June 9, 2007

Disneyland Submarines Resurface

If you’ve been following Disneyland news at all, you’ll know that next week is when the Disneyland Submarines finally reopen, after being closed for nine years. The submarines were part of Disneyland’s first big expansion in 1959, and for nearly 40 years after that visitors boarded the 40-passenger steel tubes for a voyage into “liquid space”. Along the way you could find sunken treasure, mermaids, and the ruins of Atlantis, and survive encounters with an underwater volcano, giant squid, and a sea serpent. In 1998, after years of neglect, the subs were shut down as a cost-saving measure, and none of us ever thought we’d see them operate again.

But 1998 was a dark time for Disneyland, and things are definitely looking brighter these days. A few years ago it was decided to reopen the subs, and not just reopen them as they had always been. The whole ride was going to be completely reimagined as an underwater adventure with the characters from Finding Nemo. We’ve watched the construction eagerly for a couple of years now, and finally the time has come. And since new rides at Disneyland always go through a shakedown period of a couple of weeks before their official opening, where folks with the right connections can get an advance ride, there are already plenty of reviews and even video online of the new attraction.

So here are a bunch of links for you, all the interesting stuff I’ve found online about the subs.

The Window To The Magic podcast has both a complete audio and video ride-through of the attraction. Great stuff, the next best thing to being there.

Mice Age has an article about the history of the subs, and a review of the ride.

Mice Chat has a forum thread for reviews and pictures of the ride.

Yesterland has photos from the original 1959 construction.

On YouTube there is video of a 1998 ride-through on the old subs, in two parts: One and Two.

Also on YouTube, a 1959 promotional film for the subs.

Jim Hill has an article
about how the subs were Walt’s response to Pacific Ocean Park.

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