In 1994, Sea World (Gold Coast, Australia) did a makeover to the “Lassiter’s Lost Mine” dark ride. Keeping the same ride system, the ride got new sets with two volcanoes hiding the show building, one of which spewed fire at regular intervals. On ride, the new theme was that we were researching the mysterious Bermuda Triangle and stumbled upon an alien base. Various effects such as flooding, pepper ghosts illusion and animatronics were used. The finale involved a large lift hill and at the top, we would reach the top of the volcano. Powerful flame throwers would go off over us and then we would drop outside.
1995 saw Disneyland open its first indoor attraction with live fire effects, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Set somewhere in India in 1935, we will explore the famed temple of Mara and try to reach one of the 3 chambers: the Chamber of Earthly Riches, The Fountain of Youth or the Observatory of the Future. Alas… Mara is a rather haughty god and will get very mad if someone dare look into his eyes. For that reason, Indiana Jones and Sallah (his friend, seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) covered every eyes of Mara in the temple except for a statue in a deeper chamber.
The waiting line is quite legendary for being among the longest ever built. This was for practical reasons as the only space for the huge show building was on the old Eeyore parking lot. To that end, the Jungle Cruise river was moved to allow an outdoor waiting line and a decorative temple to be constructed. That temple leads to an hallway like this one.
When the attraction opened, guests were given “decrypting cards” where they could translate the various messages in the waiting line. Notice how this representation of Mara had the eyes damaged to make it safe to look at.
The ceiling of the room before the preshow video is incredible.
One of the skeleton in the waiting line.
After boarding our troop transport, which is a highly advanced “Enhanced Motion Vehicle” (EMV), we proceed to the seatbelt check and then into the temple… After Mara examines our heart and decide what we truly desire, we then proceed toward one of three door and then into the Hall of Premise. While it appears there are 3 Hall of Premise, it is in reality one and various lighting and other effects used to make it look different on which chamber we were promised.
At the end of the Hall of Premise is an uncovered carving of Mara and he will eventually say something among the lines of: You looked into my eyes! Your path now leads to the Gates of Doom! He has a very angry tone of voice and he takes control of the troop transport, taking us past our reward and toward the gates of doom! Fortunately for us, Indiana Jones who had been missing for days inside the temple has already blocked one door with some artifacts and he is desperately holding the other door of the Gates closed. He then warns us about huge steps and then we finally reach the area that concerns us: the Cave of Bubbly Death.
The Cave of Bubbly Death is one of the largest dark ride scene ever created and rivaled only by the legendary battle scene in Pirates of the Caribbean. You can have 3 transports going through portions of it at once and each will gain the attention of a giant skull that shoots lasers from its burning eye. In addition to that fire effect, there was an additional one at the top of the lava pit right under where we first emerge from the Gates of Doom. The third fire is located to our left when we dodge the giant Cobra on the edge of the lava pit.
Disneyland provided us with this great shot of one of the Troop Transport on the bridge in the Cavern of Bubbly Death. https://disneyland.disney.go.com/
A second Indiana Jones Adventure attraction opened in 2001 at Tokyo DisneySea (Urayasu, Japan) with a different theme and name. The basic attraction layout is the same, but Walt Disney Imagineering evolved the concept further and made it a compliment to the other opening day flagship attraction. Journey to the Center of the Earth use the WDI “Slot Car” dark ride technology and take riders down to the center of the earth. Naturally, this involves lava and a Fire effect, so for the new Temple of the Crystal Skull, we are now searching for the Fountain of Youth inside a Mayan pyramid in the Lost River Delta. In that optic, the palette of rich and warm colors was swapped out for calm and soothing colors throughout the attraction. The Crystal Skull here is not some Alien skull, but the protector of the Fountain of Youth and it serves a similar role to Mara in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
Welcome to the Lost River Delta!
This river cuts through the land.
The Temple of the Crystal Skull.
Attached to the Temple is the Yucatan Base Camp Grill. It is where the workers busy in the Temple eat.
If you take the time to explore the Base Camp Grill, you will incredible references to the attraction such as this one.
The roof of the main chamber in the waiting line.
What lies at the bottom of the room…
The giant Crystal Skull still shoot lasers around the main room, but there is no fire in use inside the attraction. Instead, the bottom of the cave is plunged in a perpetual storm and a real Tornado fills the center of the room. It is an incredible effect and not something you would expect in the middle of a dark ride. The new shades and lighting make it a great compliment to Journey of the Center of the Earth and it is one of the thing people don’t readily notice when they visit the park.
Among other differences between the two, the sets are in general larger and more elaborate in the Temple of the Crystal Skull. The problematic scene where rats are projected on a smoke screen in California was replaced by a more reliable effect: a large omnious statue is in front of us and after a speech, a smoke ring lighted in orange is shot at the jeep. Simple and more effective. The scene where painted statues shot darts at the troop transport received actual statues in Tokyo. Last, the 3 Indiana Jones audio-animatronics are much closer to the actual representation of Harrison Ford.