For those of you who never rode, everyone sat on flip down seats at a porthole and looked out.
Now here's something crazy: Since people were looking out both sides of the sub, there was two of everything on each side of the track. Two giant squids!
Steve is ready to go. He's been ready since first call. Now let's roll.
Ah, the wonders of the deep...
Okay now we're getting some actionCrab fight! Crab fight!
Look out for that barracuda you fool!
That's a real person you know. It was not a fun job to be in the tank all day.
What a beautiful blue.
Turtle wranglin' for a living!
Don't be fooled! That's not a giant squid attacking a submarine... It's just a dim witted shark and a bold octopus locked in completely unrealistic, unnatural combat. I love it!
Actually I have to eat those words; I've since seen a nature show where an octopus was totally catching and eating sharks that size. At least the behavior baffled the biologists too when they saw it.
(Thanks to Kerri Keene of John Keene's Disney World for this and other photos.)
As we pass into the dark depths I'm going to quote Mary Rolfe's descriptions from her site because she's so darn good that I wouldn't dream of separating her narration from her images.
"As we pass a sunken ship, Captain Nemo introduces us to the ocean's depths. He begins by telling us of exotic schools of fish and eery deep sea creatures. Then he points out that the aurora borealis is visible under water."
"As we approach the Polar Ice Cap, the Captain orders Baxter to 'Go to maximum depth' and we dive beneath glaciers. Once again, enough light penetrates the depths and causes the glaciers to glow with a beautiful blue light."
"Captain Nemo says, 'Steady as you go' as we dive deeper and deeper. Looking through the portholes, we begin to make out many large shapes up ahead. Captain says it looks like it could be the lost city of Atlantis, destroyed by a volcano. Broken structures surround us."
(I love that here at the bottom of the ocean we can still see the surface. It dawned on me long ago that the 20,000 leagues traveled in the story was not straight down, but still, this isn't even close.)
"We come so close to a toppled statue that the Nautilus almost brushes it. We discover that the helmsman is trying to avoid a large wall."
"As the sub rounds the large wall, we can see that it must have been a treasury. Gold and silver and precious gems and jewels are spilling through the broken doorways."
"Even though we were still amazed that we might have discovered Atlantis, over the intercom we heard Nemo say, 'Mr. Baxter, if you think you're seeing mermaids and sea monsters, you've been submerged too long'."
"And, yet we saw them with our own eyes, too. Not just mermaids and serpents, but two little mermaids with a giant sea serpent on a leash!"
(Hmm, I don't know how I feel about this guy. If only he was a little less, I don't know...Disney. Okay, what am I saying, it's fantastic.)
(That girl dropped her leash!)
"In the background is an enormous spill of treasure all over the ocean bottom. Priceless gold vases and urns, coins, diamonds, millions of tons of treasure almost within our grasp lay just outside the ship. Could this explain the presence of the great serpent? How do the mermaids keep the monster there? But time for daydreaming was abrubtly ended. Someone over the intercom says there is some unusual turbulence. Suddenly, we hear, 'RED ALERT! RED ALERT!'"
(Oh boy here it comes. All this other stuff has been wonderful buildup and context for...)
"Not only do we feel the turbulence, we can't believe our eyes. The largest sea monster ever seen, a giant squid of epic proportions, was off in the distance."
(Did you know that giant squid eyes are actually the largest in the animal kingdoAHH! GIANT SQUID!)
(You gotta click this onethe original is BIG. The victim sub is marked as XIII on the fin, making it the 13th nautilus in the Disney fleet of 12 operational submarines. The fact that there was an unlucky sub number XIII on both sides of the track may be why the ride is sometimes sited as having 14 subs.)
(YES! The money shot! That's what you're here for! This is actually a dry shot from from before the ride opened, but it was just too fantastic not to place here. The proportions on that thing are absolutely insane when you think about it. Going by the size of that Nautilus, at full scale its eye would have about a 10 foot diameter! That's a monstro-colossal squid! I love it!)
"Then, we heard, 'Surface! Surface! As fast as you can!' And, to our utter disbelief, a sister submarine was being brutalized by a giant squid and was already breaking apart. Just then, it felt like a giant squid might be attacking us, too, but the ship powered itself away and to great cheers of relief, we finally made it to the surface."
