Inspired by Nemo

nemoepcot1.jpgConsidering Finding Nemo is Disney/Pixar’s biggest animated hit to date (and is second only to Shrek in animation terms on the all-time worldwide box office list), it is only natural the film should provide the inspiration for a new generation of Disney attractions, of which The Seas with Nemo and Friends at the Epcot park is the latest example.

Glossing over for a minute the subject of whether The Living Seas pavilion deserved to be renamed after a film, this latest use of the Nemo brand to enliven Disney attractions – following on from Turtle Talk with Crush, also in the same pavilion last year, the soon-to-open Finding Nemo: The Musical show at the Animal Kingdom, and the under-construction Crush’s Turtle Twister at Disneyland Paris – is a fascinating development.

We were certainly sceptical before we tried this latest ride for ourselves; it almost seems that every new attraction must have a Pixar theme these days, which automatically narrows down the amount of imagination needed to produce the ride. To a certain extent, it also cuts down the appeal to some of the public – for instance, if you haven’t seen Finding Nemo, are you necessarily going to enjoy (and understand) the concept?

With attractions like the Haunted Mansion, Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest and Test Track, they are not reliant on any pre-existing theme, and therefore have a much broader scope. That means the Imagineers need to be pretty much on the money with the film-related attractions (like Star Tours, It’s Tough To Be A Bug, Honey I Shrunk the Audience and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin) to avoid them becoming Stitch’s Great Escape, where the idea never lives up to the reality.

So, The Seas with Nemo and Friends is very much a key attraction in the new scheme of things, and it looks as if this has been uppermost in the Imagineers’ minds. Not only is this one of the most intensely-themed rides in recent Disney history, it is technically impressive, too (although it DOES require some knowledge of the film for people to get the most out of it). The cleverly-staged external theming also provides a few hints of what’s in store and sets things up nicely as you walk into the pavilion itself.

clam-mobile.jpgFor those who remember the old sea-cabs ride and the original entrance to The Living Seas, the new incarnation of the ride makes full use of the entryway and the old space where they used to show a film of undersea exploration before you embarked on your journey to Sea Base Alpha. Now, you wind your way through a wonderful beach environment before going ‘under the sea’ with some very neat trick lighting and other visual effects. The queuing area alone is worth seeing and, if it’s not quite as extensive and eye-catching as Expedition Everest, it puts many other recent efforts (notably Soarin’ and most of the pre-show/ride areas at the Walt Disney Studios in DLP) to shame for the lack of invention they show.

Then you reach the ride itself and the journey really starts, with a mixture of dark ride styling and film special effects, including lots of new snippets with Marlin, Dory, Crush and Co. I won’t reveal the full story and scope of the ride, but suffice it so say this is in the best traditions of Disney dark rides; a gentle, whimsical journey, slow-paced and with much to admire visually, certainly worthy of repeat rides to appreciate all the fine detail along the way.

It is not a blockbuster ride in any way, but it is certainly not an empty vessel like Journey into Imagination. Teens may not find it especially captivating, but families with younger children, adults and Disney/Pixar fans of all ages will certainly want to check it out.

the-seas-with-nemo-friends.jpgThe advance publicity had keyed in on the final scenes, where the Nemo characters are superimposed in the main aquarium itself, but that does the rest of the ride no justice at all. Certainly, the visual impact of the finale is quite stunning, but there is SO much more to The Seas with Nemo & Friends it came as a real and genuine surprise.

And, if this is the kind of impact the Pixar folks are having since their full merger into the Disney fold, there is a LOT more to look forward to from this fruitful marriage of creativity.

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One Response to “Inspired by Nemo”

  1. joanne Says:

    with the new realese of the finding nemo ride the manager and disneys pixal you should invent more rides make them more eg thrilling new voyage , under water ,lol, different persectives angles make kids enjoy the stay with new and improved rides your rides are good but it needs a bit of flavour the good rides you should look at for new and improved rides are peter pan ,finding nemo,big thunder mountain pirates of the carabean even its a small world it needs magical for a worlderland im not in hatred with disney land i love it biut it needs a bit of sparkle thanks so much if improvered that will be my next holiday once were up and running thanks again x x x x x x x x joanne

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