Hidden away in the dense forests of Disneyland’s Adventureland stands an ancient, crumbling temple laced with faltering excavation lamps. The year is 1935, and you're in just the right place. Long believed to be only a legend, the towering Temple of the Forbidden Eye has been uncovered by famed explorer Indiana Jones. Within, Indy has stumbled across crumbling statues, ancient hieroglyphics, and fading frescoes that tell of the temple's storied past.

Supposedly home to the ancient lost god Mara, legend has it that any who ventured to this perilous place would seek an audiencea with Mara by standing within the Chamber of Destiny, where they would face three locked doors. The benevolent Mara would peer into the soul of his followers and open one of the three doors, leading to one of his three gifts: eternal youth, earthly riches, or visions of the future!

But there's more than meets the eye with this double-dealing deity! Throughout the sprawling temple complex of tombs, catacombs, and caverns, all of the carvings, paintings, and statues of Mara always depict him with his eyes closed or covered... A curious precedent matching word among the locals that within the Chamber of Destiny, any who looked into the dark and corroded Eyes of Mara would forfeit his gift and be cursed instead to the Gates of Doom for all eternity...

A chilling tale, indeed... But not chilling enough to cool off the hot pursuit! So step into Adventureland, where you'll become one of the hoity-toity nouveau riche of Europe, drawn by the renewed promise of Mara and his three gifts. It's 1935, and anyone who's anyone has chartered a flight to the lost river delta where adventure awaits... 

For more than twenty years, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye has been a starring E-ticket attraction exclusive to Disneyland Park. Even two decades after it's opening, the ride remains the most enigmatic, pulse-pounding, and technologically advanced ride that the resort has to offer... It may also be the most mysterious. In today's Behind the Ride, we're descending into the forgotten temple of Mara to look behind the magic to see what brings the cursed temple to life. First, we'll discuss the incredible story behind the ride's creation. Then we'll head into the temple to tackle its dark mysteries one at a time. If you're ready, then strap in...

Building The Ride

Indiana Jones Adventure is huge. So huge, in fact, that when Imagineers first reported their ride specifications to management, they were told that the only pad of land large enough to hold the ride's massive showbuilding was in Tomorrowland, so they would just have to make that work. 

Obviously, Imagineers would sooner not have an Indiana Jones ride than place it in Tomorrowland, so they did something unusual: they built the ride's showbuilding (one of the largest and tallest in the park) on the former site of the Eeyore section of Disneyland's original parking lot. 

In the image above, the queue line for Indiana Jones Adventure begins roughly at the red pin point at the top of the map. The rectangular white showbuilding in the lower left is where the attraction takes place. Like many of Disneyland's dark rides with their showbuildings situated beyond the park's railroad circumference, Imagineers faced the task of getting guests under the roadroad (a challenge undertaken by the Stretching Room in the Haunted Mansion and by drops on Pirates of the Caribbean).

However, getting under the railroad wasn't the only issue for Indiana Jones Adventure's designers to tackle. From Adventureland to the ride's boarding area is nearly a half mile walk. 

If Imagineers wanted guests to pass seamlessly under the railroad, alongside the Jungle Cruise, and out into a showbuilding located in the parking lot, they needed to do it with some finesse. And luckily, they had plenty. Indiana Jones Adventure might have the most detailed, elaborate, and gorgeous queue line of any attraction at any U.S. theme park.

The Queue

Disney often refers to their queue lines as 'Scene 0.' Part of the production, but not yet the attraction itself. Especially in recent years, Disney has gone out of their way to make their queue lines interactive, engaging, and even fun. On rides like Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion or Space Mountain or Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the queue can feel like part of the experience, encouraging guests to hang back and interact with the story even before they board.

With Indiana Jones Adventure, they already have a pretty stunning set-up. 

