Located in the Echo Lake section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios® is a stunt show sure to take guests from the movie screen to behind the camera and unveil the mechanics of movie magic behind planning stunt scenes. The Indiana Jones™ Stunt Spectacular! follows Indiana Jones and other characters from the movie franchise through stunts sure to leave guests gasping in their seats.
The thirty minute show opened on August 25, 1989, and from the beginning, focused on showing guests the movie magic and talented stunt doubles who make stunt scenes in films and television look like real life. Based upon scenes from the classic film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, guests are treated to several different scenes that demonstrate the various ways to perform stunts. Guests who are eighteen and older can even volunteer to be chosen as an extra in the show – just don’t be surprised when they are made to either strike a silly pose or dance to participate!
The show begins with an introduction by the casting director who chooses volunteers from the audience. She introduces them in turn and has them perform some silly poses and dances to be a part of the show. Once the extras are chosen, the first major stunt scene is underway in the massive temple set seen when entering the theater. The scene is based on the famous one from the film where Indy maneuvers his way through a temple riddled with booby traps to secure a golden idol.
Stunt double Indy enters from the ceiling and immediately is faced with spears, ax wielding statues, and of course the massive boulder. Once safe and sound with the idol, Indy is introduced to the audience by the assistant director of the second unit who is in charge of stunts. Indy always gets a few laughs when guests see that the boulder is actually pretty light. One of the best aspects of the stunt show is that there is a ton of humor worked into the demonstrations and acts to keep guests in the audience entertained between set changes.
Next the extras return dressed in their new movie wardrobe and are informed that they will be playing people shopping in a Cairo marketplace. One lucky extra even gets to act out an overly dramatic death scene, which always leaves the audience laughing. Once the Cairo scene is ready to go we are introduced to the stunt double for Marion, and the stunts are underway. A set of acrobatic street performers soon interrupt their act to chase Indy and Marion through the marketplace set. Marion is kidnapped and taken in a car which then proceeds to flip over and light on fire. Once she is safely out of the vehicle, guests are told all about the dangers of working with pyrotechnics and the types of stunts that they can be utilized for.
While the Cairo scene is being removed to unveil the final stunt scene, Marion is brought to center stage to demonstrate the mechanics and precision needed to pull off a fight scene safely. She enlists the help of one of the extras who gets a little more than he asked for! This is one of the most entertaining moments of the show, so I don’t want to give anything away, but it is pretty comical.
The final stunt scene is the largest and combines physical fights, explosions, and simulated gunshots. Indy and Marion find themselves in an enemy encampment needing to escape. While Indy fights a larger than life airplane mechanic, Marion becomes trapped in the cockpit of a fighter plan and needs help escaping just in the nick of time. Indy and Marion make their grand getaway in an explosive finale that will have guests on their feet.
While the stunt show itself is full of scenes and effects to take in, there are several great details just outside of the theater which are worth checking out. While exiting the theater, look for a tank which was used as a prop in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Also nearby the theater in Echo Lake, is a fenced off area with what looks like a small excavation. There is a rope set up with a sign nearby saying to not pull on it, but the word don’t has been crossed out, so go ahead and pull, and see what happens!
The Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular is a great show that embodies the spirit of Disney Hollywood Studios® in taking guests behind the scenes to see just how movie and television stunt magic is made. Next time you are in Echo Lake, be sure to stop by and check out the show, as it runs numerous times throughout the day!
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
Have you ever seen the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular? Ever pulled on the rope nearby? Be sure to let me know by leaving a comment below, I would love to hear from you!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.