Morro Bay is a waterfront city in San Luis Obispo County, California. In the 2016 Disney/Pixar animated film, Finding Dory, it is the place serving as one of the film's major plots and is also the place where Dory was born which is at the Marine Life Institute, also housed here.
In Finding Dory, Morro Bay is based on the real-life location from California as well as the filmmakers' research at Monterey Bay, where it houses a kelp forest in it. This area includes a midnight zone where a territorial giant squid lives and also an aquarium where Dory was born.
Places of interest
- Marine Life Institute - An aquarium known as the "Jewel of Morro Bay". It is the place where Dory was born.
- Midnight Zone - An area where it houses a sunken ship and also a giant squid in it.
- Kelp Forest - A habitat where Dory ended up at as a baby fish. It is the spot where Dory ended up at along with Marlin and Nemo in a plan to find her parents.
Role in the film
Ever since Dory was caught in the currents in the Open Ocean exhibit at the Marine Life Institute which led her to the ocean, Dory ended up in Morro Bay, California, looking for her parents. Dory asks two nearby kelp bass to know where her parents are at to which the conversation between her and the kelp bass was unsuccessful since the two notice she was gone. Growing up from a tween to an adult fish, Dory ends up in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia where she was unaware of Marlin looking for his son Nemo during the events of Finding Nemo.
In the present, Marlin, Nemo, and Dory plan on going to Morro Bay where Dory remembers where her parents were, so the three fish arrive on the California Current where Crush and Squirt take the two to Morro Bay, wishing them a good luck to Dory to help her find her parents. Arriving at Morro Bay, Marlin, Nemo, and Dory end up in the Midnight Zone where they survive a violent chase between them and a giant squid. After Marlin's harshness offends a despondent Dory, she finds herself near the Marine Life Institute and hears an intercom voice whom she thinks the person talking via PA systems is a fish to which Dory ends up getting caught by two volunteers much to Marlin and Nemo's worry.
Upset about what Marlin did to Dory, Nemo plans to ask someone for help to which Marlin warns him to be careful of sea lions. Marlin and Nemo ask the sea lions Fluke and Rudder to know what building Dory is at to which they tell them that it is a fish hospital, where animals get housed for shelter and released back into the ocean. To help the clownfish get inside the Institute, Fluke and Rudder call in a flock of loons, including Becky, in order to help the two get inside the Institute grounds. When Becky receives a green bucket from Gerald, she takes Marlin and Nemo to the Institute grounds where the two ultimately find Dory inside the Institute. At the quarantine area before the truck leaves from California to Cleveland, Hank escapes from aquarium workers, causing him to drop Dory in panic, just as Dory finds herself in the kelp forest of Morro Bay.
Swimming in the area around her, Dory finally finds her missing parents Charlie and Jenny who happily reunite with their daughter. Dory swims towards Destiny and Bailey's enclosures to which she tells them that she found her parents just as the two manage to escape their exhibits. Meanwhile at the truck, Nemo and Marlin are stuck inside the truck leading from Morro Bay to Cleveland to which Hank is disappointed that he lost Dory while the aquarium employees are trying to release the octopus back into the ocean.
Upon escaping their exhibits, Dory tells the whale shark and beluga duo that her friends Marlin and Nemo are still inside the truck to which Destiny, Bailey, Charlie, and Jenny plan to stop the truck but Bailey becomes distracted upon seeing a pack of otters. Planning to stop traffic, Dory devises a plan with Destiny to flip her when the otters reach the freeway, delaying the traffic. The traffic briefly stops, but an angry truck driver named Carl wards off the otters thinking they are trying to eat the fish inside the truck. Marlin and Nemo are saved from the truck, but not Dory, due to the truck continuing to move. Hank sees a hatch from the inside to which he escapes and scares off the truck drivers, allowing Hank and Dory to occupy the spots where they are driving at. Hank manages to drive the truck into the ocean, finally reuniting Dory with her parents and releasing all the fish inside. The former residents of the Marine Life Institute, alongside Dory's parents, Marlin, Nemo, and Dory herself leave from Morro Bay to the Great Barrier Reef.
- In the 1977 Disney film, Pete's Dragon, the lighthouse set was constructed on a rocky point at Morro Bay, California, though the film is set in Maine. In order to use the lighthouse, Disney had to obtain permission from the Coast Guard in order to use it for the film.
- Coincidentally, the 2016 remake of Pete's Dragon was also released on the same year Finding Dory was released.
- Page 4 of Bonus Feature "About Pete's Dragon" (DVD; High-Flying Edition, 2009).