~Disney’s popular 20,000 Leagues Submarine Ride~
There was a time when you could board the NAUTILUS and journey to Atlantis….sort of.
The attraction was built into a gigantic water tank that looked like this when it was under construction…
…and like this when it was filled with water and the subs were running.
When it was down for maintenance, you could see the “subs” were actually a cross between a boat and a bus that ran on a concrete track.
But when it was running, it looked pretty convincing.
This attraction was very popular, and the lines of people waiting to take the voyage were usually long.
But once inside 20,000 LEAGUES, you entered the ride vehicle through a hatch in the bow…
…and stepped down into an interior decorated in NAUTILUS motif, where you had your own seat and viewport.
Once everyone was aboard, the hatch was closed and the sub was on its way.
Through the viewport you could see wonders of the deep, like sea creatures…
…sunken ships, and animatronic divers like this one…
…working and exploring at the bottom of the sea.
While this NAUTILUS wasn’t an actual submarine, and never went completely under the water; like other Disney submarine rides before this, it sure seemed to the passengers like it did!
When the ride was over, the NAUTILUS returned to the dock, and you could disembark, buy another ride, and go again as often as you liked.
Until one day the ride shut down, and the subs were sent to the Disney boneyard.
One of them was put on display for a while, and some say one or two more met similar fates….
But most of them just ended up rotting away in the weather for a time.
Here’s a look at the 20,000 LEAGUES Ghost Fleet: high-and-dry, and roasting in the sun.
Kind of sad, isn’t it? I’d bet there are collectors out there who would have paid a good price for one of these. Think of what a great houseboat it might have made! ;-) But no, they were all dismantled….
And nowadays you occasionally see parts like the seats, or portholes like this one, for sale on eBay.
This was the 20,000 LEAGUES attraction poster. I have one on my wall at home.
(Most images courtesy of Mike Prendergast. Mahalo!)