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Indiana Jones and the Curse of Budget

Walt Disney World: Fears abound about an unsightly end to Indiana Jones and his Epic Stunt Spectacular. Can DISNEY-MGM Studios afford to "save money" this way?

From J. Dana
Posted January 10, 2005 at 7:27 PM
Here's the story: I spoke with one of the principle stuntmen from the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Show yesterday (anonymity is crucial, for obvious reasons). Apparently, grumblings and rumblings are going on at Disney-MGM Studios in regards to its TWO major stunt shows. Many of the Indiana Jones stunt-people have been transferred to the new Stunt Cars motor show, so much so that the Indiana Jones stunt show might have to start canceling performances...they just don't have enough people. So, why not just hire more? Hmmmm. Read on....

Well, the rumor mill grinds even deeper. Apparently, talk is at a fevered pitch on the set now that if the Stunt Cars Motor show is a huge success (which they believe it will be) then the possiblity looms of (gasp) closing Indiana Jones for an extended period of time--if not FOREVER.

Why? Money, of course. The pay-grade for top-level stunt performers is not cheap. Heck, remember the great Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical in the backlot area of MGM. It was closed because theme park brass were told to cut $5 million from expenses, and paying those professional musicians was costly. So, to the stockade with it. Stunt performers and stage managers point to the irony of possibly closing one of the most popular attractions in Orlando, and at the same time increasing top-management salaries (yeah, it always comes back to Eisner) by millions upon millions.

Now, let me ask you: How dumb is that? Indiana Jones is routinely one of the MAJOR draws for this park. In a park HEAVY on shows, though, one can only guess as to what's the thinking about that area of the park. If Indian Jones goes away, then is something taking its place. If we go on history, we could say, "No." The Hunchback of Notre Dame stage has remained vacant--quite a huge capital investment to not be used, that's for sure.

The Epic Stunt Spectacular stage is in the Guiness Book of world records as the largest movable stunt stage, etc etc, yada yada yada....perhaps the aging show will come down. I mean, it's not like there are any more Indiana Jones movies coming out to fuel more interest (oh, wait...there are. The fourth and final movie in the series is expected in the next two years).

So, let's see if this rumor is just rumor, or if the Disney uppity-ups are as dumb as many of us are starting to believe. Looks like Eisners own golden parachute will be paid for with theme park attraction dollars...


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Robert Niles
Posted January 10, 2005 at 7:27 PM
Here's the problem with shows.... they simply do not hold the same "repeat" appeal as rides for the majority of theme park guests.

I love the Indy show and have seen it many times, but not once in the past five years. I simply don't have the desire to see it anymore. So if Disney wants to replace the show with something new, fine by me.

The key is, of course, would it be replaced? If the Motors show ultimately replaces Indy, as J. suggests could happen, then we'd have to chalk up the promotion of that "new" attraction as a Disney bait-and-switch. We'll see.

From Jason Lester
Posted January 10, 2005 at 11:50 PM
The repeat viewing level is higher with stunt shows then say a musical like Aladdin at DCA. I've seen the Waterworld show at USH many times and the same for other stunt shows.

Who doesn't like explosions?

From Jayson Myers
Posted January 11, 2005 at 8:04 AM
I think MGM should keep Indy, but they really need to add some family friendly rides. We have passes, but we never go to MGM. They have like 4 things to do there and nothing for a family outside a stunt show and the Great movie ride.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 11, 2005 at 8:40 AM
Keep it! I think it is one of the better stunt shows in any theme park! They need to hire more stunt people! I think Ole Walt is rolling in his grave since it appears that his namesake company is putting money in front of quality. I go to MGM every year and I see this attraction. It is just cool because every age group gets something out of it!

From Ben Mills
Posted January 11, 2005 at 9:36 AM
How many Indy stuntmen are professional stuncar drivers? Cos if they're not...well, they sure ain't gonna find themselves a role in whatever Disney are calling Moteur...Action! these days.

Maybe Disney should adopt the Movie World Madrid approach. In this park - although admittedly only in low season - they use the same bunch of stunt actors, for every show. Considering there are about four shows, each running twice a day, I'm pretty sure Disney can arrange for these guys to at least do one Indy run.