This script was compiled by Eric Paddon of the Walt Dated World site. Captain Nemo was voiced by Pete Renaday (A.K.A. Pete Renoudet), not James Mason as many people think. The Mr. Baxter character is not from the movie, he's a tribute to Imagineer Tony Baxter (on the right in this photo) and appears in both this and the Disneyland Submarine Voyage ride narrations.
(As our submarine Nautilus slowly pulls out of the dock of the home port of Vulcania, we hear the stern authoritative voice of Captain Nemo. An organ musical track is constantly playing in the background, playing a variation of the theme from the movie 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.)
Captain Nemo: Stand by to dive!
Mr. Baxter: Diving stations. (Bosun's whistle sounds)
Captain Nemo: Dive! Dive! (Diving claxon sounds)
Mr. Baxter: Trim bow on diving planes. Three degrees down. (A stream of bubbles indicates diving has commenced)
Captain Nemo: Take her to ten fathoms.
Mr. Baxter: Aye, aye, sir.
Captain Nemo: Steady as she goes.
(The Captain now addresses the passengers)
Captain Nemo: This is Captain Nemo speaking. Welcome aboard the Nautilus. We are proceeding on a course that will take us on a voyage 20,000 leagues under the sea. En route, we will pass beneath the Polar Ice Cap and then probe depths seldom seen by man. So make yourselves comfortable, but please, remain seated at all times
(We catch our first glimpse of undersea life. A lobster, followed by a giant sea crab)
Captain Nemo: Here among the reefs, you will see many familiar inhabitants of the undersea world. The great green sea turtles for instance, are the reptilian patriarchs of the deep. These amphibious descendants of the dinosaur have changed little in the past 200 million years. Groupers, or giant sea bass, roam the coastal bottom in search of food. The giant clam obviously is quite safe from such marine predators. (A giant clam is seen opening and closing.) The fish world has always been considered a silent habitat, but through our sonar hydro phones, we've discovered that fish actually talk! Listen.
(The sounds of fish "talking" fills the sub. Several moray eels can be seen poking their heads through the coral formations)
Mr. Baxter: Undersea party ahead, sir. Divers to port and starboard.
Captain Nemo: Witness the crew from one of our satellite ships. They are harvesting their abundance that nature has sown here beneath the sea. Kelp beds are cultivated. Sea creatures corralled and protected from predators. Just as terrestrial shepherds protect their flocks from ravenous wolves. (We see a diver tethering a sea turtle to keep it from escaping)
Mr. Baxter: Surface storm ahead, sir.
Captain Nemo: Weather alert! All controls, eight degrees down. (Diving bells ring) Hold her at 80 fathoms and proceed on course.
(A new stream of bubbles erupt to indicate we have dived deeper. The scene now becomes dark as the "surface" light no longer penetrates our field of vision)
Captain Nemo: The Nautilus can dive safely below the violence of ocean storms. Surface vessels are not so fortunate. (The crumbling wreckage of mostly 18th and 19th century sailing ships now come into view) Witness the evidence of their fate. The graveyard of lost ships. For ages, these rotting holds have kept their secret treasures, safeguarded by silent sentinels of the deep. Man-eating sharks. Nature's most unpredictable predators of the sea. (A shark glides by our field of vision)
Mr. Baxter: We've reached the Polar Ice Cap, sir. There's a clear channel at 40 fathoms.
Captain Nemo: Steady as she goes. (We see the submerged lower sections of icebergs. Sonar pinging emits) In this region of the Polar Ice Cap, you are witnessing a rare visual phenomenon. The aurora borealis above us.
Mr. Baxter: Ice wall breaking, sir.
Captain Nemo: Take her deep! (diving bell rings) And keep an eye on the depth gauge.
Mr. Baxter: Aye, aye, sir.
Captain Nemo: We have past beneath the North Pole, and are now descending into that region in deeper water where the sun has never penetrated. Here, in this realm of eternal darkness, nature has provided her creatures with their own....eerie luminescence. (Several deep sea fish, one with jaws open, can be seen. The alert bell rings)
Mr. Baxter: Warning light, sir. We've reached maximum depth limit.