For one thing, the queue line of Indiana Jones Adventure fills in the integral details of the story. The trek to the show building beyond the park's berm is nearly a half-mile long, and Imagineers use every square inch of it. En route to the ride, guests walk through chilly, dripping caverns, collapsed hallways, grand rotundas, and simple altars all built to honor the ancient Mara. Curiously, each painting, carving, or image of Mara depicts him with his eyes closed or covered... 

With each successive image of Mara – eyes closed – you might begin to imagine that the ancient legends you've heard are true: that anyone who so much as glances into the eyes of Mara will be cursed to eternal torment and never leave the Temple of the Forbidden Eye... 

One particular image of Mara directly inside of the crumbling temple facade is a daunting and gorgeous fresco of the god – eyes closed – holding a sacred object for each of his three gifts: an all-seeing eye, a vase of the waters of youth, and a chalices of gold and gems. 

But the queue informs the story on more than just a simple level. Guests with a penchant for deciphering (or a decoder card, as offered during the ride's first seasons) can spend hours decoding the ancient hieroglyphics (or, Maraglyphs) spelling out pages and pages of details, backstory, and legend, carved into every wall and every surface.

Many of those Maraglyphs warn of booby traps in the adjacent chamber. Some have been humorously triggered and neutralized by Indy and company, while some are waiting for an unfortunate soul to accidentally trip them (including a shriek-inducing spiked-ceiling that lowers onto queueing guests). Other interactive elements within the queue involve a few different ways to disturb scientists hard at work in their excavation of the temple. 

But the queue is more than just a storytelling element. It's also beautiful. Traveling through collapsed chambers open to the sky above, bat-infested caverns, narrow corridors, the makeshift offices for Dr. Jones (loaded with props and details that will leave fans drooling), and – most impressively – a grand rotunda featuring one of the more haunting images of Mara looming before what appears to be a snake-flanked rope bridge... Hm. 

Finally, guests pass into a towering ancient chapel, now filled with scaffolding and used as a makeshift tourist training zone. (It's in this room that eagle-eyed fans armed with a flashlight will find a lonely Eeyore sign leftover from the former parking lot immortalized in the rafters.) This grand chapel is now home to a flickering overhead projector playing black-and-white videos spliced together by Sallah offering final words of wisdom (a cleverly disguised safety video) and some advice:

"One final word of advice: once you enter the Chamber of Destiny, look not into the Eyes of the idol! That would be dangerous... VERY dangerous. And now my friends, your moment is drawing near! Already I am envious of the wonders that await you... IF you avoid the Eyes of Mara that is."

From there, guests are dispatched into the final antechamber before the Chamber of Destiny where trusty troop transports left over from World War I are waiting... 

Now that we've discovered the unimaginable scope of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye and the creative wonders behind it, it's time to descend into the adventure. We're miles from civilization in the heart of the temple, where trusty troop transports await to whisk us into the unknown. So strap in and read on to see the incredible effects waiting for us in Mara's temple... 

Recieve Your Destiny

The heart of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye is the Chamber of Destiny, much alluded to by the queue and pre-show. From their loading position parked in the temple's antechamber, boarding guests are likely to notice a wall of gilded mirrors directly before them. This ingenious element added by Sallah is a convenience, allowing guests to see the three doors of legend without actually risking a meeting with Mara. In the reflection of the mirrors, careful observers will watch the off-roading transport ahead of them approach the doors until one begins to glow. It swings wide, ushering guests in, then promptly closes and re-seals.

But we're not here to see the doors via reflection. So, it's your turn.

The three doors: Earthly Riches, Visions of the Future, and Timeless Youth (left to right). Via Youtube user SoCal Theme Parks 360, video embedded below.

As the vehicle jerks from the loading platform (evidence of a sticky accelerator), it rounds the corner. Before you stand the three locked doors of legend with stone reliefs of Mara above each. As the vehicle presses forward, Mara's voice (allegedly provided by James Earl Jones, voice of Darth Vader from Star Wars and Mufasa from The Lion King) rings out, deep and thundering, as he announces which of his three gifts he deems your vehicle worthy of. 

