Tuesday, October 23, 2007

20,000 Leagues Attraction, Florida

From 1971 until 1994, an entire fleet of 14 super cool Nautilii (that's more than one Nautilus?) prowled the tropical lagoon at the Magic Kingdom in Florida. This second version of the Submarine Voyage was improved upon in many ways (at the time of its opening it was one of the most expensive attractions ever), and there's no denying that the vehicles themselves had more than a dash of style. Supposedly the subs at Disneyland were going to look like this, but sponsor General Dynamics insisted on contemporary nuclear subs.

Ships at sea often mistook the Nautilus for a sea monster, and it's clear why they did in this first photo. Notice the green "alligator eyes", complete with furrowed brows. Did these light up? The saw-toothed prow was perfectly suited for smashing through the wooden hulls of sailing ships. The waterfall that should be concealing the cave has been turned off for some reason.


Now we can see the entrance marquee, looking appropriately Victorian (or something!), like it had been designed by Gustave Eiffel. The 70' clothing is groovy, plaid pants go with everything, don't they?


This amazing attraction was"temporarily" closed in 1994, and stayed closed until the official announcement of its removal in 1996 (surely due to high operating and maintenance costs). I can only imagine how disappointed many 20K fans were (and continue to be), especially since it was replaced with "Pooh's Playful Spot". Ugh! And it makes me appreciate Disneyland's submarines all the more.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of the great losses of WDW. Too damn bad...

Chris Merritt said...

What great design! Sorely missed, this one is...

Davelandweb said...

between the 2 of us today, we have the subs covered on both coasts - although the WDW is definitely my favorite vehicle of the 2.

FoxxFur said...

As documented by either Mike Lee or 20kride.com (I can't remember which), the waterfalls were turned off for a bit because the water was coming into the sub cabs. Eventually the middle of the falls was dammed up and water fell on either side of the subs as they entered.

One of the best rides ever.

Musiken said...

Anyone know what happened to the sub vehicles at WDW after the closer?

Cory The Raven said...

Dissapointed? The removal of 20K is why I don't really intend on going to WDW. Tokyo, Paris, Anaheim again... The only one I'm less interested in than WDW is Hong Kong. But if WDW had the 20K ride still...

CoxPilot said...

musiken: You can read an entire history, see a video of the ride, lots of photos and history; all on www.20Kride.com. The last sub is sunk at Castaway Cay (Disney Island) off Florida, placed there for divers. Also, check out www.disneysub.com if your really a 20K geek (like me).