Monday, June 3, 2013

Disneyland Review: Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fast moving fun ride
Cons: Not quite as promised 15 years ago; breaks down frequently
The Bottom Line:
Dash through this temple
And try to get out alive
Still a thrilling ride

"Look Not into the Eyes of Mara."  Oh, Go Ahead.  I Dare You!

I have very clear memories of the opening of Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland in 1995.  I hadn't seen any of the movies yet, but it still sounded cool.  I couldn't wait to go on the ride.  Lines that summer were often over 3 hours.  Now, they are a more reasonable hour long.  Yep, 15 years later this ride is still popular, and with very good reason.

The ride is located in Adventureland with the entrance between the Jungle Cruise and the Tarzan Treehouse.  You can't miss it if you are paying attention because there are always lots of people around the entrance.

This ride uses the FastPass system which gives you a ticket to come back during a pre-selected hour window to wait in a shorter line.  Normal waits can reach an hour or longer on popular days.  There are a limited number of FastPasses for any given day, so if you really want to ride this one (and you do), get there early.

If you don't use FastPass, you'll wind through a line outside the temple for quite a while.  You finally merge with the FastPass people and form one line as you enter the temple.  The ride is about half a mile from the entrance to the temple, but you actually walk most of that now.  The line used to wind through various rooms and there was even a code to decipher on the walls (I never had time even when the lines stopped here).  Now, you just walk past all that on your way to a room with several news reels that explain the premise of the ride and the safety features of the vehicles.

Next, you load onto your 12 passenger jeeps.  You have to be 46 inches tall to ride, and you must transfer from a wheelchair.

The premise of the ride is that Indiana Jones has discovered an ancient temple in India which promises wealth, wisdom, or youth to those who venture inside.  But if you look into the eyes of the goddess Mara, you will be doomed to never be seen again.

Our ride starts out smoothly enough, but then doors open and we look directly into Mara's eyes.  The rest of the three and a half minute ride is an attempt to make it back out of the temple alive as we careen through rooms full of bugs, skeletons, or snakes; across a bridge that looks ready to fall; and past darts flying at us.  Finally, we are confronted with a giant bolder rolling right at us.  Along the way, Indy offers advice to get us safely out.

The genius of the ride is the vehicles.  While the track is completely smooth, the hydraulics in the cars makes it feel like you are racing for your life across rough roads.  This ride is definitely ... bumpy.  I don't find it that rough, but they do have warnings for pregnant mothers and those with health issues.

The ride was designed to have slight changes all over the place.  Outside of some different lines here and there, it is pretty similar every time I ride it.  I think they discovered those changes caused more problems than the system could handle.  Even so, the ride still breaks down fairly frequently, but they get it back up and running within an hour or so most of the time.

Even without the changes and frequent breakdowns, I find this ride a complete blast.  You probably don't really move that quickly, but it feels like you are racing through things at top speed.  And there are so many small details you race past that I notice new things just about every time I ride.

There is a reason that the lines for Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye are still so long.  This ride is a blast.  Even after 15 years, I can't wait to go on it every time I visit Disneyland.  Don't miss this attraction.

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