Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Two miles deep in that darkness, an amazing world ..."

"Until now, scientifically inconceivable. Yet there."

It's a stark reminder, as The Living Seas at EPCOT Center used to remind us so dramatically, that beneath us is "a world where we have spent less time than on the surface of the moon."

But, gosh, cartoon fish are just so much more fun, aren't they?


Chris said...

fascinating but it looks reeeeealllly disgusting

Airamerica said...

From a kids perspective, give them the cartoon fish! I'm not sure that a speech about what's going on 2 miles down hits the spot...

Convince kids that fish of many colors swim in the oceans and that these creatures have 'personalities' (I'm not talking bout fish cracking jokes) according to their species, children will engage with the subject.

It's a case of who do you want to influence - young kids are their parents!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Airamerica, because kids are the core audience. Come on, folks ... let's keep up here ...

Do you actually READ this blog?

Anonymous said...

The Living Seas is dead. Thanks Disney. Mission: Space and Test Track were completely serious and relevant...But this took things way too far. At least there's still that aquarium. An amazing aquarium...with a rediculous and irrelevant theme. Damn you, Nemo...and Eric Idle...and Ellen Degeneres...

Captain Schnemo said...

If Epcot were the way it is now when we were kids, do you think any of us would be reading (or writing!) this blog?

At the very least, that little movie was where so many of us learnt the words "deluge" and "chemosynthesis". And I'll bet that line about how we've spent more time on the surface of the Moon than the bottom of the ocean stuck with nearly everyone here.

Singing cartoon fish wouldn't have seared information into our brains like that.

And, seriously, as lame as the ride was, how friggin' cool was it the first time those automatic doors kicked open and you saw the hydrolators for the first time?

We welcome you...

Airamerica said...

To be honest, the words "deluge" and "chemosynthesis" stuck with my father more than me and he's into marine biology! I just wanted to get on the the part of the attraction where there was a ride and some interaction at Sea Base Alpha!

I can't tell you desperately boring I found that pre-show film, it is amongst my worst memories, from all of WDW... It was just an obstacle that had to be endured rather than enjoyed.

Having said that, the remnants of Sea Base Alpha are now amongst my worst memories of recent trips. This area has declined through lack of imagination and theming. I don't think lack of investment is the key here, it's just that the Nemo association doesn't translate into this space that well - Sea Base Alpha meant that this area could be better fitted out.

Still, I can't help but observe kids seem to enjoy the attraction and don't appear to be in a rush to leave!

Anonymous said...

your recent critique of Innoventions seems applicable to the Seas. just as there are examples of better science centers around the country, so too are there examples of better aquariums around the world.

looking at green manatee poop isn't a very pitch-worthy (even if unique) qualifier.

i think it's a joke that M:S and TT are held as 'serious' and 'relevant' examples of pavillion overhauls... seems inconsistent with the Epcot Preservationist movement.


Epcot82 said...

Trust me, Airamerica, there's no "Epcot Preservationist Movement" going on with me. I don't want to see Epcot "preserved," I want to see it improved. And so much of it was RIGHT for the first 15 years of the park's existence. Like Dear Abby used to say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But they did anyway.

Nonetheless, as you can imagine, I do not agree with the belief that because kids love it, it must be good. Kids loved "Ernest Goes to Camp," the Care Bears and Chuck E. Cheese pizza. That makes them good?

It's a pity you were bored by The Seas preshow film. But it's truly hard for me to imagine that thousands of animals and creatures that HAVE NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE could ever be less interesting than computer-generated fish. In a few more years, the CG of "Nemo" will look a little stale, the characters won't be quite as beloved, and those clam-mobiles will mostly float by empty, and Disney will wonder what they can do yet again to "refresh" it.

Andy JS said...

Do they still have real fish in the aquarium? I haven't been since June 2002.

Chris said...

I think the Living Seas film, as short as it was, was very well done, it was dramatic, had unique directing and scenery, and the ending blended so perfectly with the ride experience to come next...that's definitely a piece that I miss.

Airamerica said...

Epcot82, I never got the impression that you were leading a "Epcot Preservationist Movement"! I think that you always present a fair point of view.

However, this pavilion was 90% right before the addition of Nemo and friends. I think the pre-show film was dire and the ride-trhough just about acceptable!

In fact, I mentioned the pre-show to my brother, who studied biology at Birmingham University in the UK - one of the few truly great institutions in the country... I asked if the remembered the pre-show and even shoed him a clip of it from our family Video 8 library.

He watched the film and said, "I've got vague memories of that, but I remember the hydrolators and Sea Base Alpha, in particular the diving suits much more clearly. I thought the film at Norway was a lot more memorable."

I think he's a good judge of that film, especially since he's been to WDW far fewer times than myself. I go there at least 4 times a year - he hasn't been there since 1998!

As I visit so frequently we rarely talk about my trips, however continuing on from our discussion about the film (yesterday) he asked if it was still playing - I responded 'no' and explained the newer entrance and concept. Tellingly he remarked that 'the kids must love that'!

I think the kids do love it! Upon my last trip I remarked about how excited they were when Nemo and the other animations appeared 'floating' in the tanks. They were delighted and this may be the problem that we both have with this attraction.

If the first half is designed to capture the attention of kids 1 - 10yrs, what does the second half, the old Sea Base Alpha area offer... Very little for any age group! Maybe if this area was more thought out and better presented it would even leave space for that pre-show film to become an educational / informative feature for everyone????

Greg Bevier said...

"The kids love it!" is one of my least favorite phrases as a parent.

Just because children like something doesn't mean I let them have it. My kids like chocolate chip cookies. No problem. But they don't get them every day and they don't get them for breakfast. My kids like pizza, but I've trained them to enjoy vegetables also. They eat veggies everyday and they get pizza maybe once a month.

My kids like "Finding Nemo," but they also love to learn about what is really happening below the seas. Nemo has his Fantasyland. EPCOT was something different. It was about the wonders of the real world which children should be amazed by much more than digital fish.

Johanna said...

I grew up in the 1980s. I turned 16 in 1985. I wasn't able to get to EPCOT until 1989, but let me tell you - I was the kind of kid who ADORED the pre-show movie. I would have found it beyond fascinating. It would have absolutely mesmerized me.

This Nemo crap? BORING! Ridiculously insulting to my intelligence. If that had been in place in 1989 when I first went to EPCOT, I'd run as fast as I could away from it.

As it stands - I wound up working in housekeeping at the Yacht & Beach Club in the early 1990s. My then-boyfriend worked at EPCOT, in custodial. When my shift was over, I'd walk over to EPCOT and sit in the Living Seas until his shift was over and we'd go home.

I'm telling you, there's nothing like sitting watching the fish after a long hard day of cleaning up after the guests. Primo!

Anonymous said...

I adored that movie. I'm 32, my first visit to epcot was when I was 6. That movie was one of my favorite things about my epcot visits.It grabbed me when I was a kid, so authoritative and grand. I try to describe it to friends who haven't been. I've been searching about for a real copy and not someone's home movie of it. I can find perfect audio, but only terrible video.

not a gator said...

The number of pageviews that the BBC got for its images of deep sea fish rather neatly puts to the lie the notion that only cartoon fish could grab a child's attention.

I used to work in a children's library and our science section (full of color photographs of various species) used to fly out the door faster than anything other than whatever the most popular series fiction was that month. Sea creatures and insects were particularly popular.

I bet you're one of those people who's always shocked when the kids on "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" trounce the adults.

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