The success of Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida, George Lucas decided to join forces with Disney in creating a new attraction for Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. Unlike the previous collaboration, this attraction was created with a backstory "set in the Lost Delta of India, circa 1935.
Indiana Jones Adventure is the third collaboration between WDI and Lucasfilm, after the Disneyland attractions Captain EO and Star Tours.
Several early concepts were considered including a walk-through adventure and a high-speed mine car adventure within a temple. To avoid a long queue, Imagineers considered using Jungle Cruise launches to shuttle guest to the loading area.
Groundbreaking began for Forbidden Eye in August of 1993. More than 400 imagineers worked on its design and construction, with a core team of nearly 100. It entailed rerouting the Jungle Cruise attraction, the creation of 0.5 mile of queue area, demolishing an area of the former "Eeyore" parking lot and building a 50,000 square foot structure to house the ride itself.
Forbidden Eye debuted on March 3, 1995. Among the celebrated guests were George Lucas, Michael Eisner, Dan Aykroyd, and Carrie Fisher.
Interestingly enough, the voice of the attraction is not Harrison Ford, but David Temple, a Hollywood voiceover talent, who, at that time, had been relatively undiscovered. But after answering an audition call, his agent submitted him for the role. Temple turned it down at first, saying he wasn't even sure if he could impersonate Ford. After several callbacks, and dozens of Hollywood's finest voices, Temple said he'd give it one more try. "What did it for me was coming to the point where I realized, while watching a video of Mr. Ford's work, was not as much about his voice, as it was about how he moved his mouth while speaking; I mimicked the movement's of his mouth, threw away some of the things I was trying to copy, and voila--I got it." In that moment, David Temple not only snagged the job, but got an agent out of the deal, made a tidy little sum, and went on to pursue his voiceover career, which he enjoys to this day.
To promote the opening of the ride the Disney Channel produced an hour-long TV program entitled Indiana Jones Adventure featuring Karen Allen and John Rhys-Davies reprising their roles from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Artist Drew Struzan produced a one-sheet poster in the same theme as the films.
The attraction was sponsored by AT&T. "It’s great to have AT&T as presenting sponsor," said Disneyland President Paul Pressler. "With Disneyland celebrating its 40th Anniversary and preparing to open its most exciting attraction, we welcome the opportunities this relationship is sure to create.
Temple of the Forbidden Eye (Disneyland): According to the storyline given in a newsreel shown before you board the attraction, a new shrine (somewhere in India) has been discovered, full of artifacts and treasures as well as an ancient curse. The curse of Mara, it is told, will offer all who came to the hallowed site one of three magical gifts: Earthly Riches, Eternal Youth or Future Knowledge. Good fortune has come to those who survive, but for those who look into the eye of Mara, a gruesome demise is imminent.
Temple of the Crystal Skull (Tokyo DisneySea): The attraction is set in the area of the park called Lost River Delta, which represents somewhere in South America. The storyline is similar. This time Indiana Jones is looking for the Fountain of Youth, and the guardian of this temple is the Crystal Skull.
Guests board a dark ride type vehicle, designed to look like a World War II troop transport, running along a single central track. There are three rows of seats, with each row accommodating up to four guests, the left-most seat in the front row having access to a non-operational steering wheel.
Each troop transport is basically a miniature motion simulator known as an enhanced motion vehicle that travels along a track. The transport "shell" sits on top of a chassis that moves along the track at about 12 miles per hour. Hydraulics built into the chassis cause the shell to shudder, bank, and twist, creating a physically intense experience.
This ride system was invented for the Indiana Jones Adventure, and has only been implemented in two other rides—DINOSAUR, located at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, and its Tokyo DisneySea counterpart, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull.
In addition to dialogue and sound effects, an orchestral soundtrack plays through the speakers built into the troop transports. This medley contains segments of John Williams' original scores for the first two Indiana Jones movies, rescored and re-recorded to sync up with the perils of the ride. The "Raiders's March" and "Ark theme" both feature prominently at various points.
Happy Birthday Indiana Jones Adventure!