungle Cruise attraction. Of course, this isn't a totally surprising development, as Disney re-confirmed last week that work would be starting on this refurbishment soon, and while we expected Disney to close the attraction when work began, it looks like they will be running this attraction for as long as possible while changes are happening presumably after hours.
While we fully expect the ride to temporarily shut down at some point while more major changes are made, no announcement has been made about a potential closure date just yet, with Disney only confirming that the new version of the Jungle Cruise will debut before the end of the year.
According to Disney, this "new adventure" will stay true to the experience that guests know and love, but with more humor, wildlife and "skipper heart". Like the Splash Mountain reimagining, which was announced last year, it looks like Disney is taking another opportunity to update old attractions to better reflect the diversity of the modern world.
Disney has also released new information about the updated story and characters in the My Disney Experience app, where guests can check out concept art for the reimagined attraction and explore connections to the broader Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.) which has been featured in several Disney Parks attractions across the globe. You can learn more about this refurbishment here.