Description And Comments

This is a combination track ride and motion simulator. You ride a military troop-transport vehicle; in addition to moving along its path, the vehicle bucks and pitches (the simulator part) in sync with the visuals and special effects. Though the plot is complicated and not altogether clear, the bottom line is that if you look into the Forbidden Eye, you're in big trouble. The Forbidden Eye, of course, stands out like Rush Limbaugh in a diaper, and everybody stares at it. The rest of the ride consists of a mad race to escape the temple as it collapses around you. In the process, you encounter snakes, spiders, lava pits, rats, swinging bridges, and the house-sized granite bowling ball that everyone remembers from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Indiana Jones ride is a Disney masterpiece--nonstop action from the beginning to end with brilliant visual effects. Elaborate even by Disney standards, the attraction provides a level of detail and variety of action that make use of the entire Imagineering arsenal of high-tech gimmickry. Combining a setting as rich as Pirates of the Caribbean with a ride that rivals Star Tours, Indiana Jones is a powerhouse. Recently, the attraction was upgraded with dazzling digital projection effects that bring the idol in the opening chamber to life.

Sophisticated in its electronic and computer applications, Indiana Jones purports to offer a different experience on each ride. According to the designers, there are veritable menus of special effects that the computer can mix and match. In practice, however, we could not see much difference from ride to ride. There are, no doubt, subtle variations, but the ride is so wild and frenetic that it's hard to apprehend subtlety. Between explosions and falling rocks your poor fried brain simply does not register nuance. If you ride twice and your date says, "The rat on the beam winked at me that time," it's probably a good idea to get away from Disneyland for a while.

The adventure begins in the queue. When you ultimately work your way into the attraction area, you'll find yourself at the site of an archaeological expedition with a Temple of Doom entrance beckoning only 50 feet away. After crossing a wooden bridge, you finally step into the temple. The good news is that you are out of the California sun. The bad news is that you have just entered Indiana Jones's indoor queuing area, a system of tunnels and passageways extending to within 50 yards of the Santa Monica pier.

Fortunately, the queuing area is interesting. You wind through caves, down the interior corridors of the temple, and into subterranean rotundas where the archaeologists have been hard at work. Along the way there are various surprises, (be sure to disregard any 'DO NOT TOUCH' signs you see on supporting poles or safety ropes) as well as a succession of homilies etched in an "ancient" language on the temple walls. During our first visit we decoded the messages with feverish intensity, hoping to find one that translated to "restrooms." Trust us on this one: do not chug down Diet Cokes before you get in line for this attraction.

You will eventually stumble into a chamber where a short movie will explain the plot. From there it's back into the maze and finally on to the loading area.

Touring Tips

Indiana Jones stays fairly mobbed all day. Try to ride during the first hour the park is open or use FASTPASS. Another alternative, if you don't mind riding alone, is to take advantage of the single rider line. Guests from the single rider line are tapped, one at a time, to fill any odd seats remaining in the ride vehicles before they are dispatched. Generally the wait for guests in the single rider line is about one-third that of guests in the regular queue. Be forewarned that the single rider line at Indiana Jones is a bit of a maze, requiring you to negotiate your way up the exit ramp, up one elevator, across a walkway over the track, then down another elevator to the loading area.

During the first hour or so the park is open, Indiana Jones cast members often employ a line management technique known as stacking. Simply stated, they allow the line for Indiana Jones to form outside of the attraction, leaving the cavernous inside queuing area virtually empty. Guests, of course, assume that the attraction is packed to the gills and that the outside line is overflow. Naturally, this discourages guests from getting in line. The reality is that the wait is not nearly as bad as it looks, and that it is probably as short as it will be all day. If you arrive in the park early and the Indiana Jones line appears huge, have the rest of your party get in line while you enter Indiana Jones through the attraction exit and check out the inside queue. If it is empty or sparsely populated, stacking is being practiced. Join your party in line and enjoy the attraction; your wait will be comparatively short. If the inside queue is bumper to bumper, try Indiana Jones later or use Fastpass or the single-rider line. Stacking is also sometimes practiced during the hour just before the park closes.

There is one other thing you should know. Indiana Jones, because it is high-tech, breaks down a lot. The Disney people will announce that the ride is broken but usually will not estimate how long repairs will take. From our experience, most glitches are resolved in approximately 15 to 30 minutes, and probably the best advice is to stick it out.

If you miss Indiana Jones in the early morning and the FASTPASSes are all gone, use the single rider line or try again during a parade or Fantasmic!, or during the hour before the park closes. Regarding the latter, like every attraction in Disneyland, cast members will admit anyone to the attraction who is in line at closing time.

Indiana Jones Adventure Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for Indiana Jones Adventure when you visit on a day with a given Disneyland Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Indiana Jones Adventure Wait Times.

Special Comments

Though the Indiana Jones ride is wild and jerky, the motion has been somewhat toned down since its debut, and it is primarily distinguished by its visual impact and realistic special effects. Thus, we encourage the over-50 crowd to give it a chance: we think you'll like it. As for children, most find the ride extremely intense and action-packed but not particularly frightening. We encountered very few children who met the 46-inch minimum-height requirement who were in any way intimidated.

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