At Disneyland, you don’t need to scour spooky ship graveyards or surf currents alongside sea turtles to find your favourite clownfish. You’ll find him when you go down under in Tomorrowland’s Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, along with his friends from the adorable Squirt to the forgetful Dory. Whether it’s your first time or not, here are ten deep sea secrets that are easy to miss.
10. Finding Nemo is Easy
The research submarine that takes you down is operated by the institute of Nautical Exploration and Marine Observation. If you haven’t noticed, its acronym-form spells out NEMO. But that doesn’t mean the clue to finding him is in the name. It’s just a nice touch, so be prepared to board and actually search for the real thing.
9. There’s More than One Angle
Depending on where you choose to sit in the submarine, you can enjoy the view from a different angle, and during your journey you’ll see Nemo when others won’t. No matter where you sit, though, everyone will see Nemo and his friends the same number of times. So there’s no need to shout “Mine! Mine! Mine!” when you think you’ve found the best seat in the sub – there isn’t one!
8. Sonar Hydrophones
Disney has long-since established that fish and other marine creatures can talk. Like talking toys, video game characters and so on, it’s just something everyone has come to accept. But how are you able to hear these guys talk when you’re inside the submarine? Easy – the ride uses Sonar Hydrophones, meaning you’ll be kept in sync when you sink! And even better – your ears won’t pop!
7. You Don’t Need to Go Under the Sea
Just because it’s wetter, that doesn’t mean it’s always better. Okay, it is at least in the case of The Little Mermaid. But here, if you aren’t able to make it down into the submarine, you can still enjoy the sights in virtual-form from the Observation Outpost at the dock, where you can watch a live-feed of the voyage via the submarine’s SubCam. See – you don’t need to go underwater to find Nemo.
6. It’s a Recovered Submarine
Built in 1959, the original attraction was known as “Submarine Voyage”. After 39 years it was closed down, but would eventually be given new life by the 2003 movie Finding Nemo, and by showcasing the then-new (but no less-impressive today) projection technology. In fact, the announcement was made in 2005 by none other than Crush at the Disney Animation Studio. Pretty righteous, huh?
5. Movie-Quality Marine Life
If you’ve been on the ride before, did you wonder why Nemo and his friends look just like they do in on the screen? That’s because John Lasseter, the movie’s executive producer and creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation, lent his talents. In fact, the special effects are so impressive it’s like they drained them right out of the movie!
4. The Magic Behind the Environment
Using over thirty tons of recycled crushed glass to paint the coral and rockwork, and more than forty colour mixtures for the entire area, Imagineers were able to create the lagoon’s reef. Of course, this is no real environment, so crushed glass isn’t a problem. But perhaps, somewhat ironically, this inadvertently serves as a reminder to look after the oceans of the world and protect the real Nemos.
3. It’s an Underwater Illusion
Like many rides in Disneyland, there is of course an element of illusion here. Though the viewports are beneath the water, the submarines don’t actually descend when your voyage begins. It’s a simulation, with the rising bubbles of the descent making you feel like you’re going down under. In fact, the vessel doesn’t even move forward. That said, it doesn’t make it any less of a journey.
2. Remnants of the Original Voyage
During your exploration, keep your eyes on the rock formations, particularly when your captain mentions a sea serpent and a mermaid (no, not that one), as you’ll see such shapes – each a reference to the original attraction. Don’t worry about serpents, though, – your only concern should be Bruce the shark. But with the size of his jaws, you’ll need a bigger viewport.
1. Sounds of the Ocean
When your voyage is over and it’s time to dock, listen out for “Beyond the Sea” – the gorgeous theme tune from Finding Nemo. It only comes on at the end of your journey, but it’s a fitting touch to the ride, and is reminiscent of the rolling of the credits from the movie itself. It’s also wonderfully-uplifting too, which is appropriate given your ascent to the surface!
With its super-realistic ecosystem, made up of rock-hugging starfish and its colour-drenched coral, as well as its more “animated” inhabitants, this ride is perhaps one of the most beautiful in the resort, where you also get to relive the fin – sorry, tale – of Nemo’s journey and Marlin’s search for him. It’s an experience that glimmers with movie-magic, and, unlike Dory, you’ll never forget.