“Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future” – Walt Disney
Tonight, we will submerge ourselves in the past and begin Disney’s first journey under the sea. Of course we are talking about 20000 Leagues under the Sea!
One of the original flagship attractions, 20000 Leagues opened at WDW Magic Kingdom on October 14, 1971. It took 38 riders ‘under the sea’ in submarines that sat in a huge water tank that held 11.5 million gallons of water. Occupants sat on a stool in front of a porthole view that would fill with air bubbles upon descent. While on the voyage, riders heard the voice of Captain Nemo, traveled around Vulcania, and saw variety of underwater creatures like turtles and fish. There were also animatronic deep sea divers and turtles. Throughout the journey, guests were guided around things from shipwrecks and sharks to icebergs and mermaids. In the final phase, the submarine was attacked by a giant squid, but was able to narrowly escape and return to safety.
The attraction was temporarily closed in 1994 for maintenance and sadly never opened again. Some of the props on the ride have been repurposed, including a submarine at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, but most were destroyed. The area was repurposed as a scenic area called Ariel’s Grotto until 1994 when it was demolished to make room for Pooh’s Playful Spot. In 2010, Pooh’s was closed. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train now sits where the ride originally resided.
What do you remember about your first ride on 20000 Leagues?