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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: The Ride
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Post Disneyland 20K Memories 1955 Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:13 pm
maquino
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First of all, I can't thank the creator(s) of this site enough for such a marvelous collection of 20K material from so many Disney locales and sources. Clearly it represents a tremendous amount of work, dedication, and unabashed love for everything pertaining to that magnificent 1954 film adventure.

Well! Like many an 8-year-old kid in 1954, I was absolutely stunned by the movie. During its initial run I saw it thirty times - not because I was keeping score like latter-day Star Wars groupies, but just because I couldn't drown myself in it enough. I got a red/white striped T-shirt and an official Captain Nemo squirtgun. :) My heartless parents refused to get me a pet seal to keep in our bathtub, however. :(

Disneyland opened in 1955, and that summer my parents drove me down from San Francisco. This took dedication in those days, plus it was 110° in Anaheim - so roasting that the antique machine on Main Street on which you could record a 45rpm plastic record with Donald Duck broke down because its blanks all melted.

In those days the attractions required tickets - A (cheapest) through E (most expensive). My parents paid the significant sum for a child's maximum ticket book. When we got to Tomorrowland, however, there was the 20K exhibit (an A-ticket). I was transfixed. :shock:

I walked through it, back through it, through, back, over and over. I couldn't believe it was really there and I was really there. I was in 20K emotional meltdown. :D

After about an hour of this, my parents asked me to come along and see the rest of Disneyland. I said, "You go, I'll just stay here, pick me up at the end of the day." :) "No," they said, "we didn't come all this way and buy you that big ticket book so you could spend the entire day in one A-ticket attraction!" :x

So I was literally dragged out of the Nautilus screaming and crying, which doubtless had all the other parents/kids wondering what the hell, and my parents wishing this day were just not happening. :roll:

That walk-through exhibit is long gone now, which is probably just as well; because if I visited the Park with friends today, I can't say I wouldn't behave about the same. 8)
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:44 am
mprender
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But at least you saw it in person!! I feel sorry for those who will never experience the WDW ride! Thanks for your rememberances.
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Post Personal Experience Factor Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:43 pm
maquino
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Actually the videos on this site - particularly the initial "holy grail" one of the entire WDW ride - are a very impressive substitute for personal experience. Assuming that the WDW subs are much like the DL subs in this respect, there's little to do on board but gaze out your porthole and listen to the narration. That's exactly what you get here (without having to stand in queue). :wink:

I suppose that as an 8-year-old in the 1950s, I had never "connected" movies with the real world before, hence having a physical encounter with the Nautilus sets - even if they weren't all assembled into the full-size, real submarine - was sort of "miraculous".

Looking over this site, too, I am again of the opinion that it was specifically the Nautilus - designed in exactly that way - which was the star of the film and the factor which has immortalized it. The cast was perfect, but if they'd all been riding in Jules Verne's original "spindle", the movie would have come and gone.

And of course all of the attempts to re-design the Nautilus since then in other movies have been either feeble imitations (the Herbert Lom The Mysterious Island) or ridiculous abominations (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

I think it's sad that WDW discontinued its 20K ride, but then we might not have this great site! :D As for the DL subs, they were not even in the same class; no tears there. I don't know what the new Finding Nemo DL replacement looks like yet, but I already know it won't have the glamor, mystery, and period elegance of the WDW 20K.
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