The pavilion we now know as The Seas with Nemo and Friends opened as The Living Seas Pavilion in Epcot Center in 1986. At the time it was built, it was the largest aquarium in the world. It is so large that Spaceship Earth could fit inside it with room to spare.
The original attraction began with a video titled The Seas. The video illustrated the formation of the oceans. I will never forget the narration from the film, “and they rained…and rained..and rained.”
Following the film, guests got into the Hydrolators, which, spoiler alert, didn’t actually go anywhere. The floor shook and the rock work seen through the windows was propelled downward to create the illusion that you were traveling down to the ocean floor.
Once you guests the Hydrolators, they loaded omnimover Sea Cabs for a tour of the reefs on the way to Seabase Alpha. As a child, this was always my favorite part of the pavilion. I enjoyed getting to ride past all the fish. At Seabase Alpha, guests could frequently watch submarine and diver shows as well as explore the tanks at their leisure.
The pavilion remained pretty much the same until after United Technologies removed its sponsorship in 1998. Things were then removed slowly and the pavilion received the nickname, “The Dead Seas”. In 2001 the seacabs were removed and guests were given the option to watch the film or to skip it.
In 2004, Nemo and friends began popping up in the pavilion and in 2006, the Hydrolators were shut down to begin the creation of the new attraction. Later in the year, the pavilion got a fresh coat of paint and reopened as The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
The new omnimover attraction takes guests for a ride in clam mobiles through scenes beginning where Finding Nemo left off. Your clam travels through cartoon scenes projected onto the walls. In the final scene, the characters are projected into the aquarium where they seem to be swimming next to actual fish.
Another addition to the pavilion is Turtle Talk with Crush. Children of all ages enjoy interacting with Crush and asking him questions. When this attraction opened, the technology used in the show was unlike anything else guests had ever seen. Kids today are amazed when they are called on by the color of their “shell”.
I don’t know if I’m supposed to spout opinion here, but I am going to anyway; Finding Nemo is one of my favorite Disney films and I love Finding Nemo The Musical at the Animal Kingdom, but I liked the original attraction better. I loved the preshow film and I always enjoyed telling other guests that the Hydrolators didn’t go anywhere (yes, I was that kid). Most of all, I loved being able to see the fish! I would enjoy this attraction so much more if all of the scenes were projected onto the tank like the final scene. I might be crazy, but the last time I was there it seemed like there were fewer fish in the tank.
What do you think? Do you miss The Living Seas as much as I do?