Besides the obvious difference in material, what separates a traditional wax figure and an animatronic is the ability of motion. A figure like Trader Sam does have the same basic purpose as say a Charlie Chaplin wax figure. Each attempts to create a realistic representation of a human being. The static Chaplin figure brings the viewer into a frozen moment from one of his motion pictures. Trader Sam, through its ability to move, stretches that frozen moment into a prolonged, living experience. While a wax tableau may be a three dimensional painting, an attraction like the Jungle Cruise becomes a moving picture where time is both experienced and suspended. Neither is better than the other, in fact both create interest in the subject they represent, and each should be appreciated for the art form it is.
A closer view of Sam with the mask he wore for years. And for years he has been giving Jungle Cruise passengers the same great deal. Two of his heads for one of yours!
I often looked to see if the figure actually had a face behind the mask, but the speed of the boat, along with the seating configuration, made that difficult.
Tada! After the last major update to the attraction, which brought explosions and Piranhas, Sam decided to get a little more sun. Despite the upgrades, Sam kept the same great deal.
Visit the official Disneyland website here.
Disneyland Jungle Cruise Adventureland Trader Sam