"You seek the Treasures of Mara: glittering gold!" he might offer if the door adorned with gold begins to glow (far left, above). Its circular pieces begin to revolve and align as tumblers echo, falling into place. "It is yours..." Mara's voice – vaguely sinister – booms as the vault unlocks as gold coins appear to rain down from the relief above. In the astounding Chamber of Earthly Riches beyond, piles of gold, bronze statues, and priceless carvings fill vestibules on each side with a massive gold face of Mara at the far end of the Chamber.

"You have chosen wisely! This path leads to Timeless Youth and Beauty!" In that case, the rusted, corroded doors of that chamber (far right, above) are rinsed clean by a sheet of purifying water pouring from the relief above, revealing their pristine, metallic nature as they swing open. Beyond lies the the Grotto of Eternal Youth, where painted murals on the walls show the timeless beauty of Mara's chosen ones as everyone around them ages, the walls reflecting with the light of choppy water. At the far end of the Chamber, another massive stone face of Mara, but in this chamber, it's marble with flowering vines scaling the walls around it.

"You seek the Future! I will lift the curtain of time... It is your destiny..." Mara's third gift - the vision of the gods (center door, above) - is sealed by an icy web that clouds its carved reliefs. But upon Mara's announcement, the all-seeing eyes above glow, whisking away the icy wall as shooting stars illuminate the newly unlocked pathway into the Observatory of the Future. Within, the ancient chamber is lit with innumerable glowing stars and the temple's open roof reveals the endless night sky above, with a glowing, ethereal face of Mara at the far end of the hall.

Defy the Gods

It's the moment of truth, as the towering stone face of Mara at the end of the hall is an insurmountable temptation. In each of the three rooms, the sound of grinding stone rings out as Mara's eyes shoot open. Of course, no matter which destiny you’ve been granted, someone always seems to glance up at the looming stone face of Mara at the end of the hall. Mara's voice cries out in tormet – “NO! You looked into my eyes! Your path now leads to the Gates of Doom!”

Fittingly, Mara rescinds each of his gifts:

In the Chamber of Earthly Riches, his face rusts and tarnishes as his eyes turn into copper.

In the Observatory of the Future, a pulsing, raging storm builds from the "third eye" gem in his headdress as lightning bolts strike his eyes. 

In the Grotto of Eternal Youth, his magnificent marble face begins to crack and "age" as the vines around him shrivel and their petals fall. Chillingly, his eyes fade to a deep, endless black.

At the base of the statue, the vehicles turn left, poised to press deeper into the temple, but as Mara's maniacal laugh rings out, the vehicles headlights blow, darkening the corridor and sending the Jeep careering to the side toward the crumbling Gates of Doom. From there on, the three paths reunite and the rest of the ride's track is identical.

But how do the three rooms connect to a single ride path beyond?

The answer is simple – they don’t, because there’s no “they.” Only one of the three doorways opens and closes at all, and that single doorway leads to a single room with Mara’s dreaded visage at the far end.

How does one doorway and one room stand in for all of the three gifts described above?

The effect is nothing short of brilliant. High definition, perfectly timed, texture-mapped projections are projected onto the three blank doors in the Chamber of Destiny. Say that the first vehicle gets the "future" door as in the photograph of the doors above. Once the Jeep passes through the doorway, a computer system scrambles the projections, changing the real, functioning doorway to one of the other "gifts" at random.

Then, the room beyond "shifts" to accomodate the selected gift by changing lighting patterns and colors, highlighting certain elements of the room and downplaying others, selecting a different audio track, and lighting scrims from either in front or behind to display (or hide) different props in the room altogether. Of course, the same goes for the projection on the blank Mara - in the "gold" room, he's gold. In the "future" room, he's an etheral cloud. In the "water" room, he's marble. Projections bring him to life.