And let's not get too excited now, guys. The General Motors Showcase... sorry, "Car Stunt Spectacular" is not a work of art. But more on that another time.

From Robert OGrosky
Posted January 11, 2005 at 12:08 PM
I think they should get rid of the show!!!! It is a excellant show, but the time has come that it should be done away with and i dont think the park needs two stunt shows. The show has been there along time and it is time to change this(also star tours)'
What they do need is another e-ticket at this park and this would be a perfect place for it. While i dont like clones, if the put a Indy Jones clone from DL i wouldnt be upset, but would perfer a good dark ride, perfereably something interactive like MIB, but better.

From Jason Moore
Posted January 11, 2005 at 12:41 PM
For one thing, MGM is already rather short on a full day worth of activities to keep you interested, so for that reason alone I can't see getting rid of Indy unless they have something great already greenlit to replace it.

Secondly, i think it would be a shame to lose the presence of the character. I mean, I won't put any stock in an exact timeframe, but yes, there is a script in progress and plenty of intrest from the key players to get a 4th Indy film out eventually. Beyond that even, the most recent tidbits I heard that came from both Harrison Ford & George Lucas was that they were toying with the idea of continuing the franchise even beyond #4. The concept they are tossing around is to treat Indy like James Bond, recast every few years so they can continue with Indy adventures indefinitely. Frankly, I'll believe that when I see it on the screen in front of me, but if it were to happen, I think Disney would be kicking themselves for having given up a on a character that is once again a popular draw.

From Justin Smith
Posted January 11, 2005 at 2:40 PM
I like Indiana Jones but since it getting a bit old I wouldn't mind seeing something new in it's place. If it wasn't for that new stunt show I would suggest a Pirates of the Carribean Stunt Show. If it was a ride I would suggest a Roger Rabbit version of Buzz Lightear or MIB. Dose anyone else notice that Roger Rabbit and his friends have no where to be seen at DisneyWorld.

From J. Dana
Posted January 11, 2005 at 3:06 PM
You know, wouldn't it be cool to see a Star Wars stunt show in this part of the park? With plenty of light-saber duals, blowing things up and...best of all....pounding on the irritating Jar Jar....

The stunt show just weathered a massive "sprucing up" a couple years ago...just prior to 2001. It would have been smart to renovate and update the show instead of just "cleaning the gears." I think shows can keep the same theme but change up the specifics of the show....and in so doing, they can continue in perpetuity. The Hoop-De-Doo-Revue has been going strong for over 30 years over Fort Wilderness (breaking all records, they claim). And the Hawaiin Luau has gone almost as long....slight variations and updates keep the shows strong. I think it would be foolish to can this show...instead, it should be updated. If Lucas/Spielberg/Ford could ever agree on the script, a HUGE and AWESOME thing to do would be to theme part or all of the Indiana Jones show to the new movie, maybe even have the grand opening during the movie's initial release...or better yet, have the premiere at the attraction....what a great thing that could be for Disney--although I doubt Paramount (who distributes the films) would be too pleased.

A Pirates of the Caribbean re-theming might work. Although the Pirates films don't quite carry the cultural weight of the Indiana Jones movies, the Pirates ride does....this might actually be a BETTER alternative. Hmmmmm, I like that. I could REALLY work...but hey, we're just peons, what do we know. Right?

From steve lee
Posted January 11, 2005 at 4:42 PM
Until Amblin and Disney can come to some kind of agreement regarding who has what rights with Roger Rabbit, you can forget seeing any new attractions with him (then again, considering how long it's been since that film came out, I seriously doubt they'd be rushing a new attraction out with those characters anyways (darn it)).

Indiana Jones is a pretty good show the first time around, but it's always struck me as running far too long. If they cut all the insipid "audience participation" bits out, It'd be far less tedious BUT that would require a serious rethinking of how the storyline is told - I'd prefer it if they dropped the entire "this is how we do stunts" nonsense and instead just gave us a show with Indy, fights, stunts, and the obligatory big explosion(a la Eighth Voyage of Sindbad).

But, as an earlier poster said, if losing the Stunt Show could lead to a new attraction with Indiana (be it a clone or a whole new ride (preferably the latter)), then let's tear that sucker down and get to work.

