The Seas with Nemo and Friends

The Seas with Nemo & Friends (previously The Living Seas) is a pavilion in Future World at Epcot in Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The attraction is themed as an underwater exploration base, with several exhibits devoted to oceanic study. The pavilion opened in 1986, but had been a planned part of the park since its opening in 1982.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion opened to the public in 1986 as The Living Seas. It housed the largest saltwater tank in the world at its completion, holding 5.7 million gallons of water, but was surpassed in 2005 with the opening of the Georgia Aquarium.

The concept of the building was to take visitors under the ocean to ‘Sea Base Alpha’. Visitors would watch a short movie about how the oceans were formed entitled The Sea, and then take an elevator ride to the ocean floor on a Hydrolator (in reality, guests only moved down approximately two inches). Guests then would ride the Caribbean Coral Reef Ride in a “seacab” along an underwater tunnel through the aquarium. From there guests would ride around ‘Sea Base Alpha’ getting an up-close view of the marine life. They would then disembark into the main exhibit area where they could interact with various multimedia displays.

The Living Seas was sponsored by United Technologies from its opening until 2001.

After the departure of United Technologies as sponsor of The Living Seas, significant changes were made to the pavilion. All sponsorship references were removed from the pavilion. Additionally, one of the two preshow theaters was removed. It was replaced with a walkway, allowing for guests to watch the preshow or go directly to the Hydrolators.

In October of 2001, the Seacabs closed down. Reasons for the closure are not entirely known. After it closed, guests leaving the Hydrolators walked along a corridor to ‘Sea Base Alpha’. Now guests could view the preshow or go directly to the Hydrolators and simply walk to ‘Sea Base Alpha’.

The queue of the Seacab ride was left intact. Guests could still see the cabs through the ocean tank windows.

In December of 2003, Disney started re-theming The Living Seas into a new pavilion based on the recently released Pixar film Finding Nemo. Most of the transformation started in exterior elements, but in January of 2004, the interior began to see change as well. On November 16, 2004, Turtle Talk with Crush opened in what was once Module 1C, or the Earth Systems exhibit. The show’s unexpected success was overwhelming to the pavilion, causing plans to be made to move Turtle Talk to a larger area of the pavilion.

Turtle Talk with Crush was just the beginning of changes to The Living Seas. On August 21, 2005, The Living Seas closed for its transformation into a new pavilion called The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Part of the pavilion reopened in late November of 2005. The exit Hydrolators were gone, replaced with glass doors that served both as a temporary entrance and the exit. While ‘Sea Base Alpha’ was already re-themed to Finding Nemo, the entire original pre-show area was still being rebuilt. Decor and signage was replaced, and scientific displays replaced by Nemo-themed versions of them. Turtle Talk with Crush was still as popular as it had been before.

Outside, the facade and mural were changed with some additions, depicting species of sea life seen in Finding Nemo.

Throughout 2006, construction walls hid away the undergoing-reconstruction pre-show area. With the former ‘Sea Base Alpha’ opened, work progressed on the new queue areas and the new ‘Clamobile’ attraction that the Seacabs were being rebuilt as. The project resulted in the complete removal of the remaining Living Seas pre-show theater, the entrance Hydrolators, the holding areas, and the Seacabs queue line. A new themed queue area would replace all of these, replacing the Hydrolator story. Hydrolator Three and Theater 1 were replaced by a number of new dark ride sets. The former Seacabs ride was lengthened by 280 feet, but the final section still took place inside the tank. The tank and the new show scenes received a new projection technology. The existing Seacabs were given a clam shell shape to them and renamed ‘Clamobiles’. The entrance also received three animatronic seagulls, who, as in the movie, occasionally squawk “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

On October 10, 2006, the walls in front of the entrance to The Living Seas, now The Seas with Nemo & Friends, came down, and the temporary entrance/exit became just an exit. The Seas with Nemo & Friends was rededicated on January 24, 2007.

Turtle Talk with Crush closed five days after the pavilion was rededicated. Its unusual success was overwhelming the pavilion. When it opened, it occupied Module 1C, formerly Earth Systems. Reopening a few weeks later, Module 1A was closed and its displays moved to Module 1C, 1A becoming the new entrance to Turtle Talk with Crush. A corridor was constructed from the module into the second preshow theater, which had been unused since United Technologies dropped sponsorship of The Living Seas, when Disney had built a bypass corridor so guests could skip the attraction preshow.

A loosely related attraction, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage has also been built at Disneyland which is located in the same area as the original Submarine Voyage, which closed on September 9 1998. This attraction opened on June 11th 2007.

Guests board their own ‘Clamobiles’ and venture into the sea to join Marlin, Dory, and the other memorable characters as they search for Nemo who has become lost again. They first journey through a coral reef where they find Marlin the clownfish searching for Nemo. Farther along the reef they come across Mr. Ray and his students setting out to explore and look for Nemo. Dory soon joins Marlin in the search and they come upon a group of jellyfish. Suddenly out of the darkness comes an anglerfish that begins to chase them frantically. Guests dive deeper and come upon the wreck of a massive submarine that sits in the center of a deadly minefield. Peeking out from the wreck is Bruce the Great White Shark, and Chum the Mako shark trying to coax Nemo out from his hiding spot. Unfortunately Anchor the Hammerhead is not part of the ride. They assure him that fish are friends not food in their sneaky voices. Guests’s ‘Clamobiles’ are then swept up into the EAC with Nemo, Crush, and Squirt. The current empties out the guests into a massive aquarium where Nemo is reunited once again with his friends. As they sing a closing song, “In the Big Blue World” (although the ride opened first, the song was adapted from the Disney’s Animal Kingdom show Finding Nemo – The Musical), these Pixar characters swim in the real aquarium along with real fish by use of special effect glass. The ‘Clamobiles’ then return to the surface.

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