One pathway that instantly resets itself to represent any one of the three "gifts!" 

Feel duped by Mara yet? Hold on tight...

The Transport

Once you've locked eyes with Mara, all hope is lost. The vehicle slams to the left and presses unwillingly into a crumbling, electrified hallway. At the far end, radiating lightning bolts converge on the towering stone doors that must be the Gates of Doom. Their magnetic pull has lifted the troop transport off of the ground as it levitates through the air toward the spinning green vortex visible through the ajar doors. All hope is lost as the Jeep slowly floats closer and closer.

But then, you see him: at the base of those doors stands Indy himself, using all his might to push back against them and keep them closed. He manages to shut the door with a grunt, and – instantly free from the draw of the Gates – the vehicle falls a foot or so to the ground below. "Tourists!" He scoffs, "Quick, up to the left! It's the only way out. You had to look, didn't you?!" The transport accelerates, scrambling for a moment to gain traction and then climbing clunkily over the uneven terrain below, surely filled with rubble and debris from the collapsing chamber. 

But wait... How does the vehicle levitate, drop, and drive across uneven terrain? 

Disney Imagineers will tell you that the most important character in the Indiana Jones Adventure isn’t Dr. Jones himself, or even the vengeful Mara – in fact, it’s the car you ride in. Disguised as 1930s wartime troop transports reclaimed from the Great War (that's World War I), the twelve passenger vehicles (comprised of three rows holding four people each) roll into the loading dock with little fanfare, looking pretty simply like your average, run-of-the-mill ride cart.


But turn the corner into the ride and it’s hard to believe what these EMVs (Enhanced Motion Vehicles) can do. The jeeps run on real tires, but on an unusual road. The track through the attraction is slotted down the middle like a toy race track set. Secured down through the slot, the jeeps can pilot themselves while also sending and receiving location information and electric supply for on-board sound systems.

But that’s not all. While the car travels along the smooth road (with elevation changes and speed changes), the chassis holding the twelve guests is connected to a six-degrees-of-freedom motion simulator, that pitches, rolls, rotates, and jumps to simulate rough terrain, tilting turns, and dramatic motion. Sharp turns are accentuated by the feeling that the jeep is “tilting.” A bridge begins to collapse as the jeep shudders and slams back and forth, and every inch of the temple is met with uneven terrain as the jeep climbs through apparent debris. Here's one fan's recreation of one portion of the ride profile:

Once riders have looked into Mara’s eyes and been cursed to the Gates of Doom, the jeep’s motion signals that the car is “floating” toward the giant doors (as in the video above), and once Indy slams them shut, the jeep dramatically "falls" a foot or so (:16) to the ground and can be felt and heard fighting for traction. 

Each vehicle, too, is programmed with a “personality” that inspires it to react differently to different elements of the ride. A vehicle that is “afraid of the dark” may be heard and felt “shutting off” during the ride’s darkest moments, followed by the struggling sound of an engine turning over. Another reacts violently to loud noises or surprises. A particular vehicle has a distaste for creepy-crawlies, and doesn’t mind sharing.

The EMVs' trick isn't just good for simulating rough terrain: it's also theatrical. Past the Gates of Doom, Indy instructs us onward, warning that there are big steps ahead. Even after all we've already seen, what's coming next may be the ride's most impressive moment. Read on... 

“The Big Room”

Much of the ride takes place in this main chamber, including a harrowing suspension bridge before Mara's Forbidden Eye. © Disney.

In one of the most dramatic and well-appointed musical moments on any attraction, the vehicle next turns to find itself facing the ride's most impressive scene: a massive, towering chamber lit from below by a pool of boiling lava. As the music crescendos in John Williams' iconic chorus, the EMVs tilt forward, providing "stadium seating" views of “the Big Room” (which is actually what it’s referred to as on official ride blueprints) before slamming down the aforementioned "big steps" (at :30 in the video from the last page). 

