- “Know this: only one may enter here, one whose worth lies far within. A diamond in the rough.”
- ―The Cave of Wonders
The Cave of Wonders is a location in Aladdin. It is a forbidden realm filled with vast riches, magical objects, artifacts, and most notably, the lamp of the all-powerful Genie. 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 warned once and if they try again they will be killed almost instantly.
To keep these laws intact, and unworthy thieves away from the powerful riches that lie within, the cave is guarded by a massive, intimidating God-like spirit 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, but Jafar decides to order Gazeem to go in again. Gazeem makes one step inside. When everything seems to be safe, the Cave suddenly roars and 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. It is revealed to be 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 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 Treasures, though Aladdin remembers the warning not to touch them. They come across a Magic Carpet, who offers to help and takes them to the central chamber where the lamp is located. As Aladdin goes 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 Abu to stop the moment he himself retrieves the lamp, Abu seizes the ruby, and the Cave's voice angrily says that Aladdin and Abu will die for violating its warning. Abu puts the Ruby back then the ruby and monkey idol melt into lava which turns the cave’s water into lava then the cave fills itself with lava, and 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 Genie sends Jafar's Lamp to the Cave of Wonders with Jafar and Iago imprisoned in it.
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".
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.
In the live nighttime spectacular, 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. Mickey then finds the lamp who he believes is Genie's, but the lamps ends up transforming Jafar into a genie.
The Cave of Wonders appears as part of the background in the Aladdin sequence's rendition of A Whole New World.
The Cave of Wonders serves as a gateway into the Explore Zone, which is home to the Aladdin Virtual Magic Carpet attraction.
The Cave of Wonders is a location in both versions of the attraction, 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 the Cave itself is not seen, it is mentioned in the Aladdin episode "Shadow of a Doubt", when the gang are going to a mirror cave 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 with anger.
- In The Return of Jafar, a statue of the Tiger God of the Cave of Wonders is seen in Abis Mal's lair and Jafar and Iago were seen in the desert the Cave of Wonders is located in.