In the spring on 1995 Disneyland opened up the highly anticipated Indiana Jones Adventure. I was fortunate enough to work there just as they were finishing up the attraction. One weekday evening our lead on the Jungle Cruise came by and asked if I wanted to stay for a few extra hours after the park closed for a special project. He didn't mention what it was but I volunteered. After the park closed and our attraction was closed down for the night several other CM's from around the park gathered in front of the indy que area. There were a few upper management people there too, getting our names written down and our approximate weight. Then they escorted us inside the que of the attraction and we were all spellbound by what we were seeing. Eventualy we get to the ride loading area and they has us all split us into groups according to our weight class. The heaviest CM's were in one group, the lightest in another, the rest of us medium weights were in the largest group. They then seated us on board one of the jeeps and strapped us in. The first trial was done without the hyrdaulics, going at about 5 mph. No special affects, no music, no sound. Just a plain run. It was still kinda cool although we were all looking at each other saying "this is it?". After we get back to the loading area again they sent us through again, this time some of the effects were working, but now the maintenance lights were on, which revealed alot of stuff that most people will never see. They did these test runs over and over again, changing a few things here and there. By the time we had ridden it the tenth time we were starting to get bored. There were still no hydraulics on so we just assumed it the jeeps would run through the ride without much fuss. Pretty soon they had us get out and they sent the jeep though the ride alone. As it drove off we noticed sounds comming from the speakers on the jeeps now. By the time the jeep came back the people in the suits asked us if we were ready to ride the "real" ride now. We loaded back up and they sent us through the ride in it's normal show mode, with effects in place, sound playing and hydraulics rocking. The first ride was so insanely rough and wild. We were literally holding on for fear of being thrown off. When we came back they asked if it was too harsh and we all agreed that the ride was a bit rough. We rode it a few more times and then that was the end of our fun.
The week before it opened to the public there was a private party, a celebrity/media event in which all of the west side of the park was decked out with all kinda of buffet tables and other nice things. There was a full bar set up in front of the Pirates entrance and a dance floor also set up. I got to work during the event, taking the occasional group of celebrities and their families on the Jungle Cruise. It was a very fun evening.
On opening day it was a true madhouse. The line for Indy was insanely long. It reminded me of the Star Tours lines when it first opened, with the end of the lines somewhere down at the end of Main Street. The wait times in those first few days were anywhere from 3-5 hours. The attraction would break down on a regular basis, causing some unpleasant situations with guests already angry at having to wait in line for so long. The line would snake though Adventureland with period "breaks" to allow cross traffic to cut through the line. Working on Indy guest control was a challenge, but a fun challenge. You either worked on the crossovers or you walked the line with a measuring stick, which had the height requirement on it. You would go down the line and if you saw any kids that might not make it you would go up to the kid and see. If they were not tall enough they were given an Indy sticker and you told the parents they couldn't ride. Most were o.k. with it, some were not. I dreaded working that position. The other position was holding another tall pole with the Indy sign on it and a sign that indicated "line begins here". All you did was stay at the end of the line so you could show guests were to get in line if they wanted to.
When I see the lines on Indy now I always remember that first hectic year and despite the attractions popularity it is still nowhere near as bad as it used to be. I'm sure some old school Star Tours CM's will tell you the same things.
Anyways, that's my Indy stories. Hope you like em.