4 Explosive Facts About Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

by | Oct 8, 2021 | Hollywood Studios, WDW Blog

Check out these four dynamite facts about the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! .

Much like the ancient artifacts that archaeologist Dr. Jones finds on his globe-trotting travels, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! is a remnant of a bygone era. Most theme park attendees these days prefer virtual dark rides with 3D graphics and motion seating, but this live show is dazzling enough to still attract hundreds of attendees to every performance.

You’ll find the massive amphitheater for the Indiana Jones stunt show in Disney’s Hollywood Studios close to Echo Lake. The spectacle has been a fixture of the park for over three decades, having entertained multiple generations of fans.

Take a seat and get ready to be dazzled by these four Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! facts. 

1. Directed by a Disney Veteran

It would take a real pro to adapt a big-screen blockbuster like Raiders of the Lost Ark to a live performance—and the park chose Jerry Rees to direct the show. With some help from George Lucas (the film’s co-writer and producer), Rees accomplished this truly spectacular feat.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular Sign

Photo by Cliff Wang

If you haven’t heard of Rees’ name before, you’ve definitely seen his work at Walt Disney World. An animator by trade, Rees helped produce over a dozen multimedia features at Disney parks, such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Extra-TERRORestrial Alien Encounter at the Magic Kingdom

He also worked on Disney films like The Fox and the Hound and on Tron as a visual artist. 

2. Nearly an Original

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! opened in August 1989, a few months after the theatrical release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

(And following its COVID closure, its reopening date is Dec. 19. Merry Christmas!)

indiana-jones-epic-stunt-spectacular!_facts-interactive_billick

Photo by Mike Billick

The show was actually scheduled to launch as one of the first attractions in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (back when it was Disney-MGM Studios Park) when it opened to the public on May 1, 1989.

But, the Imagineers working on the show did not feel that the show was ready for its official opening, so they delayed it for a few more months of fine-tuning and rehearsals.

Now, it’s the oldest attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that’s still active. 

For a while, Indy had been second to The Great Movie Ride, the only attraction remaining from the park’s opening day. But after The Great Movie Ride closed in 2017 to make room for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Dr. Henry Jones took the throne as the oldest figure in the park.

Want to relive the good old days? We’ll be remembering The Great Movie Ride fondly in our February 2022 Cast Member issue. Make sure you subscribe ahead of February to get your copy!

3. A Relic of the Past … That Still Shines

In the three decades since its opening, the show’s stages and contents have remained practically unchanged—like a relic that’s been lost in time. The massive amphitheater seems out of place amid Hollywood Studios’ other far flashier and newer attractions. 

But don’t let its age fool you. Even 30 years later, the show continues to feature some of the most intricate and advanced theatrical technology on display in a live show even to this day.

indiana jones epic stunt spectacular! facts

Photo by Cliff Wang

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! was the first live show to use a computer program to coordinate the pyrotechnics, mechanical components, and other elements to ensure the action is safe for performers—and always a good show for guests.

You’ll also notice that the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! doesn’t just have one set; it has several, with each segment having to shift into place part by part. Each section weighs around 100 tons—and that rolling boulder weighs around 400 pounds. You definitely don’t want that to roll over you.

4. An Amateur Acting Gig

Have you ever wanted to be part of a live theatrical show? The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! could be a good way for you to feel what it’s like being on stage to entertain a huge audience. 

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular jeep blowing up

Photo by Cliff Wang

During each performance, guests from the audience are selected to participate in the show. You must be at least 18 years old to join in the action and be ready to follow directions (don’t worry, you’ll be told what to do before going on stage). 

If you want to participate, make sure you arrive at the amphitheater early and make a ruckus when volunteers are being scouted out

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! continues to be an edge-of-your-seat adventure that thrills attendees to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hopefully these four facts about the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! have given you a new appreciation for this historic stunt show. 


Which is your favorite scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark to see performed live on stage? The rolling boulder? The race through Cairo? The fight by the plane? Let us know on our Facebook page!


Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Reopening Dec. 19

Today in Disney History, 1989: Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

 

Written by Aaron Widmar

Written by Aaron Widmar

Aaron Widmar is a lifelong fan of the artistic and emotional power of animation to tell stories. He was raised on Disney VHS tapes as a child and even as an adult still loves re-watching his favorites. Aaron is a professional writer in a variety of fields, including the automotive industry. Although he and his wife Vicki don’t travel to Walt Disney World as often as they’d like, he can escape to the Disney-themed room of their house whenever he needs creative inspiration.

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