Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye

I happened to be one of the 1000 people who were able to get a preview of Disneyland's new Indiana Jones ride on February 4th, 1995. The ride doesn't even open for another month, and Disneyland expects the lines to be around 4 hours long when it does. Will it be worth the wait? Well, I wouldn't wait for 4 hours for ANYTHING, but if you're willing to put in that kind of time commitment, then I think you'll be glad you did.

The Setup

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye is located in Adventureland, not far from the Jungle Tours. You are greeted with the sign above, and a jeep which makes a good Photo Opportunity. The entrance leads you into a line which is in the courtyard of the Temple itself. You wind around and around and finally get into the Temple. The line then proceeds through the Temple - around excavation sites, through trecherous hallways, and through several large antechambers, all with exquisite details, imagery, and paintings. At one point the line leads into a large room equipped with an excavation scaffold, from which a series of films are continuously shown. There are 3 films and one "slide show". The films are faux newsreels describing the discovery of the Temple by Jones, the flux of tourists to the Temple, and the loss of Indiana Jones in the Temple after he goes in to try and rescue missing tourists. (He's not "lost" as in "dead", he's just missing, and is one of the plots of the ride itself.) The slide show is put on by Sallah (although you don't see him), and describes the ride ("tour") and some safety features (pouches for holding your stuff, seatbelts, etc). When you're through that room, you're ALMOST to the ride itself (but not quite). After a few dozen more yards through the innards of the Temple, you finally make it to the loading point. My wait was over 2 hours, but I managed to sneak back in and ride it again less than 30 minutes later.

The Ride

Up to 12 people are loaded into a jeep (it only has 12 seats). Each person gets a seatbelt, and there is a pouch located nearby to store loose items like purses or cameras or hats (trust me, you'll need it). The main point of the ride is that there are three possible paths that your jeep can take. The story is that the Temple has 3 doors leading from the Chamber of Destiny. These doors are supposed to give the passengers special powers or riches - one is for eternal youth, one is for wealth, and one is for visions of the future (this is all explained in Sallah's little slide show). You don't know which path you're going to go on when you enter the Chamber of Destiny (I assume it's random), and you're supposed to keep your eyes closed until you're through the Chamber (another part of the story - tourists who have looked into the eyes of the Idol, which is behind each door, disappear; this is why Indy came back to the Temple, and subsequently got lost), and there is even a mirror at a 45-degree angle before you enter the chamber, so you can see ahead of you to where the jeep before you is going. In the Chamber, your jeep will go through one of the 3 doors (both times I went on the ride, I went through the middle door, which is a shame because I only got to see ONE of the possible paths), then there is a short hallway, at the end of which is a large Idol carved into the wall. Its eyes will open and start to smoke, and the jeep will turn and head into the main part of the ride. It's possible that if everyone in the car keeps their eyes covered, something else happens, but I don't know.

The ride is much like Star Tours, except that the car is in motion. The jeep moves forward, left, right, or backwards along a track, and can raise or lower the front, left, right, or rear to simulate off-road riding (i.e. when you go around corners, the near side of the car raises up; when you drive over large rocks, the front and rear go up and down accordingly). The ride is very rough and bumpy, and you'd better hold on to whatever you can to avoid hitting your neighbor or the jeep itself. The journey underneath the temple lasts about 5 minutes - you maight cross a bridge, through a hallway equipped with traps, confront demons or huge snakes (the snake was pretty cool - scared the hell out of the rider sitting on the right-hand side), or be threatened by a giant rolling boulder (a la Raiders of the Lost Ark).

Throughout the ride (on my journey, 3 or 4 times), you come across various animatronic Indiana Jonses - telling you which way to go, protecting you, "Nice driving, pal", "Not bad, for a bunch of tourists", etc. They're pretty realistic, and one of the best parts of the ride. I went on the same path twice, but the Jonses said different things each time, so even if you DO go the same way more than once some things will be different. I would love to have gone through one of the other doors, to see where they lead. Finally, you arrive back at the loading dock, and you're all done.

My impressions

It is definitely Disneyland's best ride (or, it WILL be their best). The ride is pretty bumpy and jerky, so be careful to hold onto the jeep. The wait will be unbearable (if it IS 4 hours) for some, but the lines will move relatively quickly - not much standing around, just a lot of slow walking. (When I was there, the ride broke down twice, for 30 minutes each time, so the line was even slower than it should have been. We were essentially beta testers for the ride anyway, so the engineers expected this kind of thing to happen. When it opens in March, there shouldn't be any problem of the ride stopping like that.) The attention to detail everywhere - from the lines to the temple to the ride itself - is incredible. Your first time through, you won't even MIND waiting for hours, because each new room is so interesting. This ride is off limits to small children (height restriction), people with heart/health problems, or pregnant women, just like many of Disneyland's most popular rides (Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, etc). But if you're up to it, it's one hell of a ride.
Tyler Jones, tjones@willamette.edu
February 7, 1995