The Cast Member Previews and Annual Passholder previews are now over and regular soft openings will begin next week on Disney World’s next attraction, The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot. I’ve been on it four times now and rate it a solid C ticket, possibly a D ticket. They’ve included a huge queue for this thing, so obviously they’re expecting crowds.
From here on out thar’ be spoilers. So warned ye’ be.
You enter the attraction by passing three seagull’s from the movie, through the old pavilion entrance. If you want to enter the pavilion to see Turtle Talk with Crush or the aquarium, you’ll continue to enter through the old exit. The new entrance is only for the attraction. Also, there is no fastpass for this attraction. This is a good thing as the capacity for this attraction appears large. So as long as the attraction keeps movie, the queue will keep moving. No need for fastpass to artificially slow the queue down.
The initial queue hasn’t changed much in layout or lighting, but the scenery is a nice overlay of beach themeing with some foreshadowing and humor spread throughout. When you leave that queue you quickly (and somewhat abruptly) transition to the ‘under-water’ portion of the queue.
There are a lot of great special effects and lighting in the queue,
including a familiar set of three circles on the ceiling at one point.
The queue is completely wheelchair accessible. However, when you reach
the end of the queue you’ll have to pull off if you’re in an electric
wheelchair and transfer to either a regular wheelchair or an attraction
vehicle. There is at least one customized ride vehicle that will hold a
I don’t like how motorized wheelchair guests have to wait through
the whole queue and then are asked to wait an extra period of time at
the end as they transition to a wheelchair to wait for the specialized
vehicle. It might be a good idea to expedite those guests to save them,
and their party, some time.
The new attractions cast member crew is still working out the kinks
on how the ride will handle slowing down, stopping, and starting again.
But they are making progress. I did not have one ride that was
uninterrupted by slowdown or stopping. But that wasn’t a bad thing as I
got to see and hear more of the dialog.
Now we’re on the attraction — the loading area is very well themed.
Look for a hidden Nemo and Squirt on the last glass panel before you
enter the attraction proper. The attraction uses a mix of rear
projection, HD screens, and pepper’s ghosts effects to tell the story
of Nemo getting separated from his father again (whose neurosis seems
to have come back). Most of the original movie participants make a
reappearance in the ride. However, the dentist office crew is missing
except for the starfish. That’s too bad, I would have liked to see them
in there somewhere.
There is also a very sudden and unexplained transition from the
jellyfish to the anglerfish. Some audio here to move the story along
would be good. Perhaps just Dory going ‘down down down’ like she did in
There’s another rough transition from the EAC, the east Australian
current, with Crush and Squirt, to a suddenly reunited Memo, Marlin,
and Dory. Um, how did that happen. Mr. Ray should be seen first since
that is what the voice-over suggests.
Then there is the song. Apparently it’s a new song written for the
Nemo show that will be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s cute,
perhaps too cute, and the ride pokes fun at it for being so.
These transition issues are mostly minor, as are the frequent
technical difficulties that new attractions always experience. Here are
two issues that aren’t minor, but will require significant changes to
The first major issue is the pacing of the second half of the
attraction. The pace of the attraction is fine for most of the
attraction. The spiel in each room is long and varied, so you’ll likely
hear different things if you ride it more than once.
Once you get past the EAC the pace is way too fast. You see these
five windows into the larger aquarium, and characters from the movie
are swimming in there with the live fish. (A great special effect!)
Before you’re even over the surprise of that you’re around the corner
and exiting the vehicle. Alas, there is no way to slow down the pace in
that area without slowing down the whole pace of the attraction,
lowering its capacity, and throwing off the pace of the first part of
the attraction. So I’m going to recommend multiple rides for this one
The second major issue is the placement of the attraction in the
pavilion. It appears to me that two extra cast members will be required
to watch the entrance and exit areas from within the pavilion. The exit
for the attraction dumps guests right into the middle of the pavilion
with nothing preventing pavilion guests from entering the exit except a
CM stationed there.
This will be mitigated somewhat when Turtle Talk with Crush is moved
to a larger theatre and the queue is rerouted out of the center of the
pavilion (this appears to be underway already). But it still seems a
huge safety hazard. This could be solved with a wall that directs
traffic to the side instead of straight ahead. Didn’t it used to work
like that anyway?
What did I like about the attraction. Well, quite a bit. They could
have cheaped-out and used wood flats and simple video for most of the
attraction, but they didn’t and the 3-D scenery really helps make the
attraction fully-realized. The character voices aren’t exact, but
they’re pretty close and the script is really funny and varied. The
queue is above average for a even a Disney queue. I also like the
design of the ‘clam-mobile’ ride vehicles.
For a pretty good idea of what you’ll be seeing check out this ride-through filmed by the Inside the Magic vlog.
If I’m critical of the ride above, it’s because I care and want
everything to be perfect for every guest. I’m very impressed with the
various uses of technology of all levels to pull together a cute little
story (albeit with some holes) and make a very memorable attraction
featuring the stars from Pixar’s successful Finding Nemo. If the new
submarine ride at Disneyland can do better than this, then they’ll have
another hit on their hands there too.