Last modified on 10 October 2021, at 12:55

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
The entrance sign for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Attraction type Live Show
Theme Indiana Jones
Opening date August 25, 1989
Ride duration 30:00 minutes
Theater Capacity 2000 guests
Disney Genie + Yes

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! is an attraction located in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Attraction History

Early on in the development of Disney-MGM Studios, Imagineers planned on having two stunt shows, one "action" and one "slapstick" [1]. The "action" stunt show would eventually develop into an Indiana Jones themed show. The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular came about as a result of a collaboration between the Walt Disney Company and George Lucas, the creator of the Indiana Jones franchise. Lucas had worked with Disney as early as 1984, when he began developing Captain EO for EPCOT Center [2]. The Lucas/Disney partnership became more prominent in 1989 with the creation of Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! for Disney's newest park, the Disney-MGM Studios [3].

Although originally envisioned as an opening day attraction, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! was deemed unready when the rest of Disney-MGM Studios opened on May 1, 1989 [4]. Both Disney CEO Michael Eisner and George Lucas felt that the show was not yet ready to be seen by guests [5] [6]. Instead of keeping guests out of the attraction altogether however, Disney opened the show for "live rehearsals" [6] until the attraction finally opened in full on August 25, 1989 [6] [7]. On hand for the first public show were both Michael Eisner and George Lucas, who also posed for publicity photos [7].

Since its opening, the attraction has remained essentially unchanged; however in 2000 the stunt show was closed for a six month refurbishment. The closure was done in order to refurbish the sets and ready the attraction for the implementation of Disney's FastPass. According to Show Producer Joe Kivett:

"Guests will see whole scenes rebuilt -- we even have a new airplane. But mostly, the show will reflect the incredible technical advances that weren't around when the show opened [8].

Disney spokesman Craig Dezern also noted that the length of refurbishment was due to the fact that the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! had more special effects and mechanical parts than any other attraction on property [9]. The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! reopened to guests on June 10, 2000. In celebration of the reopening, Disney invited 500 locals with the last name Jones to attend the first performance of the show [8] Following a drop in attendance after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the number of times the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! was performed was dropped from 8 to 5. At this time a large number of actors were also laid off [8] [10].

Attraction Plot

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! gives guests a behind-the-scenes look at some of the stunts performed in the film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Beginning of the Show

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! begins with the casting director inviting three volunteers (who must be at least 18 years old) to come on stage. The director tells them to do their first scene, which involves the volunteers standing on a trap door and screaming as if the door had just opened. After the "scene" is performed the first three volunteers are instructed to go to wardrobe and three new guests are invited onstage. After introducing themselves, the three new volunteers are directed to give three different kinds of laughs. The first volunteer gives a hearty laugh, the second (a woman) gives a “sweet little giggle”, and finally third gives an “evil, menacing, sinister laugh”. Following their performance, the second group of volunteers is also sent to wardrobe. Next, the director asks for a third set of three volunteers, however this time one of the volunteer extras is actually a plant. Each of these volunteers is given a pose to hold. The “plant” struggles to stand on one leg, while the second extra stands like a tough guy, and the third volunteer stands like a boulder is about to fall on them. Although the director asks the crowd if the extras should have to stand like that for a while, she eventually decides to send the group to wardrobe. Finally, before the first scene with Indiana Jones, the middle to left side of the audience is instructed to practice making "ahh" noises and the middle to right "oohs". After this exercise the first scene with Indiana Jones begins.

First Scene

In the first scene of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! an Indiana Jones stunt double performs a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The scene begins the Indiana Jones theme giving way to a mystic chant, and Indiana Jones falling down into the scene. Indy then lowers himself to the ground and searches for booby traps. After realizing that there is pressure-triggered traps on the ground, Indy begins to carefully walk around the traps. Unfortunately, the archaeologist loses his footing and spikes begin to shoot into the air. Although there are few close calls, Indiana Jones is able to get past the traps. After reaching safety, Indy realizes that there is an impaled corpse nearby. Seeing the body he mutters "Forestal" before continuing on.

