1. Disneyland’s Indiana Jones ride debuted nearly 20 years ago! It opened on March 3, 1995.
2. However, an Indy-themed ride opened in Disneyland Paris before the Anaheim version, in 1993. It’s called Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, and is a rollercoaster-style ride.
3. There’s also a version in Tokyo’s Disneyland called Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull which opened in 2001. It is more similar to the stateside ride.
4. The ride took about seven years to concept and build, and cost Disney about $100 million.
The ride was also supposed to be part of its own sort of mini-land: The original idea was to have the Adventure ride plus a mine cart rollercoaster, with portions of the Jungle Cruise and Railroad intersecting the area.
5. The Mercedes vehicle stationed in the ride queue is an actual prop from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
6. The ride’s building measures 50,000 square feet.
For some perspective, here is an enormous house of the same size.
7. At the beginning of the ride, the transport vehicles enter the Chamber of Destiny where the car will go through one of three doors. While it may appear that there are three different paths, there is in fact one track.
After Mara has chosen your “gift” (to go through either the Fountain of Eternal Youth, Chamber of Earthly Riches, or Observatory of the Future,) the walls rotate to align the chosen path with the ride’s only entrance. Clever.
8. There are over 160,000 ride experiences thanks to the ride’s operating system, which mixes timing of special effects.
But you might not really notice the variations unless you’re looking closely. They’re subtle.
9. When it opened in the ’90s, AT&T sponsored the ride for several years and provided riders with these decoder cards.
(But you can still see the decoding key inscribed on a rock outside the Temple.)
10. During the ride’s first couple years of operation, it was so jerky that 300 visitors reported injuries within a three year period.
11. The ride breaks down. A LOT. (Here a rider takes video after a breakdown with lights on and no sound.)
There are a lot of supposed reasons why, but the main reason appears to be that it’s simply one of the park’s most complicated, most high-tech rides. It has A LOT of moving parts.
12. When in line, you’ll notice the lights flicker, as if run on a gas generator. However, if the ride has broken down, the lights come on constantly.
13. Inside the ride, there are over 168,000 square feet of hand-carved surfaces.
14. The ride can apparently accommodate up to 2,400 people per hour.
15. The Imagineer craftsmen who worked on the ride’s set used techniques to make the walls and surfaces appear as though they had been exposed to humidity, moisture, and heat — so you would believe it actually WAS old.
16. The ride and queue surroundings contain over 2,000 skulls. (They’re replicas, not real human ones!)
17. As you walk through the line, you’ll pass Indy’s office — look closely and you’ll see a copy of a Life magazine with Mickey on the front.
18. There are several hidden Mickeys you can spot in the line and on the ride.
Nine in total, according to FindingMickey.
19. There have been two refurbishments. One in 2012 to enhance lighting and effects, and again in 2013 to make Mara even cooler-looking with “mapping technology.”
This from the OC Register: “But Disneyland has managed to make Mara look angrier through mapping technology, which debuted Wednesday. Now riders, when creeping up the hall toward him, look into his eyes – as they always seem to do – his face changes color and appears to look like it’s awash in blood.” Mara’s voice was also changed during this refurb.