This massive chamber features, at its center, the looming stone face of Mara. But now, he’s not so handsome. While the left half of his face looks much as it did in the Chamber of Destiny, on the right half the stone has eroded away to reveal a skull underneath with – you guessed it – the Forbidden Eye itself represented by a swirling flame, shooting beams of green light. Mara’s rotten teeth form a waterfall of lava, emptying into the glowing, rocky chasm below. Before the fifty-foot tall face of Mara is a suspension bridge formed of old ropes and wooden planks.

The ride spends a good amount of time in this enormous chamber, darting into caverns alongside, traveling across the bridge (where two vehicles come face-to-face, and one has to dart away to avoid both colliding over the lava), and even traveling down a mudside behind the carving of Mara’s face. As for the green beams of light that Mara blasts from his eye? They trigger explosions of real flames, fog, and rockslides as the transport leans, races, and jerks to avoid them. 

Let’s hope you don’t stall out on the bridge, where you’d be a sitting duck. The interaction with other jeeps and the magnitude of the massive chamber gives the impression that the ride is happening to others, but that you’re the only one experiencing your path. It also lifts the dark ride out of the usual confines of carts entering one scene after another in linear order, separated by tall black walls, instead building a physical space that's explored from top to bottom. 

The Boulder

Of course, no adventure with Indy would be complete with a menacing rolling boulder that threatens to flatten the expedition (a recreation of the pop-culture-cemented scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark). On the Indiana Jones Adventure, you’ll get closer to that boulder than you ever thought. Just when you think you’ve escaped Mara’s wrath, you pull into a dark chamber with Indy suspended overhead. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this!” he warns. “Uh oh... Back up. Back. Up.” Up ahead, in the darkness, you see it through a shaft of light in the temple’s crumbled ceiling.

It rolls closer and closer. Following Indy’s advice, the vehicle backs up slowly, but it’s pretty obvious that that’s no recipe for escape, so the jeep bursts forward, flying right at the massive rock and passing close enough to elicit ducking from all on board as the jeep flies down a hill. Of course, with the booming, shaking bass of its landing behind you, the jeep turns to see the cracked boulder with Indy standing in front of it with helpful parting advice like “Next time, you wear blindfolds!”

But certainly Disneyland doesn’t send a boulder – real or artificial – freely rolling toward guests over and over and over again very minute of every day?

And yes, the system behind the boulder is extraordinary in its simplicity. So much so, in fact, that you've probably seen its foundational concept at work before.

When the transport enters the long tunnel, it pulls all the way forward and parks. Indy is suspended from the tunnel overhead, hanging from a rope. Far off in the distance at the very end of the tunnel, a shaft of light illuminates the rolling boulder (which is constantly revolving, affixed to two arms as seen in the blueprints above) for only a second. Indy notices it. "Uh oh... Uh oh! Back... Up... Back up!" And you do! Except, you really don't. The vehicle stays parked exactly where it was. The tunnel itself – with Indy suspended from it – slides away from the vehicle and toward the advancing boulder. Paired with the clever motion of the EMV, the moving walls give the impression that you're backing up to try to escape the boulder and that the boulder is coming at you and fast.

As the boulder grows closer and closer and the tunnel moves further and further, the vehicle finally moves, pressing forward down a small drop and "narrowly avoiding" the massive rolling stone. And the effect is convincing even after multiple rides, often earning legitimate yelps and shrieks from riders. And as the point-of-view videos embedded below will prove, the boulder ends up mere inches from riders, and sincerely rolls "over" the car!

Of course, right as the transports fall down the drop, the tunnel slides back into its "staring" position and the boulder – still revolving – glides away into the dark, distant end of the tunnel once more, reset for the next vehicle.