Moving forward, Indy navigates his way through roots hanging from the ceiling. Suddenly, Indy begins to fall into a pit but luckily he is able to catch himself and swing on the roots to the other side. Back on solid ground, Indy comes face to face with three 8 foot statues that are holding axes above their heads. Although Indy tests the statues by waving his arm in front of them, as he moves forward the second statue drops its ax. Indy then runs past the falling ax of the third statue, before finally reaching the idol he was searching for. After studying the pedestal that the idol sits on, Indy places a sandbag in place of the idol he has taken. As Indy takes the idol however, the pedestal begins to sink into the floor and flames shoot up behind the archaeologist. At this point a large stone door breaks open and a huge boulder begins to roll down the hill. Indy attempts to run away but is overcome and falls under the boulder, ending the scene.

First Intermission

Following the end of the first scene, the stunt double emerges out of the hole in the ground that he dove into to avoid being crushed by the boulder. At this point, the director runs onto the set worried that the double hurt himself performing the stunt. Much to the director’s relief however, the stunt double is fine. After the assistant director introduces himself to the audience, the stunt double begins to talk about the stunt he performed. The stunt double claims that the boulder is very real and that it takes half of the crew to put the boulder in place. As he is making this claim however, two crew members appear and push the boulder by themselves. Despite the fact that the stunt double was just kidding, the assistant director explains that the boulder is really four hundred pounds of rubber and that it could hurt someone if something went wrong. Finally, the director tells the audience that it is time to bring the volunteer extras back on stage.

After their introduction, the extras come onstage dressed as people from Cairo. The assistant director then gives the extras a warm up by practicing emotions and stretching. He then asks one of the extras to volunteer for a scene, only to reveal that it is actually a death scene. The director instructs the volunteer to make his death extra slow, agonizing and Academy Award winning. After giving him these instructions, the casting director uses a prop gun and shoots the extra. After the extra performed his big "death scene", the director begins to set up the attraction's second scene. In this scene, Marion's stunt double will be joining Indy. Finally, the assistant director talks to the set director and stunt coordinator before introducing the director of photography. The assistant director then talks about the dangers of bullwhips with the Indiana Jones stunt double before setting up for the second scene.

Second Scene

The second scene starts with the people of Cairo talking and shopping in the marketplace. A German military truck arrives and the driver gets out and pushes his way through the crowd. A group of Nazis disguised as street performers then move into the crowd and start their routine. They do a few stunts, before they force Indy and Marion into the middle of the performance. As the Nazis begin to throw knives to each other, Indiana realizes that he and Marion are in danger. Although initially Indy uses his whip to fight, he eventually switches to hand to hand contact. In an attempt to get away, Indy and Marion jump from a pulley system onto some scaffolding. When the Nazis attempt to follow, Indy hits them with the pulley stopper, and then rises to the second level of the building. Still pursued by the Nazis, Indy and Marion realize that they are trapped. As the duo fights back, Indy throws one of the Nazis, causing him to fall through the ceiling below. As Indy, Marion, and the Nazis all climb to the third story, once again it looks like the heroes are trapped. Just as things look grim, Marion finds a rope and swings across the roof. Unfortunately, their escape brings them face to face with another set of Nazis. Indy then sees a pole on the roof next to them. At this point in the attraction there are two possible conclusions for the scene.

1. The first outcome is that the duo keeps fighting Nazis as they climb a ladder. At this point a Nazi and the ladder both fall to the ground. Without the ladder, Indy and Marion jump the 30 ft. down to a store room before they then run off.

2. In the second outcome, two Nazis climb the ladder with Indy and Marion. As Indy fights them he accidentally sends Marion sliding down a rope. Undeterred, Indy punches one of the Nazis over the edge of the building. He then comes face to face with a swordsman. As Indy grabs his whip in order to fight the swordsman, he realizes that Marion has been captured by the Nazis. Indy then shoots the swordsman, and kills another Nazi who was shooting at him. The archaeologist then grabs the machine gun and begins to chase the truck. As Indy fires at the truck it explodes.

