Disney Almost Had an Entire Land Dedicated to Indiana Jones

in Disneyland Resort

harrison ford as indiana jones

Credit: Lucasfilm

“Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”

Indiana Jones is one of the most iconic movie franchises of all time and it’s incredible to think how popular the movies still are today despite the fact that the very first one, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), was released more than 40 years ago.

indiana jones and the temple of doom 1984
Credit: Lucasfilm

Did you know that Disney Imagineers once considered an entire land dedicated to Indiana Jones?

Twitter user @WeirdlandTales posted some concept art for a planned ride at Disneyland Resort titled Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition.

1980s concept art for a planned Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, to be called, Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition.

According to SF Gate, the ride was supposed to be the anchor attraction in a land dedicated solely to Indiana Jones at Disneyland Park.

Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition would have been housed in a single, massive show building. Inside, four attractions would be taking place simultaneously. The first was a Jeep ride that took you through iconic scenes from the movies. Next was the minecart attraction, a high-speed roller coaster with indoor and outdoor components. Summoned to get to Indy’s aid, guests would have zipped through deadly ruins and bubbling lava pits, coming to a stop as a flood nearly engulfed them; in the nick of time, an animatronic Jones would have appeared to hustle the cars to safety.

The third and fourth attractions were the Disneyland railroad and the Jungle Cruise, both of which would need major modifications to their current tracks to integrate seamlessly into the Indiana Jones experience.

indiana jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull harrison ford
Credit: Lucasfilm

Unfortunately, plans fell through as Disneyland looked at the price of construction and the logistics of pulling off such an immersive experience.

Eventually, Disneyland Resort did open an attraction based on the movie franchise in Indiana Jones Adventure. Debuting in 1995, the ride is still one of the most popular attractions in the Park today.

indiana jones adventure
Credit: D23

Disneyland Resort’s official description of Indiana Jones Adventure reads:

An Ancient Legend

Follow Indy’s footsteps into the crumbling Temple of the Forbidden Eye past intricate booby traps. Inspect carvings and frescos that tell the story of Mara, a powerful deity who promises great treasures—and vengeance to those foolish enough to gaze into its all-seeing eyes.

Brave Unimaginable Perils

Board a rugged troop transport and enter the Chamber of Destiny. Confront inconceivable dangers, like precarious precipices over molten lava, screaming mummies, swarms of giant insects, spear-throwing wraiths, collapsing bridges, slithering snakes—and a massive rolling boulder.  

If you find yourself in jeopardy, only one man is brave enough—or crazy enough—to save you… Dr. Jones!

Know Before You Go

Indiana Jones Adventure is neither a roller coaster nor a typical slow-speed attraction like Haunted Mansion. You’ll board a 12-person vehicle for a fast-paced thrill ride that realistically simulates quick driving over rough terrain. 

Indiana Jones Adventure
Credit: Disney

It’s amazing to imagine how differently things could’ve been had the Indiana Jones land been created.

While we weren’t able to see the land come to fruition, Disney fans did get some good news at Walt Disney World Resort earlier this month. After much anticipation, Disney’s Hollywood Studios officially reopened the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! which had been closed since the pandemic started.

indiana jones stunt show explosion
Credit: Disney

In addition, a fifth installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, with Harrison Ford  reprising his role as famed archaeologist Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., is currently in the works. The film has, however, faced numerous setbacks, including the recent death of a crew member during filming. Ford is also known in the world of Disney for his role as Han Solo in Star Wars.

indiana jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull harrison ford
Credit: Lucasfilm

Furthermore, there are rumors that the Lucasfilm franchise could continue to expand with Chris Pratt (Star-Lord/Peter Quill, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)) in the role of a young Indiana Jones. This remains completely unconfirmed, however, and if Ford has anything to say about it, it won’t happen. The legendary actor has previously stated that “Indy dies with me.”

Would you have enjoyed an Indiana Jones Disney land?

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