From Justin Smith
Posted January 11, 2005 at 4:44 PM
I thought of a Star Wars theme Stunt Show but MGM studios already has Star Tours so it would overdue the Star Wars theme. It might do well during Star Wars weeks however. If they're just going to replace it with another stunt show I'd suggest Pirates of the Carribean since with the two sequals cominging out it will be the only non Animated Disney Franchise people really enjoy including myself. So imagine instead of scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark how about having a huge ship battle along with British authority tring to shoot Capt. Jack Sparrow.

From Jason Moore
Posted January 12, 2005 at 7:53 AM
Somehow I doubt the penny pinchers in accounting would be up for the expense of converting the stage into what it would need to be for a pirate themed show. I don't have any facts to back it up, but I'm thinking large ships in water would be somewhat less than cheap? Certainly not as cheap as keeping everything on dry land and only having to rebuild set peices.

From Russell Meyer
Posted January 12, 2005 at 8:15 AM
Two stunt shows in one park is definitely overkill. While I thought Indiana Jones is a great stunt show, it is not as good as Waterworld at Universal Hollywood. The auto stunt show is raising the bar a notch, and should allow Disney to incorperate aspects of the current Indy show into the auto stunt show. While the auto show will not have the big name that Indy has, it's still just a stunt show, and something is going to have to be done with one of the two shows, because they both cannot exist in the same park especially when they are both very costly to operate.

From J. Dana
Posted January 12, 2005 at 2:32 PM
Russell, I disagree with your Waterworld comment. True, it's a good show, but the Indy show is FAR superior. Perhaps it's the appeal of a far better movie, but for some reason, I don't walk away from Waterworld wanting to be a part of the action. Indy does that, and more. Too much of Waterworld is just typical running, screaming and falling without much rhyme or reason. I do like the show, but it's not Indy level.

I have definite doubts about the new show passing up Indy's lustre. I think the reason Indy works so well is because people are so attached to the movies, the music and the allure of the adventure.....the new stunt show has...fast cars. I'm drawing a blank right now, but is the new show themed to some popular movie? Don't get me wrong: I do have high hopes for a very successful stunt show....but I haven't seen the French predecessor, so I don't have anything to judge it by....Do you think they'll bring Herbie the NEW Lovebug into the show at some point????? (sounds feasible).

Anyway, two stunt shows might be overkill, but not to the guests. It's gonna be overkill to the budget....only one will survive, I'm sure.

From Jason Lester
Posted January 12, 2005 at 2:58 PM
A Herbie The Lovebug show? Are you joking? LOL!

From Robert Niles
Posted January 12, 2005 at 3:30 PM
Hey, if they blow it up.... Throw in a "wardrobe malfunction" from whomever plays the Lindsay Lohan character and you've got a winner.

(And, no, I don't know if I'm kidding or not.)

From Ben Mills
Posted January 12, 2005 at 3:44 PM
I'll write something substantial about the Stunt Show at some point, J, and let you know why I hate it so much.

Oops!

Oh, by the way, anyone that thinks J is silly for suggesting that Disney would be stupid enough to include Herbie in the show needs to think about Disney's recent track record for doing very stupid things.

From Robert Niles
Posted January 12, 2005 at 8:15 PM
I smell a pool here: Pick the date Herbie first appears in the Disney-MGM stunt show.

Hint: IMDB lists June 3, 2005 as the release date for "Herbie: Fully Loaded."

From Chuck Campbell
Posted January 12, 2005 at 8:31 PM
"Herbie: Fully Loaded"? Starring Cheech and Chong, perhaps? (Chong could play the Buddy Hackett character, only instead of loading Herbie with Irish coffee, he tries to turn the little car into a bong.)

From Patrick McGee
Posted July 13, 2005 at 9:00 PM
I personally am a HUGH fan of all the Indiana Jones films and the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. I have seen the stunt show at MGM three times. But it is exactly the SAME EVERY TIME!!!! Seeing the same stunt show over and over is not like seeing a movie over and over again. They still have the same corny jokes, and the visual effects are very old school, that are not used very much in films anymore. In my opinion they should dump the stunt show, since Lights, Motors, Action is better. And replace it with the Indiana Jones Adventure Ride, like the one in Disneyland, only better. And by the way if you didn't know already, Herbie does appear in Lights, Motors, Action!