Captain Nemo: Take her back up to 80 fathoms!
Mr. Baxter: Eight-zero fathoms, aye, aye.
Captain Nemo: There are limits beyond which man and his puny efforts cannot survive. We have almost exceeded those limits.
Mr. Baxter: Unusual formations to port and starboard, sir.
(Elaborately carved classical structures come into view. The remains of a Greco style city. There are temples and the collapsed remains of giant statues, their faces staring upward)
Captain Nemo: Ah, these crumbling heaps of stone betray the hand of man. I believe we've made a startling discovery! These...classic ruins could very well be the legendary lost continent of Atlantis. Some scholars theorize that a remarkable civilization was destroyed by a tremendous volcano. Others treat any concept of Atlantis as pure fantasy, along with legends of sea serpents and mermaids.Mr. Baxter: Begging your pardon, sir. But, did you say sea serpents are mere fantasies?
Captain Nemo: Belay there mate! Anyone in his right mind knows there's no such thing as a sea serpent or mermaids. Mr. Baxter, if you think you're seeing mermaids and sea monsters, you've been submerged too long!
(We pass the sight of a giant, smiling sea serpent amidst the ruins of Atlantis. Two mermaids are tethered to the creature. There is no comment from Captain Nemo on this)
Mr. Baxter: Captain Nemo, sir! We're experiencing unusual turbulence. It's a ruddy underwater volcano, sir!
(The scene outside grows more violent and darkens to a reddish glow. Numerous columns are teetering as a result of the turbulence)
Captain Nemo: By Neptune's flippers! This confirms it. That seething mountain still denies rest to the civilization it submerged thousands of generations ago. Helmsman! Steer clear of the tottering columns.
[Okay, this is Dave, I have to interject here. Did he just say thousands of generations ago?? In 360 BC Plato spoke of Atlantis being destroyed 9,000 years ago. Counting back from 1971 when the 20K ride opened, that would put the event at 11331 years in the past. I think we can agree that a generation has to be at least 15 years and even if we only take "thousands" to mean 2,000, that's 30,000 years! I'm sorry Nemo, but you're just talking crazy talk!]
Helmsman: Aye, aye, sir.
Captain Nemo: Red alert!
Mr. Baxter: Red alert! (Bosun's whistle blows) All hands to stations.
Captain Nemo: Trim the tanks! Steady as she goes.
Crewman: Captain! Giant squid dead ahead. It's disabled a submarine, sir.
Captain Nemo: Good Lord! It's one of ours. It's hull has been crushed like an eggshell.
(The tentacles of a giant squid have ensnared a sister sub to the Nautilus.)
Crewman: Another monster's attacking forward, sir!
Captain Nemo: Full repellent charge!
Mr. Baxter: Repellent charge, aye, aye. Maximum voltage.
(Lights flash around us to indicate the use of the electrical charge against the giant squid)
Captain Nemo: All ahead!
Mr. Baxter: All ahead, aye. She won't answer the helm!
Captain Nemo: Emergency maneuver! All engines, stand by to surface! Surface!
Mr. Baxter: Surface! Surface! Surface! (A stream of bubbles indicates the surfacing procedure and then when they clear away the "surface" light is streaming through once again) We've reached Vulcania, sir.
Captain Nemo: Proceed on course. All ahead.
Mr. Baxter: All ahead, aye, aye.
Captain Nemo: Station the maneuvering watch.
Mr. Baxter: Aye, aye, sir. All hands to stations.
Captain Nemo: Ladies and gentlemen, in just a few moments we will be docking at Vulcania, our home port. It has been a pleasure having you aboard the Nautilus, on this memorable voyage that has taken us 20,000 leagues under the sea. Captain to bridge. Reduce speed and proceed to number four berth. Stand by to dock.
Mr. Baxter: Bridge, aye, aye. All ahead one-third. Stand by for boarding.
Captain Nemo: Thank you for sailing with us. And now, when the cabin lights come on, stand by to disembark. Gather your belongings, take small children by the hand, and watch your step.
(Cast member pilot gives final live instructions before docking and disembarking takes place)