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Atlantis - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

A classic Theme Park ride that I remember viewing the City of Atlantis within, is Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (within the video, skip to six minutes fifteen seconds to see Atlantis):

Atlantis - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Mermaid and Sea Serpent

This used to be my favourite Magic Kingdom ride - until it was closed/depreciated in (circa) 1994. I loved the fact that this ride combined five distinct fantasy themes. First: There was a fantasy submarine - the Nautilus (which you rode in). Second: There was the concept of living underwater - the harvesting of Kelp Beds and Sea Life (both for food). Third: There was a Ruined underwater City - the Lost City of Atlantis (which the Nautilus just-so-happens to discover). Four: There was a reminder of just how rough the Sea/Weather can be from the point-of-view of earlier Sea Explorers - the Graveyard of Lost Ships (the wooden hulls of Pirate Ships, Viking Longships, etc. located near/under the Polar Ice Cap). Five: My personal favourite - was the fact that this ride portrayed two of my favourite Mythical Creatures: Mermaids and Sea Serpents. As such, I approved of the idea of Mermaids having Sea Serpents as their pets - as is suggested within the ride (when the Sea Serpent is on leads). I also approved of the way that Mermaids were represented - with long flowing hair and their lower half modelled by a fishes tail, moving gently on the currents, but still being somewhat stationary (watching the Nautilus). I think that the Sea Serpent was suitably sized - as I got the impression that it could have sunk the Nautilus (if it wanted to), although, within this particular ride, it was the Giant Squid/Sea Monster that attempted this! As for the City of Atlantis - I enjoyed seeing the Classical Ruins appear from the dark: the white Stone Pillars, Temples and Statues being gradually revealed/highlighted in white/green, all intermixed/overgrown with Seaweed and Kelp. I also remember that the ride left you with a good impression/feeling of having (actually) been on a submarine! For the most part, this effect was achieved by the use of air bubbles - bubbling up along the side of the Nautilus, to suggest the fact that you were diving. The narrator also played into this belief - especially when he orders the Nautilus, to dive, as deep as possible! I also enjoyed the narration that's related to the Green Sea Turtles - especially the suggestion, that they are descendants of the Dinosaurs (living in the Modern Age). The Sea Bed itself? This created a good impression/illusion of realism - especially with the inclusion of Giant Clams and Lobsters/Crabs (both of which, were also, animated). The Nautilus herself? The two most striking parts about the Nautilus (that I remember) was: 1) The shear amount of rivets present upon her hull form. 2) The steep stairs when you entered/left the vessel. As for the rivets: I feel that these helped to capture the concept of an Earlier Time in Sea Exploration - as most (if not all) modern ships/submarines only make use of welding, when constructing their hull forms (as welding is much more watertight). Overall: this was a great water-themed ride, that I rode many times within Fantasyland (as a young Dragon!). It's a ride that left something of an impression on me - as I have hoarded a ninety-six litre freshwater aquarium, that just-so-happens to feature some Temples of Atlantis, a Viking Longship and a Nuclear Submarine model. Alas, as the Disney ride is now no more - I shall have to make do with watching my Mermaids swim between the Ruined City, that's found within my aquarium!

21/01/2015 | Victorian Hawk | Web: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Ride)

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