Remembering 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

It’s been 20 years since one of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions closed…..20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  The attraction was based off the movie of the same name.  The attraction never actually went under the sea.  Guests entered boats and sat below the water line while the boat went around a track.  Bubbles were used to simulate going deeper and deeper into the water.

photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore
photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore

The attraction went on an underwater journey which started with a surface storm and the boat descending into the water to avoid the storm.  It continued through the wreckage of other boats and a journey to the South Pole.  The attraction concluded with a voyage to the lost city of Atlantis before re-surfacing. The attraction was very popular, however, line management led to its demise.  The unloading/loading time was very long.  Each boat sat 40 guests and the boats came in groups in three (there were 12 boats in total).  In addition, the ride was very expensive to maintain.  It was these two factors which led to the attractions closing despite its popularity.  The attraction was converted into Ariel’s Grotto but then the lagoon was filled in.  The attraction became Pooh’s Playful Spot and now the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Three of the 12 boats were saved from the landfill. One of the boats can be seen on the Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios.  The other two boats were shipped to Castaway Cay and sunk.  They are now part of the snorkeling lagoon.  For guests who still pine for this attraction can go to Disneyland where the attraction has been converted to Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage or to Tokyo Disneysea where it operates as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

One of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage boats
One of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage boats

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