From Patrick McGee
Posted July 12, 2005 at 9:42 PM
One last thing. if they can update Stunt Show to include elements of the new film, then yes keep the stunt show. When reading this, remember that as much as i am praying for it, they have been talking about this film since 2000 and it still has not come too be.

From Landon Phillips
Posted July 13, 2005 at 3:10 PM
While my sister was on the bus on her way to the mgm stuidos aboard the disney transportation system, the bus driver mentioned the rumor of the possible closing of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. The driver stated that the reason for this possible closing was the idea of a thrill ride about Indiana Jones being put in its place. I would personally like to see this take place, but i guess we will wait and see.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted July 13, 2005 at 9:53 PM
I hope it doesn't get taken away! It is really good! I do not see it being taken out right now (I am in Disney World at this moment)

From Patrick McGee
Posted July 21, 2005 at 8:05 PM
I do believe that "Epic" will close, eventaully. Maybe in a year or two, if not sooner. As much as i want The "Indiana Jones Adventure" Ride to come to Disney-MGM Studios, I will be sad to see the stunt show go.

From Adriel Tjokrosaputro
Posted July 21, 2005 at 5:54 AM
It is absolutely not a good idea!Yeah,put Indy thrill ride is a perfect idea,but take the show away?Not at all.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted July 21, 2005 at 7:39 AM
Also, to speak of Roger Rabbit, his wife, Jessica, is on the top of a Pleasure Island Sign, but enough of that. I think that the Indy stunt show should be kept because it is very different than the Lights, Motors, Action! Stunt Show. In my opinion, I only saw one "similar" stunt in both of them and that is falling from a building. I just came back from Disney World and Indy looks crowded to me!

From Patrick McGee
Posted July 21, 2005 at 9:35 PM
That would be a perfect idea. keep the stunt show but also add the Indy thrill ride. Maybe in MK or that large area where the stuupid beuty and the beat show is.

From Cameron Rust
Posted July 21, 2005 at 6:51 PM
With "Tarzan Rocks!" leaving in December they may wait a while before removing another show, as that would make them removing just as many attractions as they're adding for the new celebration.

The stunt show wasn't really that good once you saw how they were doing the effects. The entire time I was just trying to add up in my mind the large amount of money that they wasted on those fancy cars...

From Patrick McGee
Posted July 21, 2005 at 9:35 PM
First off, "Tarzan Rocks" will be replaced with a new show rathe quickly. A couple of months maybe. Anyway, what i think would be cool, is to replace the stunt show with the "Indiana Jones Adventure" and have a scaled version of the show on the "Back Lot Tour". Granted it would have to be very scaled down version of the show. In any case it would make the "Back Lot Tour" better and the "Indiana Jones Adventure" Would make the park better as a whole.

From Patrick McGee
Posted July 21, 2005 at 9:36 PM
I was looking at other sites and had time to think about how MGM could improved. Replace the Indiana Jones Stunt Show with the "Indiana Jones Adventure". Relocate the "Beatuty and the Beast" show or just get rid of it, and put a Harry Potter Stunt Show in its Place, next to TOT. I say this because i have been hearing romours of a Harry Potter attraction, and a Stunt show to relace "Epic' would be perfect.

From Gabriel Perez
Posted October 8, 2005 at 9:41 PM
According to raider.net the indiana jones epic stunt spectacular won't be replaced look for your self

http://www.theraider.net/newsarchives/miscellaneaus/2005_may.php

From Eric Malone
Posted October 9, 2005 at 2:25 PM
Of course it's not going to go anywhere. The Epic Stunt Spectacular won't be going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, it costs alot to hire stunt-men, but the show has been there since before I can remember. Heck, when I was a little kid around the age of five when I first went, I remember the show was there. Though I never got to be an audience participant, which was a bummer.

Still, stranger things have happened, so if we suddenly hear of plans straight from Disney to get rid of the ESS, then I won't be surprised, now.

Does anyone know if the show has gotten anything new in recent years? Generally if Disney spends money on things, they tend it keep it around for long periods of time; with the old Hunchback musical being of notable exception, of course.

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