Disneyland Submarine Ride Provides Plenty Of Fun And Adventure
The combination of Disneyland+Submarine+Voyage+Mermaids sounds like a recipe for a typical Disney adventure. This underwater adventure was one of the more popular adventures in its day at Disneyland. The maiden voyage of the Nautilus submarine and seven sister subs began in June 1959 and took 38 guests at a time under the North Pole, through the graveyard of ships with divers looking for sunken treasure, to the Lost Continent of Atlantis and through some encounters with gigantic sea creatures. For forty years the submarine crews with Captain Nemo at the helm carried guests into the waters of Submarine Lagoon.
During the initial Disneyland submarine adventure, passengers saw everything from giant squid to cross eyed sea creatures to live mermaids. The live mermaids proved to be a problem to continue due to male swimmers attempting to swim to the rocks where they sunned themselves. The chlorination in the water made hair green and the seashell based costumes had a tendency to deteriorate in the treated water. The mermaids only lasted two years.
Passengers were treated to a humorous spiel by the slightly confused yet crusty captain of the submarine who had crew troubles like none ever faced under the North Pole by the captain of the first nuclear powered submarine. The fish were also a disappointment; they appeared to be plastic fish attached to a string, which just happened to be exactly what they were.
The only major change in the ride during the 40 years was a change from Cold War gray submarines to bright yellow subs. The Captain's attitude and comments changed significantly beginning about the same time as the subs became more cheerful.
Finally in 1998, the last submarine passenger disembarked. The information given out by the Disney publicity department was that a new attraction would be opening in 2003. The rumor mill had it that the new ride would be a much improved submarine attraction call Expedition to Atlantis. The new attraction never materialized, however, perhaps due in part to the box office flop of the 2001 Disney animated movie "Atlantis, the Lost Empire". Disney executives considered the ride too costly to operate for the number of passengers.
Walt Disney World's counterpart was called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It closed in 1994 and was replaced by a play area for children known as Pooh's Playful Spot. Back at Disneyland, it has now been announced that there will be another submarine attraction open for business in 2007. It's to be known as Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
Some of the major problems with the earlier submarine voyage have been eliminated by the new technology. The fish are in the style of Finding Nemo animation which will appear to be swimming outside the portholes of the submarine, but are in fact innovative effects boxes with projected animation.
The longevity of the original voyage speaks for its popularity. It is to be hoped that the new underwater adventure starring Nemo and friends will have the same lifespan and popularity that the original has enjoyed.