Indiana Jones Tank Restored from the Boneyard

I’ve never been fond of the boneyard aspect of Hollywood Studios.  A bunch of old movie vehicles rotting under the sun always depressed me.  It’s one thing when they’re just random street cars from some forgotten Christian Slater movie.  But it’s something else entirely when they’re iconic vehicles like the Indiana Jones tank from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Horizons vehicles in Backlot Tour Boneyard at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Sometimes they also torture old theme park icons.

The Indiana Jones tank is from the big battle between Indy and the Nazis in the middle of the desert.  You no doubt remember it as the second best of the Indy movies (though your memory is faulty; Temple of Doom is actually better than Last Crusade).

I hated seeing this thing in the boneyard.  All the paint flaking off, bits and pieces falling off the side, gaping holes from armadillo burrows, weeds sprouting up everywhere. This isn’t movie magic. This is the graveyard of childhood.

This German tank will beat Indiana Jones to the holy grail.

The Indiana Jones tank as seen in the movie. Note the pristine turret on the right. This tank is in top fighting order. The only thing that could defeat it is an archeologist with a rock.

After a year or so, some bright young member of the Disney-MGM Studios staff discovered an entire stunt show at the park that happened to feature Indiana Jones.  They put two and two together, and before long, the tank had moved from the Boneyard to the exit of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, where it was posed in menacing firing formation, surrounded by oil drums.

Rusted out Indiana Jones tank prop at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The average lawn ornament in some Southern town.

If you’ve never seen it, it’s probably because you exited on the right rather than the left.  The tank is very close to the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost shop.  The only downside is that aside from the new pose, the tank looked exactly the same as when it was in the Boneyard.  Which is to say, it was rusted over and falling apart, with rubber treads decaying like a zombie muppet.

Today I’m happy to report that the entire Indiana Jones tank (and its surrounding area) have been completely refurbished.

Refurbished Indiana Jones tank outside the Hollywood Studios stunt spectacular

As Belloq might say: “It’s beautiful!” Aside from that right turret. Kids, before firing your tank, please make sure somebody has not jammed a rock in the barrel.

I have not seen the Indiana Jones tank mentioned anywhere online yet, so this might be a real bona fide scoop (but probably not; I’m usually not fast enough to beat the really great Disney news sites). I’m not sure how recent this change is, but it has to be within the last month or so.  The tank has been completely repainted and spruced up.  No sign of rust anywhere.  It has also gained several battle props, including a new machine gun nest.

German machine gun nest outside Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

It’s either a machine gun nest or a very elaborate mouse trap.

It looks really great, and I am simply thrilled that they actually devoted the time to cleaning this up, as opposed to passing it off as a “real” movie prop. Perhaps they didn’t want Lucas to see it in disrepair when he inevitably shows up for Star Tours 2.

Indiana Jones tank at Disney's Hollywood Studios

It still cracks me up that Disney will go to great lengths to duplicate the German insignia, yet stop four lines short of drawing an offensive symbol.


Photo Attribution:

Original tank image provided by Kevin Eddy via Flickr.

Shane was raised on a steady diet of EPCOT Center and Kenner action figures. Parkeology is the happy result. He is the creator along with his friend Ted of the WDW47 Challenge and the WDW49 Challenge -- featured by such media giants as CNN, ABC, FoxNews, and the in-flight magazine for Norwegian Air. With his brother Tristan, Shane is the author of the adventure fantasy novels Arabian Heist and Johnny Shipwreck. He currently resides in the Swiss Family Treehouse.

7 thoughts on “Indiana Jones Tank Restored from the Boneyard

    • It appears to be the real movie prop. Whether it was once a real functioning tank… I can’t answer that.

  1. @Katie, thanks! If we can’t obsess over a random tank hidden in a forgotten corner of WDW, what will we be left with? Hidden Mickeys? Ugh.

  2. This is exactly why I read this blog. An entire, in-depth post on something that NO ONE ELSE seemingly cares about. These details are pretty much all my friend and I look at in the parks.

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