Welcome to Disney Extinct Attractions. My name is Cole, and I’ll be your guide on today’s rough and tumble journey through Adventureland.
Last week, Disney held its earnings call for the fourth quarter of the 2018 fiscal year and announced that a live-action series focused on Cassian Andor would be a part of the Disney streaming service, now titled Disney+. This news came as a surprise to a lot of us, but to me, it was a very pleasant one because I am excited to see Cassian’s journey from a child involved in the Rebel Alliance all the way through how we see him in Rogue One. I also think it’s a great idea to be focusing on some of these Star Wars stories through TV shows, as opposed to films, because it will help the films feel fresher, while still providing some great additional background information.
Lucasfilm and the Disney Company have had such a strong relationship for so many years, dating all the way back to when George Lucas helped create Captain EO in 1986 and Star Tours in 1987 (well before Disney purchased it). With the success of these attractions, plans began to create an Indiana Jones-themed miniland inside of Adventureland at Disneyland. That’s right, not just an attraction, but an entire highly-themed area all dedicated to everyone’s favorite archaeologist.
You can get a feel for how massive this area was going to be by taking a look at this photo that shows an overview of the area. Within this massive, primarily indoor miniland called Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition, guests would have found two attractions inside of what was referred to primarily as a temple.
First, there was going to be a mine cart attraction very similar to the one that film audiences everywhere saw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Honestly, watching the film, the mine cart scene looked and felt like a roller coaster, so it was pretty much a no-brainer to include it in the fun.
Additionally, there were plans for a jeep attraction that may sound pretty familiar to those who frequent Disneyland. This jeep would have travailed through the entire complex and left guests on the edge of their seats as they were bounced around, barely avoiding all kinds of dangers. While these attractions sound incredible, the coolest part to me is the land was going to feature even more little elements to really involve it with all of Adventureland.
Guests on the Jungle Cruise would have had a chance to enter the temple themselves. While it doesn’t really fit with the animals of the attraction, I think it would have been really cool to tie it in with the rest of the land. It certainly would have served as a great preview that got people excited to ride the E-Ticket attractions that were featured there.
Additionally, the Disneyland Railroad also would have passed through the temple, an element that I love for adding that sneak peek again. The train doesn’t quite fit in there, as well, but it was almost hidden away up in the rafters of the temple, so it would have functioned a lot like it does on Splash Mountain.
What is most impressive to me is that all of these elements would have fit into one show building. That would have to be one of the biggest buildings ever created in Disney’s history. I can only imagine trying to take in everything that was happening all around you. There would have much so much kinetic energy involved, so it is really sad that the entire Expedition never came to fruition.
While Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition was in development, there was an internal Imagineering battle raging because of the competing project that ultimately became Splash Mountain. Eventually, then CEO Michael Eisner decided that he wanted to proceed with Splash Mountain, so Indy was shelved for the time being. However, the entire project wasn’t a complete loss because we have seen various aspects of it appear throughout the years.
The first Indiana Jones ride in a Disney Park actually debuted at Disneyland Paris in 1993. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril brought the mine cart attraction from the Lost Expedition to life. While the coaster primarily spends its time outside of the temple and doesn’t have much to really do with Indiana Jones, it still shows that a good idea in Imagineering never really dies.
On March 3, 1995, the Indiana Jones Adventure debuted at Disneyland. This attraction seems like it is almost exactly what was planned for the Lost Expedition, and it certainly is one of the most technologically advanced attractions ever created. Even with it being over 20 years old, it still stands out for how incredibly detailed and sophisticated it is.
In fact, Indy made his way into a lot of Adventureland with his own store and a lot of small references scattered throughout the land. My favorites are the crates labeled to a certain Henry Jones in the queue for the Jungle Cruise.
Indiana Jones Adventure also inspired a nearly identical attraction to debut in Tokyo DisneySea when that park opened in 2001. Furthermore, this attraction also has a mine cart roller coaster near it, so it is like the Lost Expedition managed to live on in some small way.
Bringing everything together, while it is sad that we never got Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition to come to full fruition in the parks, at least we got bits and pieces of it to appear throughout the years. (Though there are rumors that we may be seeing an entire Indiana Jones Land appear in Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom, but that seems a bit of the way off considering Galaxy’s Edge isn’t open yet.)
With that, let’s take a look at what’s coming next week.
- One of these attractions appeared as a show in Disneyland’s sister park.
- One of these attractions was a play area in a movie-themed park.
- Both of these attractions helped guests feel smaller than life.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.