- “Know this: only one may enter here, one whose worth lies far within. A diamond in the rough.”
- ―The Cave of Wonders' warning about entering
The Cave of Wonders is a location in the animated film, Aladdin. It is a hidden cavern filled with vast riches and magical artifacts, most notably, the genie's magic lamp. The cave can only be entered by an individual whose "worth lies far within"—the diamond in the rough. Those who make attempts to enter, otherwise, will be killed almost instantly if they do not heed the warning they are given upon their first attempt to enter. To keep these laws intact, and unworthy thieves away from the powerful riches that lie within, the entrance to the cave is protected by a sand guardian with the shape of a tiger's head.
In the original film, the cave is visited at the very beginning by Jafar, Iago, and a thief named Gazeem. The location of the cave was revealed using a mystical golden Scarab Beetle, which also helped form the cave. Jafar orders Gazeem to go inside the Cave to retrieve the magical lamp. The Cave's tiger head warns the visitors that only one may enter, referred to as the Diamond in the Rough. Jafar and Gazeem don't quite understand what he means, so Jafar decides to order Gazeem to go in again. Gazeem hesitantly makes one step inside. When everything seems to be safe, the Cave suddenly roars and violently shuts its mouth, killing Gazeem and vanishing back into the sand, leaving the scarab halves to roll down the hill as it repeats that only the "Diamond in the Rough" may enter. Jafar then realizes he must find the Diamond in the Rough.
Back at the palace, Jafar takes the Sultan's mystic blue diamond ring in order to power his device. The device shows just who the Diamond in the Rough is: the cunning street rat Aladdin. Jafar orders the guards to capture Aladdin and take him to the Palace's prison. There Jafar, disguised as an ugly elderly beggar, takes Aladdin and Abu to the Cave. Aladdin identifies himself to the Cave, which allows him to enter, but warns him not to touch anything except for the lamp.
Aladdin and Abu successfully enter the cave, where they are tempted by the vast Forbidden Treasure, though Aladdin remembers the warning not to touch them. They come across a Magic Carpet, who offers to help and takes them to the back chamber where the lamp is located. As Aladdin climbs upstairs on a tall rock formation surrounded by water to retrieve the lamp, Abu spots a large ruby held by a monkey idol, and is overcome with temptation. Despite the Carpet's best efforts to stop him and Aladdin telling him to stop the moment he himself retrieves the lamp, Abu seizes the ruby, and the Cave angrily says that Aladdin and Abu will die for violating its warning. Abu sheepishly puts the ruby back, but then the ruby and monkey idol melt into lava, which turns the cave’s water into lava, then the entire cave fills itself with lava and flames as it collapses. Aladdin and Abu nearly escape with the help of the Carpet, but are thrown down by Jafar, who thought he had stolen the lamp. The cave, after pained bellows, then dissolves with Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet still inside.
Inside the cave, it is revealed that Abu stole the lamp back from Jafar. Genie is released and frees them from their prison (also tricking Genie into granting a free wish in the process).
At the end of the film, the Cave of Wonders reforms when Genie launches Jafar's Lamp to it with Jafar and Iago inside to endure 10,000 years of imprisonment.
In the series House of Mouse, the Cave seems to be transportation for Jafar and Iago.
In the episode "Donald's Lamp Trade", the cave's voice was heard calling Donald an infidel when he tried to make off with a crate of forbidden treasure. The cave itself was also featured in the sponsor at the end of the episode.
The Cave of Wonders appears in the Season 6 episode "Street Rats". Rather than being shaped like a tiger's head. The entrance is a doorway between two pillars, above the doorway is a stone shaped like a tiger's head.
The Cave of Wonders is first seen during the musical number "Arabian Nights" where Jafar sends a person to find him a magical lamp, but is unsuccessful, getting eaten by the cave just like in the animated film. Unlike in the animated film, the entrance's iteration is depicted with a lion's head instead of a tiger. It is located on a rocky hill instead of being risen from the sand formed by the two pieces of the Golden Scarab Beetle for its eyes.
When Aladdin is tasked to find the lamp as ordered by Jafar to make him rich (this time not disguised as an elderly beggar), the Cave of Wonders then accepts him as he is described as the "Diamond in the Rough". Before Aladdin enters, it is Jafar instead of the cave who warns him not to touch anything inside except the lamp. Just like in the animated film, Aladdin successfully finds the lamp, but Abu then touches a ruby (albeit by accident instead of intentionally out of greed like in the animated film) despite Aladdin telling him not to, causing the cave to collapse; however, the ruby he touched was not from the monkey idol holding it, but one of the rubies along the way. When Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet are ready to escape, Aladdin hands Jafar the lamp, but successfully almost causes Aladdin to fall to his demise, still with Abu defending him from Jafar. After the cave has collapsed with Aladdin, Abu, and Carpet trapped inside, the entrance, however, does not melt unlike in the animated film, but with the light dimmed out. Like in the animated film, Aladdin rubs the lamp to get his wish from the Genie in which he grants him to help the three escape.
Like in the animated version at the end of the film, when Jafar and Iago are both trapped in the lamp and Agrabah is restored to normal, the Genie sends Jafar's lamp far into the Cave of Wonders.
In all versions of the Aladdin video game, the Cave of Wonders is featured as a level.
The Cave of Wonders also appears in Nasira's Revenge as a location, requiring the use of the Scarab to enter it.
The Cave makes an appearance as a location within the Agrabah world and is fought as a boss in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts coded. In the first game, Sora, Aladdin, Donald, and Goofy fight it after it was taken over by the Heartless and tried to destroy them. Once they destroy the dark power's source, which is located in his eyes (reached by climbing up its neck or by leaping onto its face when it's buried in the dirt), the guardian returns to being an entrance to the Cave of Wonders and continues to be so throughout the series. The tiger reacts neither to their entrance into the cave nor touching the treasure within the cave.
Jasmine and the game's protagonist visited the cave in search of Abu and treasure.
The Cave of Wonders was a backdrop for the stage at Aladdin's Oasis. During the Indiana Jones Summer of Hidden Mysteries event, the Cave of Wonders served as the setting for the "Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Stone Tiger" stunt show.
In Fantasmic!, the cave is summoned by Jafar in an attempt to kill Mickey Mouse during Mickey's imprisonment. Inside the cave, Jafar transforms into a snake and attempts to eat Mickey, who then finds the lamp whom he believes is Genie's, but the lamp ends up transforming Jafar into a genie.
At DisneyQuest, Cave of Wonders served as a gateway into the Explore Zone, which was home to the Aladdin Virtual Magic Carpet attraction.
The Cave of Wonders is a location in both versions of Storybook Land Canal Boats, though the tiger head only appears in the Disneyland Paris version as the Disneyland incarnation was merely a retrofit of a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs based cavern.
- Strangely, in most of its appearances, the Cave retains its dark blue color regardless of the time of day.
- Frank Welker based the voice of the Cave of Wonders on Sean Connery, though he has used the voice before.
- In The Return of Jafar, a statue of the Tiger God of the Cave of Wonders is seen in Abis Mal's lair. Later, Jafar and Iago were seen in the desert where the Cave is located after somehow escaping from it.
- Though the Cave itself is not seen, it is mentioned in the Aladdin episode "Shadow of a Doubt", when the gang are going to a cave of mirrors to find something to stop Mirage. Iago recalls the event of Abu's mistake when he says; "Don't let him touch anything! Remember the Cave of Wonders incident," which makes Abu snarl and jabber with anger.