The Lost Expeditions of Disneyland's Indiana Jones
by, 04-21-2012 at 10:35 PM
If you’re anything like me, you grew up watching the Indiana Jones films. Sure, not all of them are on par with Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the nuking the fridge may have been a terrible idea, but the film series has stood the test of time as being one of the most remarkable ever produced.
As you likely already know, Disney and Lucasfilm first began discussing developing attractions together in the 1980s. With a powerhouse such as Lucasfilm behind them, Imagineers dreamed big, and tried to come up with new and innovative attractions to entertain their guests. From this partnership, we ended up with class attractions such as Star Tours, Captain EO, and the incredible Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland.
But before raiding the Temple of the Forbidden Eye was even a thought on the drawing boards, Imagineers had another concept that would have taken Dr. Jones’ adventures to a whole new level.
Imagine if Indy moved into Adventureland, but instead of taking over the area where he currently resides, he expanded out a bit more, out into the wilds of the Jungle Cruise, and beyond.
You see, their original idea was much like the never built Western River Expedition at Walt Disney World. It wouldn’t just be a single ride, but an entire new “land” of sorts for people to immerse themselves in.
[FONT=verdana][SIZE=3][URL="http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x356/micechat/The%20626/indianajonesandthelostexpedition1.jpg"]Click here to see this fantastic concept art full sized![/URL]
Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition was supposed to be a gigantic ride complex situated where the Indiana Jones Adventure is now. Built to resemble a mythical temple, guests would have to travel amongst the caverns inside to find two rides. The first was an Enhanced Motion Vehicle attraction very similar to what is at Disneyland now, while the second was to be a mine cart rollercoaster, similar to the scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
To further immerse Guests into this new attraction, Disney planned on having the Disneyland Railroad and the Jungle Cruise travel through portions of the temple, giving Guests a glimpse at the adventures that awaited them inside.
Based on the above map of what the proposed expansion would have looked like, Guests would have entered this new area by Tarzan’s Treehouse. The line would split into two, allowing people to decide which of Indy’s quests they wanted to experience.
For Guests wanting to go on the EMV Jeep ride, they would follow the route to the motor pool. There, they would climb aboard vehicles that would take them deep inside the mythological temple to help Indiana Jones in his quest of the golden shrine.
For those Guests wanting a little more of a thrill, they could hike up the hill to an abandoned mine shaft. There, they would get strapped into one of the ore cars and sent speeding around the edge of a volcanic crevasse in this indoor roller coaster experience.
Like I mentioned earlier, two classic Disneyland attractions also would have been incorporated into this new show building. After being thrilled by the backside of water, people on the Jungle Cruise would have been sent right into a flooded cavern located in the heart of the temple, allowing them to catch a glimpse of a sacrificial altar. There, they would have braved many of the same booby traps that Indy already snuck past before emerging from the caves, back into the relative safety of jungle.
While exiting, the Jungle Cruise would also pass under a new trestle bridge, used by the Disneyland Railroad. The Railroad also would have journeyed into the new show building, letting Guests sneak a peek at the ore carts speeding around the volcanic chasm, and the famous giant ball rolling sequence from the EMV Jeep ride.
I don’t know about you guys, but I think this would have been an amazing addition to Disneyland. It would have added a whole new level of immersiveness for Guests to explore, and added a giant new footprint to the park back in the 80s. So, why was it never built?
Well, the same reason lots of things don’t get done.
You see, an enormous undertaking such as this would have carried an enormous bill. To put it in relative terms, the Indiana Jones Adventure that we have now reportedly cost just under $100 million by itself. Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition would have cost well over $200 million.
We also have to take into consideration that, at the same time, another team of Imagineers was working on developing Splash Mountain. Both projects were in direct competition with each other, trying to get the green light to build their attraction first.
(This, of course, is the reason why someone at WDI created some fake concept art combining both attractions, with Indy standing tall on top of Chickapin Hill, whip at the ready, surrounded by Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear dressed in Arab garb. And what was in Indy’s hand? Why, the golden idol shaped like Br’er Rabbit, of course! I can’t seem to find this anywhere, though, so if anyone has a copy of it, please feel free to share it below in the comments!)
As the story goes, Splash Mountain’s team won out, and their attraction was built. The fact that it was far less cost prohibitive, and they would be able to re-use some of the old animatronics from America Sings, definitely helped their case (that along with Michael Eisner's son liking the model of the attraction he saw on a tour of WDI).
In the early 1990s, Disneyland Paris considered adding a similar Indiana Jones expansion to their Adventureland, but again, it was too costly to accomplish. Instead, the subpar looping roller coaster Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril was rushed open in 1993 to increase Guest capacity.
Of course, Anaheim did eventually get part of that massive Indiana Jones experience; though, it wasn’t until March of 1995 when Mara began warning Guests not to look into his eye. While still an amazing feat of Imagineering, the Indiana Jones Adventure would have been dwarfed by the original concept design.
[/SIZE][/FONT][CENTER][FONT=verdana][SIZE=3]<img src="http://www.miceshots.com/is.php?i=11694&img=8581indianajonesand.jpg" border="0">[/SIZE][/FONT][/CENTER]
What do you think? Would you have liked the Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition expansion? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
[/SIZE][/FONT][RIGHT][FONT=verdana][SIZE=3]All photos copyright Disney
[HR][/HR][FONT=verdana][SIZE=3][B][I]by Jeff Heimbuch[/I][/B]
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