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Disneyland's Backstage Magazine is a publication exclusively for
Disneyland Annual Passholders. In their Spring 2007 issue they
profiled Disney's Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, and interviewed
its designer, Josh Catalfo. DisneySubmarines.com brings you this
NEW! "The Subs are back!"
Article from Disneyland's Backstage Pass
By now, everyone knows that this is
The Year of a Million Dreams at the
Disneyland Resort. So it should come as
no surprise that a long-awaited dream
of many annual passholders is coming
true at last! Yes, the classic Disneyland
submarines are resurfacing this June as
part of the brand-new Finding Nemo
Submarine Voyage attraction - just in
time for The Year of a Million Dreams
celebration! The original vessels from
1959 have been updated and
enhanced, and they're ready to take
guests on an exciting , new journey into
the colorful world of the hit
Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo.
To get the inside scoop on how this
Backstage Pass: The idea of marrying the Disneyland submarines
with the world of Finding Nemo is such as natural one. How and
when did the idea first surface?
Kathy Mangum: Disney Imagineers have been planning on what to
do with the submarine lagoon ever since it closed in 1998. However,
when the film Finding Nemo was released in 2003, and it became
one of the most popular animated features of all time, we realized
we had the perfect storyline to enhance this classic attraction. The
concept was born and plans began to take shape in 2004 to create
the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
BP: How much input did John Lasseter and the other creators of the
film have on the storyline and actual design of the new attraction?
KM: We started collaborating with John and the Pixar team as soon
as we developed the idea. In fact, Pixar Animation Studios is
providing several minutes of entirely new animation for us. We've
also worked closely together on everything in the show - the sets,
the lighting, the dialogue, the music - you name it!
BP: Does the attraction borrow anything - other than the characters,
of course - from the film? Original voice actors? Musical score? Those
sorts of things.
KM: Well, we're basing our show on an incredible movie, so of course
we have tried to remain as true to the film as possible. I think our
Interview with Disneyland's Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Project Lead,
A lifelong Disney fan - and yes, a one-time annual passholder too, Josh Catalfo now experiences Disney Magic
from the other side, as a Cast Member and Project Lead on the new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction
at Disneyland. Recently, Josh took a few minutes from his increasingly busy schedule to tell us a little more about
his dream job.
Backstage Pass: How did you land such a great job?
Josh Catalfo: Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to open two other attractions in Disneyland Park - The
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. On Buzz, I worked closely with the
Project Lead and decided that when they were going to refurbish the former Submarine Voyage, I knew that I
wanted to be in that role. With my mentors and management team guiding me, I worked on developing my skills
and waited for the posting. When the opportunity finally came up last March, I jumped at it and was fortunate to
be selected. I like to think that my vacation to Australia and the Great Barrier Reef helped, but probably not.
BP: What exactly does a project lead do?
JC: Working with the Tomorrowland Project Manager, Paul Spitsen, and Tom Turley, Attractions Program
Development, I help oversee the transformation of the attraction from a construction site to a working attraction
open to guests. I'm involved in many of the decisions that affect the attraction, from costume development and
recruiting Cast Members, to interfacing with Ride System, Show Integration and Creative Imagineers. I also have
been developing the queue plans, ordering equipment and supplies for the attraction, and many numerous small
tasks that must be done before we can open the attraction to guests.
BP: Do you have one extra-special memory of this experience?
JC: This entire process has exceeded my wildest imagination. There are so many things that have cropped up
that I never would have anticipated, and it has been fun adapting to every challenge. My one extra-special
memory would have to be the first time I went to the site since last April. Most of the demolition was complete
and they were just beginning the construction. Walking through the sub caverns with no water in them, you're
just overwhelmed by the sheer size of it all.
BP: What would Josh the annual passholder think about all this?
JC: I would be beside myself. The Submarine Voyage was a classic attraction that Walt Disney personally worked
on, and I'm glad that it's finally coming back. I loved Finding Nemo, so I'm also glad there will be a new attraction
based on the movie. Put them together and I would be frothing at the mouth with excitement. Let's be honest,
though; I'm just as excited as a Cast Member as I would be as an annual passholder!
BP: Besides the subs themselves, we hear the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage gives some nods to previous
incarnations of Disney's Submarine Voyage attraction. Will guests recognize any familiar sights or sounds?
KM: The dialogue for our new submarine captain incorporates some of the original dialogue from the former
attraction. We have also included some humorous nods to the original Submarine Voyage attraction - some that
are subtle and some that are more overt - which our guests will enjoy discovering throughout their journey.
BP: How did you get the coral reefs to sparkle like that?
KM: Walt Disney Imagineering developed an innovative and environmentally friendly technique of "painting with
glass." Over 30 tons of recycled glass, in over 40 different colors, were used. By using this glass, we managed
to achieve an amazing underwater vibrancy that should last a lot longer than traditional underwater paint.
BP: WDI is known for pushing the envelope with every new project. What is the one coolest feature of this
attraction that you think would make Walt Disney smile?
KM: I think that Walt would be proud that we managed to tell a new story while respecting the original
attraction. Walt was a master storyteller in everything he did and I think he'd appreciate that we are telling an
incredible story in an innovative, one-of-a-kind way. Only Disney would do an attraction like this.
BP: And finally, while they're trying to find Nemo, are there any "hidden Mickeys" that our guests can be looking
KM: If guests look closely, they might be able to find a hidden sea serpent or maybe even a small mermaid!
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Submarine Voyage". More legal stuff.
awesome idea became a reality, Backstage Pass caught up with the
Executive Producer of Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Kathy
Mangum, and went fishing for answers to our questions.
guests will be amazed at how we've re-created many of the worlds found in the movie - the coral reef in
particular is just stunning! In addition, our composer, Ed Kalnins, created a musical score that was inspired by
the Thomas Newman score used in the film. Several of the actors who voiced the characters in the film provided
the voices for the attraction.
BP: Now, this is the very same fleet of subs as before. But did you have to make any changes to them other than
a fresh coat of yellow paint?
KM: The fleet of eight submarines was entirely refurbished. The biggest difference is that on the former
attraction, the submarines used to be powered by diesel engines and now they are fully electric vehicles. Two
extra seats were added to each submarine to increase guest capacity on board. Special surprise onboard effects
will also add to the guests' enjoyment of the attraction.
BP: Does the experience vary depending on where you're seated in the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage?
KM: While the guests' view of the attraction is different depending on where they sit in the submarine (front
versus back or left versus right), the overall view will be comparable from each seat. Guests at the front of the
submarine, for example, might be able to see Nemo at one point, while the guests at the back might not be able
to see him until a couple moments later, and vice versa. The sound will also differ, depending on where guests
sit, to match what they are observing from their portholes.