I'm a proud Disneyland Annual Passholder. Walt Disney is a "big picture thinker" I have long admired. One day, sitting on a park bench eating peanuts while his young daughters rode a carousel, he thought, "Why can't there be a place where parents and kids can enjoy themselves together, in equal measure?" And a few short years and a few million dollars later, Disneyland was born. I know some people find the whole thing crass consumerist nonsense, but I love it -- always have, always will.
A few months ago I was one of a few (thousand) lucky Annual Passholders who won the chance to ride the new Finding Nemo version of the revived submarine ride before it opened to the general public. This was very exciting, especially considering that ever since the ride officially opened, the line to get ON the ride has averaged a wait time of three to four hours. Not me, man! That's the nice thing about having an Annual Pass -- if the line for a favorite ride is ridiculously long, no problem, we'll ride it next time and do something else today. So I was figuring we'd ride Nemo in October or January after the crowds got their fill. Even being a Nemo Preview winner, I figured we might have to wait in a considerable line. But no, we were swept straight to the front of a very short line and boarded our chrome yellow submarine in five minutes flat.
The ride itself was a tiny bit of a letdown, actually, after months of craning our necks to catch glimpses of the shrouded work area from the Monorail that glides over the submarine lagoon, not to mention the huge excitement of winning the contest!
I remember the original ride, and this version has more of a story line and fancier graphic stuff. The big rush of bubbles still tries to persuade you that your sub is diving deep into the ocean's depths, and it is as tacky an effect as ever. :)
The photos I took on the outdoor portion of the circuit came out okay, but inside the cave -- I mean, in the deepest depths of the distant ocean trench -- it was too dark to shoot anything with my feeble technology, so I'll just say that there is a Nemo-related storyline that's projected on big tv screens that are set into the rockwork, and there's a kinda neat volcano with lots of glowing, flowing lava, and a whole roomful of pulsating jellyfish -- there I go with my artistic jellyfish compulsion again.
I read somewhere that when they were redesigning the ride, the Disney Imagineers tested and considered many different types of paint because they wanted to find one that would retain its vivid color through years of extreme sunshine.
But no paint lived up to their hopes, so they developed a completely new artform, really, that is sort of like "painting" with melted glass that fuses onto pre-built forms. The color is not applied onto the coral, it's an intrinsic part of the structure, and it almost seems to glow from within. Beautiful!
A fully articulated crab lay just outside my personal viewing porthole.
As I left the park, I found myself literally trapped at the end of Main Street while a parade wound its way around the flag circle, so I settled in to watch the parade for the umpteenth time. I love the costumes worn by some of the dancers who accompany the Little Mermaid float, but unfortunately I didn't remember my camera until the dancers had moved on. Here's the best shot I managed to get, it's blurry but I think it will give you the idea. To the left of center you can see part of the flesh-tone leotard the dancer wears, to give you a sense of scale here. I think she is supposed to be kelp or a fluttering sea anemone. I just love the laciness of what I'm sure is a very durable costume.