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Disney From The Twenty-Something: “The Seas with Nemo & Friends®”

Caitlin CorselloLocated in Epcot®’s Future World West, The Seas with Nemo & Friends® is a unique attraction in that it is located in a pavilion of the same name. Based upon the 2003 Pixar feature film Finding Nemo, the attraction allows guests to dive into the ocean and come face to face with some of their favorite characters and other marine life.

The pavilion was originally called The Living Seas and opened January 15, 1986. The original attraction used to take guests on a journey below the surface to SeaBase Alpha while riding Sea Cabs. While moving through the attraction, guests were offered glimpses of all kinds of marine life in the 5.7 million gallon tank – which is larger in diameter than Spaceship Earth! The original attraction was also hosted by Commander Fulton, a tribute to Fulton Burley who worked in Disneyland’s Golden Horseshow Review for over twenty years, was the voice of Michael in Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, and the inspiration for Fulton’s General Store at Disney’s Port Orleans  Resort – Riverside and Downtown Disney®’s Fulton’s Crab House.

Soon after the massively successful release of Finding Nemo, The Living Seas began to experience some changes. The first of these changes came on November 16, 2004 when Turtle Talk with Crush opened. Around the same time, the large character sculpture outside appeared for photo opportunities. Soon after, in the summer of 2005, the entire pavilion closed to be refurbished to the theme of Finding Nemo. It reopened in November of the same year, and featured many of the movie’s lovable characters in the décor and activities. The final change to the pavilion came on October 10, 2006 when its title attraction opened to guests.

As guests approach the pavilion, they immediately hear cascading waves, those pesky seagulls calling out “mine, mine, mine,” and see many of the film’s characters represented as though they are swimming through the ocean on the side of the building. Once guests enter into the building, they find themselves in the queue for the attraction that moves through Coral Caves Beach. In the beach room, there are plenty of signs which feature many familiar characters as well as a few hidden details. Look for several signs for the Nautical Exploration and Marine Observation, conveniently abbreviated to NEMO. Another sign bears the address 1401 Coral Coast Highway which references Walt Disney Imagineering which is located at 1401 Flower Street in Glendale, California. My favorite sign in this room indicates that the day’s waves are “Just Swell!”

After leaving the beach scene, guests are transitioned under the surface to Nemo’s world and appear to travel along the underside of a dock. Soon after, guests find themselves ready to be loaded into pink Clamobiles and begin their journey with Nemo and friends. Guests get to experience some iconic moments and scenes from the film including the coral reef, Mr. Ray’s class, the jellyfish field, the dreaded anglerfish, Bruce and his sunken submarine of sharks, and the East Australian Current (righteous!) all while trying to find Nemo.

Caitlin CorselloThe real highlight of the attraction is the final few scenes where Nemo is reunited with Marlin and his friends against the backdrop of the pavilion’s actual aquarium. All of the characters appear to be living and breathing (underwater) with the live marine life in the massive aquarium behind them. These final few scenes are set to the song “Big Blue World” which can also be heard over in Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park at Finding Nemo – The Musical. Guests are then offered a comical goodbye from Peach the Starfish and disembark from their vehicles.

While the attraction is over, the pavilion offers many other ways to enjoy Finding Nemo while learning about the ocean and all of its inhabitants. Also found in The Seas with Nemo & Friends® is Turtle Talk with Crush, Bruce’s Sub House, Mr. Ray’s Lagoon, and opportunities to observe all kinds of marine life including dolphins and manatees. Be sure to take some time and explore!

From the opportunity to go under the waves and enter Nemo’s world to the beautiful sight of the characters seemingly living with the marine life behind them, The Seas with Nemo & Friends® is an amazing attraction and definitely worth experiencing on your next trip to Epcot®.

(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)

What is your favorite part of The Seas with Nemo & Friends®?Ever find yourself saying “Hello, Bruce” in an Australian accent? Be sure to let me know by leaving a comment below, I would love to hear from you!

Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.