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The Living Seas was an aquarium and attached dark ride attraction located on the western side of Future World at Epcot, a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida. The pavilion was themed as an underwater exploration base called Sea Base Alpha, with several exhibits devoted to oceanic study. The pavilion opened in 1986, but had been planned as part of the park since its opening in 1982.[1][2]

History

The Seas Pavilion was part of plans for Epcot Center since the late-70s, with an early version of the attraction planned to feature the Greek sea god Poseidon as a host for a dark ride using bubble vehicles exploring different aspects of the ocean before dropping guests off at a futuristic marine research base. It didn't make it into the opening line-up as Disney had trouble finding a partner to sponsor the pavilion with and the dark ride portion was scaled back when United Technologies signed on to sponsor the attraction.

The Living Seas opened to the public on January 15, 1986. It housed the largest saltwater tank in the world at its completion, holding 5.7 million US gallons (22,000,000 L) of water, but was surpassed in 2005 with the opening of the Georgia Aquarium.[2][3] The concept of the building was to take visitors under the ocean to "Sea Base Alpha". Guests viewed a short movie about the formation of the oceans entitled The Sea, which was followed by an elevator ride to the ocean floor aboard a "Hydrolator" (in reality, guests rode a stationary hydraulic elevator while moving walls, sound effects and a vibrating floor gave the effect of traveling a long distance downward ). Guests then boarded a Seacab on the Caribbean Coral Reef Ride, and rode through the middle of the tank. They then disembarked into the main exhibit area where they could interact with various multimedia displays. Once finished, guests leaving the pavilion would then board another Hydrolator to the surface (which, similar to the first set of elevators, simulated upward motion).

The Living Seas was sponsored by United Technologies from its opening until 1998. After the departure of United Technologies as sponsor of The Living Seas, significant changes were made to the pavilion. All sponsorship references were removed from the pavilion. Preshow theatre #2 was removed and a corridor was built through its space, allowing for guests to bypass the preshow if they wished to go directly to the Hydrolators.

On October 21, 2001, as a result of declining patronage following the September 11 attacks, the Seacabs closed down and were walled off. The queue of the Seacab ride was left intact and the Seacabs were still visible to guests through the ocean tank windows. Reasons for their closure are not entirely known. After they closed, guests leaving the Hydrolators walked along the former wheelchair bypass corridor to Sea Base Alpha. Now, guests had the option of viewing the preshow or going directly to the Hydrolators and simply walking to Sea Base Alpha.

In December 2003, Disney began to re-theme The Living Seas into a new pavilion based on the recently released Pixar film Finding Nemo. The majority of the transformation began with exterior elements, but in January 2004, the interior began to change as well. On November 16, 2004, Turtle Talk with Crush opened in what was once Module 1C, or the Earth Systems exhibit. The show's unexpected success overwhelmed the pavilion, causing the development of plans to move Turtle Talk with Crush to a larger area in the pavilion.

Turtle Talk with Crush was only the beginning of changes to The Living Seas. On August 21, 2005, The Living Seas closed for its transformation into The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Parts of the pavilion reopened in late November 2005. Outside the pavilion, the facade and mural were changed and depictions of sea life seen in Finding Nemo were added. The exit Hydrolators had been removed, and were replaced with glass doors that served as an exit and temporary entrance. Sea Base Alpha had been re-themed to Finding Nemo and the entire original preshow area was in the process of being rebuilt. Decor and signage was replaced and scientific displays were replaced by ones themed to Finding Nemo. Turtle Talk with Crush remained as popular as it was before the transformation.

Pavilion attractions and services

  • The Sea (1982-2005)
  • Hydrolators (1982-2005)
  • Caribbean Coral Reef Ride (1982-2001)
  • Sea Base Alpha - the main aquarium area, featuring two levels of viewing into the Caribbean Coral Reef exhibit as well as several modules containing additional exhibits. (1982-)[4]
    • Module 1A and 2A- Ocean Ecosystems - featured an assortment of smaller tank exhibits related to other ocean environments on the lower floor, while the upper floor featured an exhibit on mariculture.
      • Pacific Coast Kelp Forest - A central tank that spanned both floors of the module, removed when Turtle Talk took over the lower floor.
      • Mariculture Lab - Located in 2A, displayed techniques for underwater farming of plants and animals. A marine biologist was often available for questions/discussions.
    • Module 1B and 2B - Marine Mammal Research Center - Home to the pavilion's manatees.
    • Module 1C - Earth Systems - Featured exhibits on plate tectonics and undersea geography
      • The Animated Atlas of the World
      • What on Earth - a map that marks undersea volcanoes, faults, the Ring of Fire, etc. with lights that illuminate when the corresponding button is pressed.
      • Clues to an Age-Old Mystery - display shows a sample of the earth's core.
      • Anatomy of the Sea - this large tube shows what the ocean is composed of.
    • Module 1D - Undersea Exploration
      • Jason - A short show hosted by an animatronic version of the Jason submersible robot explaining how robots are playing a part in the exploration of the deepest parts of the ocean
      • JIM Suit - an interactive photo opportunity allowing guests to "enter"
      • Suited for the Sea - A five minute short film exploring the history of diving technology.
    • Lockout Chamber - The Lockout Chamber consists of a scuba diver who dives in a circular tube to teach people about fish and scuba.
    • Wave Tank - Twenty foot long tank displaying how waves formed and effected the beach and ocean floor. Removed in 1999.
    • Turtle Talk with Crush - an interactive show wherein the sea turtle from Finding Nemo answers children's questions about the sea. Replaced Module 1A. (2004-)
  • Gift Shop
  • Coral Reef Restaurant - a table service dining establishment whose primary draw is the fact that one of its walls is the aquarium's glass back. Mickey can occasionally be seen scuba diving in the aquarium.
  • Epcot DiveQuest
  • Epcot Seas Aqua Tour (2002-)
  • Dolphins in Depth

VIP room

This pavilion has a backstage VIP room that is used for private events, such as weddings and conventions. The room is a long, curved room, with wood-paneled walls. One side has floor-to-ceiling windows into the aquarium. The room also has an acrylic glass see-through piano.

Consultants and advisers

  • Dr. Robert Ballard, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Dr. Sylvia Earle, Vice President, Ocean Engineering, Inc.
  • Mr. Gilbert Grosvenor, President, National Geographic Society
  • Dr. Murray Newman, Director, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
  • Professor William Nierenberg, Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Dr. David Potter, Vice President, Public Affairs, General Motors Corporation
  • Dr. John Ryther, Director, Division of Applied Biology, Harbor Branch Foundation, Inc.
  • Mr. Robert Wildman, Deputy Director, NOAA, Office of Sea Grants Program

Gallery

References

  1. Beard, Richard R. (1982). in Lory Frankel: Walt Disney's EPCOT. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., page 119. ISBN 0-8109-0819-0. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kurtti, Jeff (1996). Since the World Began: Walt Disney World, The First 25 Years. New York, New York: Hyperion, page 105. ISBN 0-7868-6248-3. 
  3. "Aquarium sets Guinness record", Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2010-08-23). Retrieved on 9 September 2010. 
  4. http://www.intercot.com/edc/LivingSeas/lssba.html


Wikipedia
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia page The Seas with Nemo & Friends. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.


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