Second Intermission

At the beginning of the second intermission, the director comes out to make sure that Marion's stunt double is okay. Once it is established that she is, the director begins to lecture the audience about the dangers of explosive stunts. The director then introduces the movie’s demolition supervisor to further explain the dangers of using explosives. The demolitions supervisor then proclaims “Ok. Uh folks when you work with explosives... it's dangerous... thank you". After this humorous warning, the director explains that more stunt men and women are injured during simple fight scenes then when working with explosives. When the director calls on the "plant" volunteer to demonstrate a fighting scene, the actor tries to run away. Due to his actions, instead of having the "tough guy" punch him, Marion's stunt double does it. Marion's double seems to have a hard time timing her fake punches however, and instead seems to actually punch the extra.

Following this demonstration, the director introduces a new stunt actor who will be playing a mechanic in the subsequent scene. The mechanic explains that because he is a stunt actor he is able to play his role through the entire scene. Stunt men on the other hand do stunts for a different actor’s role. The director then talks to Marion's double about the changes he made in the third scene. After this interaction, the third scene begins.

Third Scene

The third scene begins with Indy and Marion hiding behind gasoline barrels and planning their escape. Around the duo, mechanics can be seen moving ammunition and gasoline, as a gunner sits on a nearby rooftop. Suddenly, a motorcycle roars into the scene but then quickly stops. Following the motorcyclist's entrance, a German Flying Wing roars into the scene. The plane lands, and its pilot comes out and begins to argue with the head mechanic. Following the argument, the pilot leaves on the motorcycle, and the head mechanic goes back to supervising the ammunition dump. At this point, Indy and Marion run for the plane. Although Marion is able to get in, Indy is grabbed by the head mechanic. After the mechanic yells at Marion to get out of the plane (she doesn't understand him because he speaks German), he silently challenges Indy to a fight. During the fight, Indy's punches do not seem to have any effect on the mechanic and the archaeologist makes a run for it. Seeing this, the nearby gunner begins to shoot at Indy. At this point Marion gets into the plane’s cockpit but accidentally shuts and locks the door. The mechanic then tells the gunner to stop shooting and he resumes his fight with Indy, eventually knocking him down. Marion then accidentally hits the plane's controls and the plane begins to move.

As the plane moves out of control, its wings hit a gasoline tanker and oil begins to pour on the ground. Marion then takes control of the planes' machine gun and shoots at the gunner. Although she is able to kill him, she also ignites the stored gasoline. At this point Indy is able to break free from the mechanic and he rushes into the plane to help Marion. The mechanic pursues Indy and eventually throws the hero onto the plane's wings. Seeing this, Marion starts using the machine gun as the plane keeps spinning. This causes a nearby truck's engine to explode, although she also manages to hit a few of the Nazis on the ground. Next, the mechanic pushes Indy towards one of the plane's propellers, and although Indy is able to get away he still cannot hurt the mechanic with his fists. Despite the fact that the mechanic seems to have the upper hand, he is too busy taunting Indy to see that the plane is circling around again. The plane's propeller then hits the mechanic, killing him. Seeing this, Indy tells Marion how to stop the plane and he tries to open the door before the storage area and gasoline truck set on fire. As the fire races towards a gasoline tanker near Indy and Marion's plane, Indy shoots the lock and pulls Marion out, before jumping onto the ground. The duo then jumps over the flames as they get closer to the tanker. Even though the fire hits the tanker and explodes, Indy and Marion are able to get away just in time.

Watch the Show

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • The show has Indy steal a golden idol that is an exact replica of the one used in Raiders of the Lost Ark [11]
  • The boulder used in the show is 12 feet in diameter and 440 pounds [11].
  • Outside the show is a well with a sign saying, “Warning: Do Not Pull Rope”. If guests pull on the rope, they will hear a man stuck at the bottom of the well.
  • Near the exits of the show are the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost and an outdoor booth themed to look like a truck. Both locations sell Indiana Jones merchandise.


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