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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: The Ride
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Post Claustrophobia... Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:45 pm
20K Crewmember
20K Crewmember
I was recently involved in a discussion on the subject and the effects it can have on people. All of a sudden, I start remembering the many, many times that I was forced to deal with somebody who for lack of better judgement, decided they wanted to take a submarine ride and oh yea... THEY WERE FREAKIN' CLAUSTROPHOBIC!!! Wasn't this fun? I'm sure all you 20K'ers have plenty to share in this category. Did we have a 10 code for it? That I can't remember. But I do remember the few different types of situations that occured during the course of my days as helmsman of the Nautilus.

Type 1 - The good. These folks you would see often. They would board the sub, get a feel for how cramped, dark, and crowded it was in there and quickly get the hell out of there usually following out the last of the previoius trips guests. Occasionally, some would need the hatches to close before they realized they had made a bad mistake, but you were still in the dock and could easily get that front hatch opened up quickly enough and get them out before any panic set in.

Type 2 - The bad. Now this is where it got a little interesting. These people were brave enough to get boarded, take their seat, enjoy our little spiel, and actually leave the dock. It was usually right after the bubbles where you would hear some commotion, look down to see somebody starting to freak out and have to make a decision as to how bad the situation really was. Most of the time, these people could be calmed down. Sometimes just a little privileged information would do the trick. Look, you're OK, you're not really underwater. It's just an illusion. We're actually floating in a boat on a track and nothing could possibly go wrong. Just relax and I'll have you out of here in 8 - 10 minutes. For most that was good enough. But, I think about 2 or 3 times, I actually had to invite a guest up into the spacious sail of the Nautilus. You'd think that would freak them out even more, but I guess being able to see above the water was enough to keep them from having a total breakdown.

Type 3 - The Ugly. Now this never happened in my sub, but I was 2nd in line coming out of the cavern when all hell broke loose on the radio. The group of three had pulled out of the dock headed into the lagoon, and our pack was pulling in. The lead was trying to gauge the situation and when the unit in trouble would respond, you could hear a lady screaming in the backround. This forced the lead to actually stop all the boats and order everyone in the line to reverse out of the dock so that this one could get back in and let this psycho out. Of course it was when there was 9 units in operation so it wasn't easy. It was a pretty funny situation to say the least.

My personal favorite Claustrophobia incident was actually staged. One time a very pretty girl boarded with some friends and was sitting right below the sail. I was engaged in a conversation with them and she asked if she could drive the sub. Who am I to say no. I told her sure, as soon as we get out of the dock, I'll bring you up. We hit the lagoon, I informed the lead I had a Claustrophic and got to enjoy that trip with a beautiful girl working my throttle!!!

Who else has some stories?
Post Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 4:27 pm
20K Crewmember
20K Crewmember
Shockme... Bass here...
I have a few whale of a tales to tell.
I too had a few claustrophobic guests but it wasn't so much they thought they were underwater, it was the fact that doors closed, it got dark inside, was smelly, damp, etc. These same folks freak when they ride airliners and ride elevators. One of my tales was when I was probably at Intermediate dock, loading 40 "fresh" guests, said my dock spiel, "all hands on deck"..." all hands on deck, aye sir!" played, the load ramps went up, I got the salutes from the load/unload crewmen, I dropped the hatches and a woman began screaming at the rear of the sub. Needless to say, at Intermediate dock, you load from the front to the rear of the sub, but Nooooo, this woman screams and starts climbing back ON TOP of all the now seated guests, she stepped on heads, hands, crotches, feet, arms, legs, all 20 sets of them on her side of the sub. I popped the front hatch and she lept out onto the dock without benefit of waiting for the ramp to come down. You get the same freaks who act brave all the way to the load ramp for the rollercoaster and then wham! they freak and take the "chicken walk" exit outta the ride... OR... they stand up during the ride and get clocked by an overhead beam, which happened a lot on Space Mountain.

I have other tales for another day.
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