Finally we cross over the tracks and down a steep set of
stairs to emerge in the load area. This feels very much like
the original Disneyland Indy ride. The jeeps pull up and look
identical to the American versions. We strap ourselves in,
and with the exception of the foreign language you feel as
if you are back at home in Anaheim. Here we go!
The jeeps roar out of the load area, hang a right and the
first difference you notice between the Japanese and American
versions is that there is only one doorway. The designers
have opted to drop the idea of choosing one of three paths
and rather have all the jeeps plow straight ahead, through
dimensionally carved doors.
We rumble ahead into the chamber of Purity. Here grottos
and pools surround us. Mara and the warnings not too look
in her eyes are gone. Instead there is a large crystal skull
sitting ahead of us on a platform made up of a coiled snake
statue. This chamber is very well themed. Nothing in this
entire attraction is flat or simply painted on, rather it
is all constructed out of three dimensional sets and textures.
Of course we are not successful in our efforts to sneak past
the skull. Rather the skull before us starts to glow brightly
and intense rays beam from its eyes. The Jeep accelerates
to avoid the peril and we hurl to the left.
Through the cavern you continue as very nice electrical and
lightning effects fill the area all around. These bolts of
electricity cling to the cavern walls in shades of blues.
Up ahead we see Indy himself. As in the American version he
is trying to keep a huge set of doors closed. He appears to
be angry with us and speaks entirely in Japanese as he turns
us away. The track layout here is identical to the Disneyland
counterpart so we now turn left and head in towards the main
The familiar John Williams movie score swells as we venture
ahead fearlessly. Entering the massive central chamber we
notice a few differences from what we are used to seeing in
the states. First of all the giant face of Mara has been replaced
buy a large stone skull. The color scheme of the lighting
and the effects have moved from the hot red and oranges of
the original attraction to cool hues of blue and green, more
fitting for the fountain of youth theme. Finally, directly
in front of us and between us and the giant skull is a whirling
vortex smoke effect. It looks like a blue whirling tornado!
We veer to the left and rumble through the chamber filled
with skeletons and skulls. Then on to the bug chamber. As
we are used to, our headlights flicker on and illuminate the
walls full of creepy crawling bugs. However the effect here
is much better than back home. I am not sure what they have
done differently but these bugs look three dimensional and
much more convincing. While they still are a projected effect
they do not look artificial or flat like they sometimes do
on the original ride.
As we depart this cavern and head across the central bridge
a burst of smoke hits us, this is a nice extra effect. The
general feel of this area is just like we are used to but
again, there is no flame or fire. Instead we have the spinning
vortex , now to our right, and to the left we have the massive
skull. Beams of blue and green light shoot from the skull's
eyes, the music is in full swing and the bridge rocks and
sways beneath us. We gun it and cross the bridge before hurling
to the left and around the back of the skull.
Here we pass a series of stone dragon sculptures similar
to those we saw in the queue. In place of the oversized and
fake looking snake seen in the U.S. Indy ride we find a fully
animated dragon. He is about the same size as the snake and
not much more convincing. Still, it is nice that they addressed
and changed this effect.
The dragon lunges at us and we pitch down, going lower and
curving around the back edge of the skull. Here we find yet
another crystal skull. A smaller one is perched to our left
and still glows angrily. The rest of the chamber is filled
with catacombs brimming with skeletal remains. I prefer the
American section here as the pyro effects really add something
that is missing from this attraction.
Through some more mostly dark chambers and we now creep up
onto one of the nicest new additions to the adventure. (In
Anaheim this would be the rat room.)
There before us is a long hallway and we come to a complete
stop. At the far end is a large stone face carved into the
wall. His mouth is agape. The engine rumbles back to life
and we start accelerating towards the carving. Suddenly and
with a deep sound (as if a bass drum was punched) a huge smoke
ring emerges from the carving's mouth. We head straight towards
and then through the smoke hooking to the right before hitting
The smoke ring is an effect which Disney has been trying
to perfect for years and they finally have done so here in
Japan. Similar effects can be seen to a lesser degree on Dinosaur
(formerly Countdown to Extinction) at Disney's Animal Kingdom
and the Pooh ride at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Neither
of those effects can compare to the one pulled off here however.
Next up is the dart run. The jeep comes to another full stop
as we contemplate crossing another long hallway. Unlike the
simply painted flat walls at Disneyland, in Tokyo we have
fully three dimensional figures lining the room. We make our
run as jets of air blast us, the sound of darts whirling over
The climax to the ride is identical to the U.S. version.
We see Indy hanging above us wildly yelling for help (again,
in Japanese). Soon the giant stone ball roars forward and
we roll back a bit, then our vehicle plows straight ahead
towards it. Only at what then seems the very last second,
we drop down under the giant ball to safety. Indy is then
seen one last time, safe and sound, and he bids us goodbye
as we enter the unload station.
The attraction is almost a virtual copy of the original Disneyland
version. The setting and queue are wholly unique to this park
but the actual ride is more or less the same. But in DisneySea
it has a more polished feel to it and this is both a good
and bad thing. On one hand it is VERY nice to see all the
three dimensional sets. I have never understood the logic
of spending millions and millions of dollars on an E-Ticket
attraction and then allowing some cheap looking painted flats
to be a major part of it. The upgraded bugs effect as well
as the new smoke ring trick are great. The tornado vortex
is also a great new addition.
However the improvements come at a cost. They have removed
the pyro and these flame effects were some of the most effective
elements from the original ride. I also prefer the hot red
and orange color scheme of the original (more like the second
"Temple of Doom" movie), as somehow the cool colors
seem too calming and not as alarming as the original pallet.
Finally the actual jeep's movements, while still wild and
extreme, seem somehow more in control and less random than
the American counterpart. This is a VERY subtle thing but
having enjoyed both attractions many times I can feel a difference.