Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie

When I first thought of this topic, I thought it would be easy to pick just one “best attraction adapted from a movie”.  However, it got to be really difficult to narrow it down to just one because each attraction is so unique, it was like comparing apples to oranges.  But I needed to pick one, and in order to do so I needed some criteria to measure each attraction by.  So, here’s what I decided….the attraction must be close to the storyline of the movie and include references to scenes from the film, it must be well identifiable upon first glance and synonymous with the film, and it must be cutting edge for it’s time (hence the “best”). 

After all my analysis, my “Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie” actually no longer exists and I thought about throwing it out of the running, but I kept coming back to it in order to meet my defined criteria.  So, my pick for Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie is/was….20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  At the time, the ride was a technological achievement for the parks.  The ride vehicles WERE the Nautilus.  How close can you get to the movie than that?  The narrator of the ride was Captain Nemo himself, and you get attacked by a giant squid at the end…it was amazing for it’s time.  The look, the feel of the attraction was 100% based on the 1954 movie, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Unfortunately, the appeal of 20,000 Leagues into the 21st century wasn’t enough to keep the attraction, which was already difficult and costly to maintain, alive.  Permanently closed in 1996, now it only resides in our memories, but will always be for me the Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie.

My runner-up, is the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House.  From a historical reference tied to a movie, it really holds the cards, but it isn’t well identifiable upon first glance.  It also doesn’t tell much of a story, it’s more of a static display….a very good static display.

Honorable mention goes to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Turtle Talk with Crush, and The Laugh Floor.  The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh almost made it to the top of my list.  It tells A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh story in a spectacular and sweet/child-like way and is synonymous with the film (actually, book in this case with imagery from the Disney film), but the Honey-Pots couldn’t trump the Nautilus. 

All in all, it really is hard to pick just one “best” of anything because people’s opinions are so varied and one’s experience base really reflects your perspective of what is “best”.  However, you look at it, I enjoy and have enjoyed all the attractions based on movies!

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride facts:
  • The attraction opened two weeks after the Magic Kingdom due to infrastructure problems with the lagoon.
  • October 14, 1971, the first guests boarded a submarine to take the ten-minute voyage of discovery.
  • The completed attraction covered almost a quarter of Fantasyland, including the lagoon and hidden show building surrounded by palm trees and volcanic rock, meant to evoke the impression of Captain Nemo's Pacific Ocean base Vulcania.
  • A storage facility at the back of the show building served to house submarines removed from the main line during day-to-day operation, and also included a dry dock for repair work.
  • Along the shores of the lagoon, small beaches were built, one with a chest of abandoned pirate treasure.
  • The words "20,000 Leagues" were spelled out in nautical code from signaling flags at the entrance to the attraction.
  • The cast members operating the attraction played the roles of Nemo's ever-silent crew, and wore authentic replicas of the screen production's costumes.
  • Throughout the attraction's life, the crews were almost exclusively male. The first helmswoman appeared in the 1970s.
  • The attraction vehicles were not actual submarines, but instead boats in which the guests sat below water level.
  • The interiors were a mix of metal paneling, rivets and bolts, as well as Victorian style fittings in the form of passenger seats that can flip outwards, and armrests beneath the portholes, in keeping with the concept from the 1954 feature film.
  • Each "guest" aboard the Nautilus had his or her own seat, as well as a round porthole to look out into the attraction.
  • Each of the vehicles accommodated a total of forty riders.
  • In 1994, ride was temporarily closed for renovations.  It wasn't until early 1996 that it was formally announced that the ride was closed permanently.

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