Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Seas With . . .Ariel?

I’m not too secretive about the fact that the ride-thru portion of The Seas with Nemo makes me want to bang my head against the wall of my “clam-mobile”. However, if Project Gemini had gone forward, The Seas pavilion might be home to another animated Disney character: Ariel.

What was Project Gemini, you ask? For a full overview, I encourage you to read Jim Hill’s 2003 article on the subject. Briefly, though, it was a plan to totally remake Future World to appeal to young people. There would be more thrill rides (at least two, including one called Time Racers that would be installed inside a gutted Spaceship Earth) a “Junior Autopia” for the little kids in front of Test Track, and a hedge maze between The Land and the Imagination pavilion. And trees. Lots and lots of trees. Also, The Living Seas, which at this point was being actively neglected by Disney management, would be rethemed around Ariel and the cast of The Little Mermaid.

How would this have been handled? According to the article I linked to above:

“Ariel, King Triton and Sebastian are slated to serve as the new hosts of the aptly named "Under the Sea" pavilion. The new pre-show (as well as the bulk of The Living Seas revamped exhibits) will now stress how we must all learn to live in harmony with the world's oceans. Not over-fish or pollute ... or we risk destroying this precious resource forever.

I'm told that Seabase Alpha will now be repositioned as the finale of the "Under the Sea" show. To show us all how idyllic the future could be if we really do learn to live in harmony with the ocean.”

Look, I’m no fan of The Little Mermaid, but I still have to admit that sounds a heck of a lot better than the Nemo pavilion we ended up getting. It would used popular animated characters to teach kids about the impact of human behavior on the oceans.

Come to think of it, why couldn’t they have done this with Nemo? As bad as some of the Project Gemini ideas were (turning Spaceship Earth into a Space Mountain-like ride, for example) the Seas idea was really on the right track. Of course, the pavilion might have ended up being painted pink, but that would have been a small price to pay.


  1. It does seem that they should be able to do the same sort of thing, and should have done that, with Nemo and friends as they were proposing with Ariel...instead they offered a dumbed down ride that would probably be more at home in Fantasyland. It's not that I "hate" the ride (though it's far from a "must do" for me and for my sons), but as so many have poointed out, it doesn't really fit with the Epcot mission...

  2. Unlike Little Mermaid, Nemo even has a teaching character, Mr. Ray, and the "going to school to learn" scene written into the story. Pixar went over the top on creating one of the more memorable scenes from the movie where they are drifting over the coral reef and seeing all the amazing creatures that are there. Talk about a missed opportunity for what could have been a remarkable attraction that fits with Epcot's mission.

  3. I don't read Jim Hill because he pulls so much information out of his ass. And he's arrogant.

    But I'm very glad the mermaid was kept out of here, and its too bad Nemo couldn't have been kept out too.

  4. Nemo won out over Ariel because "The Little Mermaid" is an antiquated, circa-1989 franchise that is far less relevant and marketable than "Finding Nemo" is in today marketplace.


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