When EuroDisneyland opened in 1992 the company had huge hopes for the future of the resort. This can be seen here, in this Fun Map. There were already a lot of expansions and attractions mentioned in this map that weren’t built at that time, such as: Space Mountain: De la Terre a la Lune (make sure to check our video on this amazing attraction), a Little Mermaid ride, a Beauty and the Beast attraction, and an Indiana Jones themed mini-land…
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Today, when you “enter worlds of history, discovery and ageless fantasy” at Disneyland Paris, you can make your way to the back of the park and discover Indiana Jones et le temple du péril and a small shop dedicated to this franchise. The roller coaster itself has a somewhat interesting history, as it was Disney’s first looping coaster, made by Intamin.
What most guests don’t realize is that, for some time, the plans were much bigger and spectacular. This can actually be felt if you ride the Disneyland Paris Railroad as the Adventureland section just doesn’t come to an end and all you see is trees and trees and trees until you finally reach Pirates of the Caribbean. This gives you a peak at the huge plot of land that remains undeveloped.
The original idea can be divided into sections because there was the roller coaster, which later became what we have today, but at some point there would also be a fully fleshed out mini-land, containing several attractions, shops and a restaurant.
The original idea was to reuse the older plans of the Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition for Disneyland, created in the late 1980’s. The upgraded plans would consist of two rides, both enclosed in the same complex: the “Ore Car Attraction” and the “Jeep Attraction”.
The first one would be a roller coaster which would have recreated the mine chase sequence of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with rusted mine carts running along volcanic caves. The second was to be a dark ride which would have recreated other famous exploits of Indiana Jones, such as his escape from the giant rock boulder of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Disneyland Railroad would enter the showbuilding and chug across a wooden bridge through the complex. One thing that wouldn’t happen in Paris was the Jungle Cruise being re-routed to enter the massive showbuilding that would house these two attractions, after skimming along the themed lava waters the boats would leave through a rocky gorge.
On the outside the land would be themed to ancient temples, jungles and mineshafts.
While not much is known about this Disneyland Paris’ version we believe it would’ve been very similar to this abandoned project. Going back to the Fun Map you can easily spot the similarities. Thanks to disneylandparistreasures, we can explore this map in super high detail and zooming in we spot: The train entering the temple, just like in the original concept; the minecarts leaving and entering temples and caves, just like in the original concept; oh and what’s this? The jeeps from, you guessed it, the original concept. Note that, in this map, there is no mention of Indiana Jones, this could simply be because imagineers didn’t want to create a land inside a land so they named this part of Adventureland “La Jungle Inexploree” or The Unexplored Jungle.
This would make a lot of sense story wise, as the Explorers Club Restaurant (now Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost) was the last part of civilization before the unknown adventures and dangers of the Jungle.
Now, what we get in this map is very limited because this isn’t a concept art, it’s just a Fun Map souvenir, so there would be more things included such as shopping, a restaurant and there were even rumors of an indoor show. With this mini-land the Disneyland Park would feature even more advanced technology. The “Jeep attraction” described in the original concept ended up being built in Anaheim. The “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye” opened in 1995 to an amazing reaction from fans. It was a huge hit and to this day remains as one of the parks signature attractions.
Returning to EuroDisney, this mini-land was put on hold for future expansion as the resort was already way pass the budget. When it opened the newest Disneyland wasn’t a success, as a matter of fact it was a fail, financially speaking. Guests were coming but they weren’t spending nearly as much as Eisner (the CEO) thought they would. The hotels had lots of spare rooms with no one to sleep. With this, new attractions needed to be built not only to encourage new people to come but also to increase the park’s capacity.
Ultimately, the smaller budgets and requirement for a high-thrill attraction brought the birth of Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril. This was a new, cheaper, version of the “Ore Car Attraction” where guests start by exploring an abandoned base camp, wandering toward the temple where then they climb a staircase to the temple entrance. Inside they board a mine car which goes up and down over the surface of the temple, clearing debris or putting back the artifacts and so forth. The car then goes out of control and upside down during its trip around this temple. It lacks the indoor show scenes that would’ve been the main focus of the original and the same scale as its “blue sky” predecessor but the queue makes use of the enormous amount of available land and has good landscaping, winding paths and lush vegetation.
Before deciding on this version, it was considered building two separate roller coasters. These would be exactly the same but one temple would be fully built, just like the one we have now, and the other was a more deconstructed version, which would use the same track. The queue was going to also feature parts of a temple and create a more impressive attraction and scenery.
The attraction officially opened in July 1993, just a couple of months after the resort turning one year old. People enjoyed it, as it was the first full “thrill ride” in the park but the attraction left guests wanting more. Since then, there have been several changes to the ride. Seeking a new attraction to market for their 2000 season, the Imagineers created Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril: Backwards, where you would ride the same track but backwards… This was later “reversed” back in 2004. In 2014 the ride closed for a major refurbishment which included partially demolishing and rebuilding the structure. During this time several rumors started to appear saying that changes to the ride were being made to make way for a new expansion featuring a new ride. This turned out to be false, as it opened exactly the same.
We don’t know what the future might hold and what it might bring to this corner of Adventureland. The Disneyland Park hasn’t received a new ride since 2006, with Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast but when it does, if I were to bet I’d say the it would be right here.
A possible idea that has been thought and even planned by Disney was to incorporate the amazing Indiana Jones: Temple of the Forbidden Eye into the space available, this can be seen in this image. Here we have Temple du Péril, featuring a new entrance, then there’s the huge Indiana Jones Adventure showbuilding, the entrance to the brand new ride, what’s possibly a shop at the exit of the ride and, at last, what I believe to be some brand new toilets or a small snack location. Now, how likely is this to happen? Not very, but I wouldn’t be too negative as next year a brand new Indiana Jones movie will be released and if it turns out to be a success I could see this becoming a reality!
Would you like if Disney built this expansion and finally created the long awaited and promised Indiana Jones mini-land? If you’re interested, make sure to check our fan shop as well! And now, as always, thank you for watching and That’s a Wrap!