The effect is ingenious and gives the ride its perfect, E-ticket ending. You can see how it all works in a very revealing night-vision video. You may also want to hear it straight from the Imagineers mouth, seeing the scene in action (and a rare shot of it resetting) with this video

Tony Baxter – the ride's lead Imagineer – apparently developed the idea after visiting a car wash; the kind where you park the car as a large washing apparatus moves back and forth over your vehicle. Your car is parked, but the car wash apparatus moves around it, filling your entire field of vision so much as to make you feel as if you're moving back and forth. The same concept is at work when you've got a semi-truck parked on either side of you at a red light. When they start moving forward, you might feel as if you're moving backward instead. 

The simple trick is totally effective and catches riders by surprise every time.

So we've seen some of the trick that fuel the unbelievable moments of Indiana Jones Adventure. On the last page, we'll talk about the ride's story and creation, and get an unbeatable glimpse of the ride first-hand. Read on...

Writing The Story

Though Mara is depicted time and time again in the ride's half-mile-long queue, he is always shown with eyes closed or covered. A sign of things to come. © Disney.

Dodging booby traps, careening through crumbling caverns, and avoiding the deadly gaze of a crazed ancient god... It might not sound like what you'd expect from an attraction at Disneyland, and you'd be right. There's no denying that Indiana Jones Adventure is backed by a dark, twisted, and legitimately unsettling mythos that practically deserves a full-length Indiana Jones feature of its own.

The ride was conceived by a partnership between Disney Imagineers and George Lucas, a full two decades before Disney would purchase Lucasfilm and its intellectual properties outright. 

It wasn't the first time that the two entertainment giants collaborated. In fact, it was all a part of the grand vision of Michael Eisner, who had joined the Walt Disney Company as CEO in 1984. Fresh from a stint as the CEO of Paramount Pictures (coincidentally, the distributor of Raiders of the Lost Ark), Eisner had a certain sense for the entertainment industry. Fittingly, he happened to believe (wildly and unimaginably so at the time) that Disneyland could be a place where you could "ride the movies." And – even more sacrilegiously –  that they didn't necessarily have to be Disney movies.

Allegedly, soon after his arrival at The Walt Disney Company, Eisner was due for his first escorted tour of Disneyland. He invited his teenage son, Breck, who responded, "That place is lame, dad."

Horrified, Eisner was determined to change Disneyland's reputation and make it a place that could entertain every member of the family – even teenagers – and he believed that movies were the way to do it. 

Eisner's first reach outside of Disney's canon was George Lucas. Lucas collaborated in the creation of Captain EO (1986) while he and Imagineers worked to develop their real homerun, Star Tours (1987). Under Eisner's guidance, Walt Disney World prepped to open its third theme park, the appropriately cinematic Disney-MGM Studios Park, which would count among its opening day attractions a stunt show based on Lucas' Raiders of the Lost Ark and its runaway hero: The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (1989). Just a few years later, they'd work together again in the creation of Disney's scariest attraction everThe ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter (1994). 

But the reinvention of Disneyland as a thrilling place with larger-than-life adventures was not yet complete. For that, Eisner and Lucas had an even more elaborate plan. Borrowing from the dark tone and styling of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Imagineers developed plans to expand and redress a portion of Disneyland's Adventureland into an entire indoor Indiana Jones sub-land called The Lost Expedition.

This never-built project would've been impressive, featuring a wild indoor mine-cart roller coaster, a rerouted Jungle Cruise and Disneyland Railroad passing through the gigantic indoor sub-land, and a wild off-roading dark ride through a collapsing temple.

Unfortunately, The Lost Expedition never came to pass. But one element of it (the off-roading dark ride) did stick with Imagineers until – under the guidance of Tony Baxter – it evolved into Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. We can't know for sure what The Lost Expedition's dark ride would've been like, but it's doubtful that it could've exceeded the scope of Forbidden Eye, so at least there's some assurance there. 

