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Just as with any other Disneyland ride, there are many stories
circulating about the Submarine Voyage
This page is titled “Stories” because
there are so many fables floating
around about the submarine ride
that it’s not always easy to tell
which stories are true and which are
made up. Often times even when
someone, like a Disney Imagineer,
really “knows” something about a
past, present, or upcoming
attraction at Disneyland they aren’t
allowed to tell. In any case, we did
our best to look for real stories to
put on this page and, whenever
possible, cite the original source of
According to David Koenig, author
of an unauthorized history of
Disneyland called "Mouse Tales”, an
out-of-town couple once asked a
submarine operator how long the
ride lasted. When the Disney
employee replied “Two days”, the
couple hopped the Monorail to the Disneyland Hotel, packed up all their
luggage, and returned for what they thought was an overnight cruise!
Koenig also tells the story of an incident that took place on Pearl Harbor Day,
Dec 7, 1974. Koenig says that one submarine actually smacked another,
leaving 38 Japanese tourists standing atop their seats neck-high in water
before they either squeezed onto the pilot's ladder, or burst out the hatch to
swim off into the lagoon.
In addition, Koenig tells of the submarine worker who stripped down to his
underwear to save a mermaid, and the prank that Submarine operators would
play on each other by sliding a coin under the hatch of the pilot dome,
preventing it from sealing. When the sub motored under the waterfall, the
pilot would get soaked.
Koenig states that he interviewed a maintenance worker at Disneyland who
said that the original Submarine Voyage was closed because the tunnel was
collapsing. Koenig’s source said: “In at least one place, the guide rails had
broken free, and the repair costs were deemed too excessive. At least one
sub had damaged its sail when traveling across this section. The water level
in the lagoon has to be maintained to prevent a large sinkhole from collapsing
underneath Innoventions, which would take out Autopia and Rocket Rods as
well. Attempts to seal this hole have all failed, mostly due to the porous soil,
so Disney pumps something like 50,000 gallons of water per day into this
mess to keep things 'stable.' Each year, the amount of water necessary grows,
and nothing can or will be done about it."
You can read more from David Koenig at Mouseplanet.
According to Emuck.com, The 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ride at Disney
World also had structural problems. The Lagoon actually leaked water into
the Magic Kingdom’s Wardrobe Department which was directly underneath the
submarine vault. It's part of the vast Utilidor system that's underneath most
of the Magic Kingdom. The submarines only leaked when they rolled across
the seams at the bottom of the sea. Since Disney World stopped operating the
subs in September 1994, the leaks have largely stopped.
There are many ridiculous stories online that certainly aren't true. One
suggests that Disney’s submarine fleet were actually made of “modified
school buses” but contained real nuclear technology. The site also suggests
that a part of the Submarine Voyage took guests on a journey through the
Stories are even beginning to circulate about the Finding Nemo Submarine
Voyage. According to Jim Hill Media:
"Some Disneyland guests reportedly got a surprise late last year (2006) when
they strolled into Tomorrowland early one morning. Right after that theme
park had opened for the day. ‘What exactly did they see?,’ you ask. Well,
there -- sticking up over the construction wall that surrounds the old
Submarine Voyage lagoon -- were two seagulls from Finding Nemo. You know,
the ones who continually cried ‘Mine! Mine! Mine!’ in that motion picture?
Anywho ... I'm told that the sculpting of these two test figures was particulary
impressive. But what really amused those early morning Tomorrowland
visitors was when someone down in the still-dry lagoon accidentally hit the
wrong switch. And then suddenly these two robotic seagulls began moving.
More importantly, they began loudly squawking ‘Mine! Mine! Mine!’ Evidently,
what had happened is that the Imagineers had brought the two seagull
figures into Disneyland to do a little after-hours testing to see if it would be
really annoying for theme park guests walking through this area to
continually hear these robotic birds start squawking ‘Mine! Mine! Mine!’
everytime a new submarine started sailing around the lagoon. Prior to the
first guests being allowed into the park that day, this Finding Nemo Submarine
Voyage sound test was supposedly completed and the seagulls were then shut
off. But then -- by accident -- these robotic birds suddenly got turned back on
right after rope drop. I'm told that those guests who actually got to observe
this event found it to be doubly amusing. Both because of the squawking
seagulls as well as the sight of Disneyland managers frantically talking into
walkie-talkies, saying things like ‘Can we please get someone to go down into
the lagoon and shut off those birds? The guests aren't supposed to be seeing
or hearing this.’ Evidently, after 20 minutes of repeatedly shouting ‘Mine!
Mine! Mine!,’ the Finding Nemo seagulls were suddenly silenced and then
quickly pulled out of sight. Those folks who actually saw these figures in
action said that they were a great coming attraction for the Finding Nemo
Submarine Voyage attraction."
To see the Finding Nemo Seagulls in action Click Here. To read an interview
with the Producer of the brand new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Click
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