George Lucas (creator of Indiana Jones) has had a long history with Disney. A history that dates back a lot farther than his Lucasfilm sale to the Mouse House in 2012. After the success of Star Tours (based on Lucas’ Star Wars franchise) and Captain EO (Michael Jackson 3D experience), two highly successful Disney theme park attractions that the filmmaker worked on, Lucas brought another one of his properties to the most famous theme park in the world in 1995. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye captured the spirit and fun of the Indiana Jones franchise and set it in Disneyland. The enhanced motion vehicle dark ride allowed for an experience that was very similar to Star Tours. Both attractions made you feel like you were a part of the film series universe, or Galaxy in the case of Star Tours.
Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye
Opened: March 4, 1995
Description: The Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye used the ride’s queue to set up the story of the attraction. The ride reportedly cost 100 million and the price tag is understandable when you see the impressive queue. The set up played out on screens and featured John Rhys-Davies reprising his role of Sallah.
Story Description From Disney:
An Ancient Legend
Follow Indy’s footsteps into the crumbling Temple of the Forbidden Eye past intricate booby traps. Inspect carvings and frescos that tell the story of Mara, a powerful deity who promises great treasures—and vengeance to those foolish enough to gaze into its all-seeing eyes.
Brave Unimaginable Perils
Board a rugged troop transport and enter the Chamber of Destiny. Confront inconceivable dangers, like precarious precipices over molten lava, screaming mummies, swarms of giant insects, spear-throwing wraiths, collapsing bridges, slithering snakes—and a massive rolling boulder.
If you find yourself in jeopardy, only one man is brave enough—or crazy enough—to save you… Dr. Jones!
When you finally get through the elaborate queue you are loaded into a transport that takes you through the attraction. The ride is accompanied by John Williams’ Indiana Jones score and sound effects that all put you in the world of Dr. Jones. An Indy animatronic appears throughout the ride that greatly resembles and sounds like Harrison Ford but isn’t an exact match. An old Entertainment Weekly piece I found about the Indy ride sort of explains why the Indy animatronic isn’t 100% accurate.
One audio component the ride computers won’t be selecting, though, is a dialogue track recorded by Indy star Harrison Ford. Negotiations to use the actor’s distinctive voice broke down in late December. According to Ford’s agent, the talks foundered over creative input as well as money. A Disney source speculates, though, that the deal didn’t materialize because Ford may have viewed the voice-over as a concession — he was reluctant to make while in salary negotiations (still ongoing) to star in a fourth Indy movie. (Pending script approval, the film will be directed next year by Spielberg and distributed by Paramount.)
That Entertainment Weekly article has more about the interesting backstory of the ride:
Indy? Now wait just a whip-wielding minute there. What would make a gun-toting adventurer like Indiana Jones turn mascot for the Walt Disney Co., purveyor of all things warm and fuzzy?
If you ask George Lucas, executive producer of the Indy movies and controller of all rights to the character, the Disney-Indy alliance is a natural.” I was at Disneyland the second day it opened (in 1955),” he says, recalling that the mini-freeway Autopia ride was his favorite, “until I could drive.”
Lucas might not have had any Indy rights to peddle were it not for Disney CEO Michael Eisner. As president of Paramount, Eisner talked his boss Barry Diller into making 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark for the risky sum of $20 million. Yes, risky: Lucas had gone way over budget on The Empire Strikes Back, and Steven Spielberg was living down the costly 1941.
Thoughts: The Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland, and it doesn’t hurt that Indiana Jones is my favorite movie character. The ride works as a thrill attraction and even without the Indy connection it would be a lot of fun. The Indiana Jones connection just puts the whole package over the top for me. It’s always high on my to do list when I visit the park and I think it’s one of the best additions to the Indy legacy outside of the films.