Disneyland’s long closed Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage re-opened on Saturday, September 27 after an almost 10 month closure. Many fans of the attraction feared it would not return, as rumors of a wholesale demolition and remaking of that area of Disneyland Park have been rife since the filming of a new Star Wars film began recently overseas.
The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm, the creators of the Star Wars film franchise, in October of 2012 for $4 billion.
A wholesale change in the north Tomorrowland area could have been an expensive and disruptive undertaking for the park that will celebrate its 60th Anniversary next year. There were also questions about Monorail transportation to and from the Disneyland Hotel and Downtown Disney District should that area of the Park have been scraped clean. Rumors are now focused on other areas of the Parks for addition of Star Wars and Marvel content. Disney has made no formal announcements.
Disney Park fans had some reason to fear that the closure might be permanent. In September of 1994, Walt Disney World’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride, a descendant of the original Submarine Voyage, closed without advance notice for what was termed a rehabilitation period. In 1996 that closure was made permanent.
Disneyland’s Submarine Voyage closed for an extended period in September of 1998 before re-opening as a Disney-Pixar film based adventure on June 11, 2007. It was the first major Disneyland park project for Bob Iger, who became CEO of Disney in 2005, as well as the first major project for John Lasseter (chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation, and executive producer of Finding Nemo) in his role as Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering.
The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction received some very general refreshing during the project, with rumors implying that infrastructure for “Finding Dory”-related additions was also put into place to be rolled out closer to the release of that sequel to the original Finding Nemo.
So, how did Disneyland manage to fill the 5-million gallon lagoon the subs ply in the middle of an epic drought? When work began, the water was purified and returned to the aquifer that has existed since the land was an agricultural plot. The water was returned to the ride when work was nearly complete.