The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye opened on March 3, 1995, at Disneyland park and became an instant classic. The detail and storytelling in the attraction puts it at the top of my list whenever I visit the Disneyland Resort. So let’s continue one of my favorite Disney Parks Blog series with the story behind this adventurous attraction.

Indiana Jones Adventure takes guests back to the year 1935 with famed archeologist Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, who has uncovered the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. This mysterious temple was built long ago by a lost civilization in honor of the ancient deity, Mara. Lore says that Mara has the power to look into one’s soul and grant one of three gifts: earthly riches, eternal youth or knowledge of the future. But it was soon discovered that those who look into the eyes of Mara are doomed to suffer the deity’s vengeful wrath! But that hasn’t kept away the tourists, celebrities and fortune hunters who have flocked to the temple, lured by the promise of Mara’s gifts.

Fortunately for us, Dr. Jones has temporarily disabled the lethal booby traps along the path leading into the temple, allowing us to safely reach the boarding area, where his friend Sallah has commandeered a small fleet of transports to take us on a tour of the temple. Let’s take a look inside some of the key areas of the temple:

Chamber of Destiny: This the first stop on the tour. Here, Mara peers into our souls to see which of the three gifts we truly desire. Unfortunately, one of the passengers in our transport (never me, I swear) inevitably gazes into Mara’s eye, unleashing his fury.

Tunnel of Torment: The once-pristine architecture starts to decay and crumble as the power of Mara lifts the vehicle from its path and carries it through the air. Everything in the tunnel seems to move with us as our transport strains against the evil force that propels it forward.

Gates of Doom: “You had to look, didn’t you?” Dr. Jones exclaims as he tries to hold back the evil forces at the gates, breaking the curse just long enough for our transport to drop back down to the temple floor, allowing us to pass.
Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park

Cavern of Bubbling Death: But the way out isn’t so easy. Here we make our way through this massive subterranean chamber. As we enter the cavern, the 45-foot-tall decaying statue of Mara fires a beam at the vehicle, causing the ceiling to crumble and fall into the flaming gorge, sending us to escape through a side chamber.

Of course, from there the adventure continues … for those who have not yet journeyed into the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, I will not give away what happens next.

For the first several years the attraction was open, riders received a decoder card for the Maraglyphics found inside the temple. Thanks to my friends at the Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library, I’ve got the decoder card for you below – try to decode some messages yourself the next time you visit!
Decoder for Maraglyphics in Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park Courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering Art Library


  • I have 2 decoder cards and two in-series opening day tickets.

    I’m also the proud owner of the lithograph that was hanging in the Disney Gallery. number 47/50 signed by Mr. Eisner and Drew Struzan

    it’s my absolute favorite ride.

    Did you know Dinosaur and Indy share the same ride path?

  • Hi Erin, I asked for the Storytelling Blog Post treatment for this attraction, one of my very fave’s in DL. So thanks! Very much enjoyed the story.

  • Although I live close to WDW and have been there countless times, I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting Disneyland. I must say though that The Temple of the Forbidden Eye is a huge reason I want to visit and is a MUST DO on my list!

  • Would love to see a backstory on the Haunted Mansion! 🙂

  • We went to Disneyland last July for a “Once in a longtime” trip. My husband absolutely loved this ride in DL & he is not ride person! WDW is home but would love to go back to DL if the opportunity ever arises again 🙂

  • I really love these. It makes me want to go to Disneyland.
    I love Indy.

  • I hope they are using Indy’s front camp Q-line and can appreciate Disney Legend John Hench saying it’s the Best example of what a Disney Q-line should be like in his book.

  • Waiting in line is the best… “Don’t pull the rope!” and the amazing spike pole room. IMHO, every attraction should be this interactive, really makes waiting in the queue more tolerable.

  • I remember having the card. I also remember what the messages where about; if not word for word, the gist. It had to do with the sponsor at the time.

    But since this is about the backstory, I’ll keep it to myself. 😉

  • I still have the decoder card in my wallet to this day! It’s a little worn but I love it.

  • I still have one of those decoder cards! Noone believes me anymore about them.

  • this is a great ride. I still have the original card when it first open in 1995 . Will there be any thing for next year for the anniversary?

    • I don’t have any information on that at this time, Brett. Sorry!

  • I really enjoy this attraction. It is so detailed and rich in storytelling, sometimes a line isn’t a bad thing. And the ride is amazing, to boot!

    Please keep this series up, Erin!

    • We will, Bob! Thanks!

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