Disney parks boss addresses potential “Indiana Jones” ride at Animal Kingdom: 'We're going all in'

Josh D'Amaro tells EW how an Indy replacement for the Dinosaur ride could fit with Animal Kingdom's narrative 'about exploration and adventure.'

Unlike the villains in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Disney parks fans looking for clues about Animal Kingdom's next attraction within the lore of the Indiana Jones films are digging in the right place.

After first teasing a potential Indiana Jones-themed replacement for the Disney World park's beloved Dinosaur ride, in an exclusive interview with EW at a press preview for Hong Kong Disneyland's new World of Frozen-themed land, Disney Experiences Chairman Josh D'Amaro doubles down on the Harrison Ford-starring blockbuster series as prime material for the wildlife park's next expansion.

"I think I actually played some music, didn't I?" D'Amaro teases, referencing his Destination D23 presentation in September, which saw him reveal concept artwork showing off an Indiana Jones-inspired temple in place of the existing Dinosaur thrill ride while composer John Williams' Indiana Jones score played overhead.

<p> Paramount/Getty Images;Disney</p> Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones; Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom

Paramount/Getty Images;Disney

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones; Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom

D'Amaro stresses that, while not a final piece of concept art, the image — which showed the aging Dinoland U.S.A. section of the park re-themed to tropical American locales with Encanto and Coco attractions — highlights "where our heads are" as his team continues "dreaming" plans for Animal Kingdom's next big move.

"We've got so many stories to tell, we have so many things we want to make even better in the theme parks. My plan is to continue to share that with the guests. I know people are like, 'My gosh, I can't believe he's saying this. Is he serious, is he not?' The answer is, we are absolutely serious," he says, also pointing to the company's recent announcement that it would spend $60 billion on improving global properties over the next 10 years. "We know what this business is capable of, we know what our fans expect of us, and we're going all in. You're going to see more and more of that. As we make our way through some of these ideas, some of them will become real, and we'll say that's specifically what we're going to do, but I want our guests to be on the journey with us."

Following D'Amaro's D23 presentation, many Disney parks fans questioned how Indiana Jones might fit in within Animal Kingdom, a park founded on principles of wildlife conservation. D'Amaro, who previously served as Animal Kingdom's vice president, notes that, while he's not ready to go "deep into" specifics just yet, he's optimistic about how that potential move might be received.

Lucasfilm Ltd. Harrison Ford in 2023's 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny'
Lucasfilm Ltd. Harrison Ford in 2023's 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny'

"Animal Kingdom is about exploration and adventure," he says. "I was fortunate enough to have run that theme park, so I know how special it is, and I think there are a lot of stories that we can stay true to Animal Kingdom and express new properties in there, and that's what you see us starting to do."

Dinosaur first opened alongside Animal Kingdom in 1998, using a similar ride system to Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure attraction that debuted in California three years earlier.

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