Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is a live amusement show at Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Based on the popular and successful Indiana Jones film franchise, it includes various stunts and live reenacted scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is executively produced by George Lucas and directed by Jerry Rees, with stunt coordination by Glenn Randall. As part of the show, select audience members 18 and older are invited to participate as extras in certain scenes.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! is based on many of the popular stunt scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The show uses various pyrotechnic devices which are incorporated into several of the stunts.
The action starts with Indy braving dangers in a recreation of the Peruvian temple scene from the beginning of the movie. Dangerous spikes, false floors and ancient booby traps test the archaeologist's skills before he attempts to make a getaway with the golden idol. The stunt show then moves on to the busy and audience-participant filled streets of Cairo. Indy and Marion watch street acrobats before events take a turn for the worse and a massive fight scene breaks out. The Cairo street scene concludes with Indy shooting at a Jeep loaded with explosives, producing a fiery conclusion. The final scene of the stunt show recreates the action-packed sequence in which Indy and Marion try to stop the Nazis from flying the Ark to Berlin; the reenactment is complete with a scaled-down version of a German Luftwaffe aircraft. Indy fights a large German mechanic while Marion mans the aircraft's machine gun, blowing away everything in sight. Indy and Marion are able to make a narrow escape just as the airport is engulfed in flames.
Along with the former Superstar Television and Monster Sound Show, The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! is a show that relies on audience participation as part of the show's entertainment. Volunteers are chosen from the crowd to perform in the Cairo street scene though they safely stay away from the real stunt work. Along with the audience, one real stunt actor plant is chosen from the audience to do real work, a fact that has become common knowledge after the many years that the attraction has been open (the plant is usually a man in a loud Hawaiian shirt).
The show opened on August 25, 1989, as the first Indiana Jones attraction at a Disney park, and was put on a six-month hiatus in 2000 for refurbishing.
This is the first theme park attraction to use a computer based show control system in conjunction with a custom made programmable logic controller system to trigger, control and sequence complex live events in real time, controlled by the actors in many cases. All other effects are triggered by a cast member at the booth. The original control system was based on the Amiga computer with software by Richmond Sound Design Ltd. The show is consistently upgrading its electronics and computer elements to keep it up to date. This began a trend in live stunt shows with both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios opening many more similar attractions over the next eight years. It is currently the longest running show at a Disney World park.
On August 17, 2009, 30 year-old stunt performer Anislav Varbanov died from a head injury after rehearsing a gymnastic tumble for the show. He was rushed to Florida Hospital Celebration Health where he was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m. EST.
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