Today in Disney History, 1995: Indiana Jones Adventure Opening Ceremony

by | Mar 3, 2024 | Disney History, Disneyland, Disneyland Parks

While the Indiana Jones Adventure opening didn’t happen until March 4, 1995, at Disneyland Park, Disney celebrated the opening the day prior with a star-studded event.

Fans of Indiana Jones can find experiences with the iconic characters in Disney Parks around the world. At Walt Disney World, the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is a thrilling look behind the scenes at the stunts performed in the franchise. But, in Disneyland, you can be placed right into the action onboard the Indiana Jones Adventure.

Indiana Jones Adventure Opening

Whilet he dark ride can currently be found at both Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea, the original of the two premiered at Disneyland as Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Indiana Jones Adventure opened to the general public on March 4, 1995, but it had its grand opening the day prior.

The Indiana Jones Adventure opening was a star-studded event. George Lucas was on hand to welcome the first riders, which included stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dan Aykroyd, Wayne Gretzky, and Dennis Miller. You can catch a video from the opening day below!

To promote the attraction’s opening, the Disney Channel produced a half-hour-long television program called Indiana Jones Adventure. It featured Karen Allen and John Rhys-Davies, each reprising their roles from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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Photo by Danny Shuster

The attraction was created through a collaboration between George Luca and Walt Disney Imagineering, taking guests on a state-of-the-art vehicle that transports guests through the jungle, where they’re confronted with the eyes of the deity Mara. The innovative ride vehicle is one that Disney would later use on the other coast, when it was feautred as part of Dinosaur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When Indiana Jones Adventure first opened, it was the largest attraction at Disneyland, increasing the size of Adventureland by a whopping 33%.

The Ride Today

In 2024, the ride is celebrating its 24th anniversary, marking nearly a quarter of a century since it first opened at Disneyland. In 2020, the Play Disney Parks app added an in-queue experience for tha ttraction, allowing you to decode ancienty glyphs, symbols, and codes throughout the line for the ride. Last year in 2023, the ride underwent a three-month refurbishment, where audio-animatronics and projections were freshened up. One of the biggest additions was a new projected scene of a tunnel collapsing, which replaced the original rat cave scene.

The ride is still a popular addition to Disneyland Resort, allowing guests to experience the franchise in an incredible way. In 2001, a nearly identical version of the ride, Temple of the Crystal Skull, was opened in Tokyo DisneySea. While a version of the ride has never opened in Walt Disney World, Disney has explored ways to bring the famous archaeologist to the parks in Florida.

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Concept art for Animal Kingdom expansion. Photo Courtesy of Disney

In 2023 at the D23 Expo, Disney shared concept art for a potential reimagining of DinoLand, U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The concept art featured an Indiana Jones attraction to potentially replace Dinosaur. Considering the ride has the same vehicle as Indiana Jones Adventure, it would certainly be an easier way to reimagine the nearly 26-year-old attraction. We’ll have to wait and see if that blue sky concept comes to be a reality!

Posts by Morgan Flaherty

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Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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Authored by
Morgan Flaherty

Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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