Mara's Legacy

Indiana Jones Adventure set a new standard for themed entertainment. Its “motion base” capabilities were absolutely revolutionary, and came four years before Universal did the same with The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. (In fact, the designers of Universal's famed Spider-Man attraction specifically credit the opening of Indiana Jones Adventure as pushing them back to the drawing board to improve their own designs, leading to the groundbreaking motion-base technology at Islands of Adventure).

Still, Disney wasn't done innovating on its own EMV technology.

Indiana Jones Adventure has never been duplicated at Walt Disney World. However, when Disney's Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, it, too, had an EMV dark ride: Dinosaur.  

The EMVs are a dead giveaway that the two rides use the same motion-simulating base, so that's probably not surprising. What might surprise you is that Dinosaur doesn't just re-use Indy's vehicles; it features an almost bolt-for-bolt identical clone of Indiana Jones' track layout! Though you'd never guess it (since Dinosaur spends its time racing through claustrophobic, pitch-black jungle scenes), the two rides' layouts are almost exactly identical (Dinosaur cut a few literal corners where they weren't needed), and those who have ridden both can easily point out a few "shared moments" in the track that are evidence of that, even with such different dressing around it.

You probably won't see much fanfare about Dinosaur, though. It's not that Dinosaur is a bad ride (it's absolutely not), but knowing that it's just one redress away from Indiana Jones Adventure leads to painful comparisons for those who have ridden both.

In 2001, Tokyo DisneySea opened with Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull (unrelated to the similarly-named feature film, which was released later) that is nearly identical to the California adventure. However, Tokyo's is set in South America rather than India, necessitating a few changes. Mara is replaced by a malevolent Crystal Skull (which, funny enough, still shoots deadly beams of light from a single corroded eye socket; see above) and the three doors are replaced by a single one: the legendary Fountain of Youth.

Like most of DisneySea's rides, their Indiana Jones Adventure appears to have had a plush budget with even more details and textures, but something about the Forbidden Eye storyline and the three gifts pushes California's ahead in our books. 

Even with its groundbreaking technology, one of the ride's real successes is in its storytelling. Though it may not contain the overtly simple, low-key special effects of Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean (instead opting for in-your-face excitement), Indiana Jones Adventure did something few other dark rides had done – it made you, the guest, part of the story. On Haunted Mansion, Pirates, or many of Fantasyland’s dark rides, the story plays out, with you as a silent observer. On Indiana Jones Adventure, you are the reason for the temple’s collapse. You looked into Mara’s eyes. You triggered the booby trap. That immersion has now become industry-standard for many rides.

Your Adventure Begins

Even twenty years after its debut, Indiana Jones Adventure remains one of the most technologically advanced, enigmatic, and energetic rides ever built. It's a cornerstone of Disneyland's already-impressive ride line-up, and certainly tells one of the most innovative and engaging stories ever developed for an attraction. It's a stunning, larger-than-life, brilliant adventure from beginning to end.

Below, you'll find three on-ride videos – one for each of Mara's gifts – that do an impossibly good job of capturing the grand experience of Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. It goes without saying that the videos (expertly filmed with extreme low light cameras) may spoil a bit of the illusion, but if you've made it this far on our Behind the Ride tour, it's too late to care much about that now! In the comments below, tell us your memories of Indiana Jones Adventure and which of the three destinies is your favorite!

Chamber of Earthly Riches:

Observatory of the Future: 

Grotto of Eternal Youth: 



Riding the ride isn't nearly as exciting as reading about it. When I went last year, it sucked. First off, the ride kept having mechanical failures, second, you could barely understand what the God was saying over all the other noise, and as far as the vehicles go, if they are different, they move too fast for you to really notice.All in all, the ride could've been much bigger, much longer, and much better, giving people more time to take in the things ranter than throwing them about. Otherwise, it was good, and worth maybe a 10 minute wait, at longest, 15 or 30.

The unique personification of the ride vehicle itself sounds interesting, like the different vehicle reactions such as "being afraid of the dark". Something very subtle that I never noticed. I'm DEFINITELY going to have to check that out soon next time I go.

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