Today In Disney History: The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Opens

Britta StephensBlog, Hollywood Studios, News

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular Sign

“The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!” the classic experience at Hollywood Studios first opened today in 1989 and has been thrilling guests ever since.

So, let’s dig in (pun absolutely intended) and find the treasure behind one of Hollywood Studios’ longest-running experiences.

History In Front Of Your Eyes

While Indiana Jones wasn’t exactly an opening day show (it was close), it is still one of the longest-enduring shows with no actual refurbishments. 

True, some sets and props may have been updated, but it is still a 99% representation of what you would have seen when it first opened in 1989

Indiana Jones Stunt Kick Plane with cross

The insignias on the planes and other props were changed. Photo by Cliff Wang

It is important to note that Disney did change certain elements regarding the villains of the show, namely removing inappropriate imagery (in 2004, Nazi swastikas on various vehicles and uniforms were replaced by a stylized Greek Cross).

There was a small period of six months in 2000 to update technology (the queue and FastPass+ system) but the events and script still remain the same.

If you want to test this theory, you can turn on Hulu or any streaming platform which shows Full House.

The episode, “The House Meets The Mouse,” uses the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular in a very important part of the plot where DJ is seeing Steve in every scene. 

boulder scene indiana jones stunt

Don’t get caught under the boulder, Indy! Photo by Mike Billick

She even falls for the age-old joke when “Indiana” gets stuck beneath the boulder!

In the episode, you will see the amphitheater which sits around 2,000, the outside stunt area, the sets (which weighed around 100 tons), the giant rolling boulder (12 feet in diameter and weighed around 440 pounds). 

True to MGM History

Hollywood Studios was originally founded as Disney-MGM Studios Park. This meant every ride and experience had to bring you into the movies, as seen with classic attractions like the Great Movie Ride. 

If you could be part of the story, then you could go home and tell your friends and family that you walked alongside Indiana Jones.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular Plane on Fire

How would you like to be part of this? Photo by Brett Svenson

But how do you do that when such dangerous stunts are involved?

You seek volunteers

While it is clear that some of the show’s volunteers are actually plants in the crowd, every audience member gets the chance to be part of the action.

Just be really enthusiastic about getting picked, and you could be on stage!

While not everyone gets picked to be part of the action, the show will likely make you want to come back for the chance to square off against Dr. Jones’ foes alongside other rough-and-tumble stuntmen.

You bring the magic for those who are looking

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a background character just wandering the streets and suddenly find yourself part of the story, then keep an eye out for the well outside of the Stunt Spectacular. 

You will be able to identify it by the sign requesting that you please not pull the rope.

But, you have to ask yourself, what would Indiana Jones do?

You let people see it for themselves

The first scene of the Epic Stunt Spectacular is a very familiar one.

indiana jones grabbing idol off the altar

Indiana has to get the idol from the altar! Photo by Cliff Wang

From the boulder to the exact replica of the golden idol, you are part of the audience watching a “real-life” Indiana Jones from Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

While some places might have just thrown any idol on the altar, the Imagineers at Disney knew that their audience deserved that extra mile.

And you start a trend

This experience sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

You sit in an auditorium while the show plays out in front of you. Some ask for participants while others bring everyone in on the action… If it sounds like you might recognize it, you might be right. 

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular was one of the first experiences of its kind—it sent shockwaves of innovation through the theme park industry.

You will see its influence across Disney Parks, and even across the street at Universal Studios!

An Original That is Here to Stay

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular jeep blowing up

This show is full of epic, spectacular stunts! Photo by Cliff Wang

There are some experiences at Disney which will always remain in our hearts.

Whether they are gone (the Ear-ful Tower or The Great Movie Ride) or new (Slinky Dog Dash).

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is one of the oldest experiences in Hollywood Studios history, with some of the largest moving sets in the four parks.

Every inch is labored over with the extreme care and dedication by the Imagineers, which makes this stunt show one of the most exhilarating and truest of Disney experiences.

The show frequently meets it’s maximum, so be sure to keep an eye on the sign outside its home near Echo Lake and mark the time down on your to-do list. You won’t regret it!

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About the Author

Britta Stephens

Britta Stephens is a contributing writer for WDW Magazine, Disney blogger, hairstylist, and dog mom x2. The first book she ever read was Hans Christan Anderson’s The Little Mermaid and she's been a fan of Disney endings ever since. When she’s not fostering kittens, she can be found reading literature from a dog’s perspective and singing the opening of The Lion King to her greenhouse plants.