Not Worth the Wait – Finding Nemo ride at Disneyland

Nemo LagoonI haven’t been to Disneyland a lot. I went back in the early eighties with a cousin while I was in Anaheim for a wedding, I went in ’93 when they opened Toon Town because a friend designed it and we wanted to see the new “land”. That was the first and last time I rode the Submarine Voyage attraction. I found it headache inducing and lame … it smelled of diesel and the attraction was bleached and faded. Of course it was closed a few years later and then sat as a mere pond until earlier this year when Finding Nemo opened.

I went to Disneyland with my brother and his family (an eight year old nephew and six year old niece and my sister in law) and we were rather surprised to find that the Nemo ride was not only popular, but they were also filming a commercial for it, so there was the usual, oh, two hour line plus a bunch of disclaimers posted that by entering the area or riding the ride we agreed to be in a commercial with no further compensation. Oh, and they’ll be stopping and starting the ride. So if you’re curious about whether you should wait in line for this … read on.

DSC01857We waited until the afternoon, as the cast member at the end of the line suggested. While it cut the wait time from two hours to an hour and twenty, it also meant that it was the hottest part of the day. At two I got into the line for the whole family. The only interesting part about standing in line was timing how long the boats took to go around (close to ten minutes) and the trio of gulls on a buoy that would screech, “Mine, mine, mine!” every once in a while. Once at the head of the line I called them on the cell and they joined me at the spot where they park folks’ baby buggies. So far so good!

The subs themselves are interesting. Only those who are mobile are able to ride, as you have to go down some pretty narrow steps and sit on some teensy seats (but really, Disneyland isn’t for the wide bottomed, is it?). They hold about thirty people, and they’re loaded from the front and back at the same time, one side for each entrance.

DSC01858Once everyone is in, the “story” starts. The sub goes along its little track and the voice over tells us we’re going to look for an undersea volcano. Immediately in the coral reef we see Darla, the kid with braces in Finding Nemo, diving in the reef and catching fish for her aquarium. There are a few fake fish dotting the fake seascape. Then the sub encounters a “lost civilization” marked by large stone blocks and moai (stone statues of Easter Island). The “crew” announces there’s a storm and we need to dive deeper … more bubbles.

Then the sub goes into the fully themed environment. This part of the ride uses layers of real elements and projected parts of film (with audio). It’s explained that they have “hydrophones that can translate the fish”.

DSC01862Then it follows clips of the movie for a while. There’s a point where the sharks from the movie set off some old mines and the sub loses power (goes dark). The coolest part is the segment when Dorie and Marlin encounter the jellyfish. The jellyfish are electrified and glow in the dark … pretty cool. Then sub is somehow swallowed by a whale (this also happens in the Storyland ride, which has virtually no line). I dunno, I think I lost interest at that point and was trying to figure out how many passengers there are or something. Then the rides over and we climb out!

Now, things you should know about me … I wasn’t really that thrilled with a lot of the rides. However, if I were a kid who had watched Finding Nemo until I wore out the DVD, this might be passable fun. But not if the wait is more than 45 minutes (and hopefully it’ll be in the fastpass system soon). There are a lot of things to like about Disneyland, not the price of course. The “cast members” really are exceptional, the place is clean and the parades and fireworks are fabulous. (And I ate a lot of candy.)

18 thoughts on “Not Worth the Wait – Finding Nemo ride at Disneyland”

  1. FYI – there are viewing options for disabled people.

    Quoting from Mouseplanet (

    “The Marine Observation Outpost offers an alternative viewing opportunity for people who cannot or do not wish to board a submarine for the voyage. The outpost is located in a small room near the attraction entrance. The room has space to position two wheelchairs or EVCs, with a bench on either side that can each accommodate two or three more people, for a total of eight people per viewing.

    The front of the room contains storage lockers for diving equipment, and is outfitted with a large flat panel screen. The idea is that you will be able to watch the video feed captured by a sub that is going through the attraction. The camera used to record the video appears to have been mounted facing out to the left side of the sub, so you get the same view you would if you were sitting on that side. The image is much wider than you would get through one porthole. The video in the Observation Outpost includes graphics that are not present in the real attraction, as well as a “depth meter” on the side of the screen.

  2. haven’t you ever been on the original sub ride? it was never worth the wait…but it’s always fun to go underwater.

  3. M – uh, yeah, in the first paragraph I noted that I did ride the Submarine attractiong and found it headache inducing and bleached.

    Larry – thanks for the heads up on the alternative version, which sounds interesting, but obviously isn’t the actual ride.

  4. So basically you wanted to let everyone know: Newsflash! Whiny adult doesn’t have fun on ride for 6 year olds!

  5. sorry, my bad. i was just wondering why you’d devote a whole entry to describing an entire ride at disneyland, as it’s not really a “new” attraction.

    i don’t understand why you’d criticize a slow moving show clearly aimed at young children? it’s like describing the Dumbo ride by saying “Sitting in plastic elephants is fun, but not worth the wait. The ride also moves only in circles, but i expected more out of the experience.”

    also, part of the fun of getting on a new ride (even those for 6 year olds) is not really knowing what you’re going to see. which you’ve just given away.

  6. M, I don’t understand why you’d criticize a post that’s clearly aimed at other people that are interested in hearing whether the new ride is interesting and/or worth the hype. I also don’t understand why you manage to use the shift key well enough to type a ” rather than a ‘, but can’t manage to make it work at the beginning of a sentence.

    And if you don’t understand one whole post dedicated to a single ride, you’ve obviously got no experience with the world of Disney fanatics and what interests them. Hell, there are entire online communities dedicated to a single ride!

  7. ouch. these were my opinions, which i think i’m allowed to express.

    are you criticizing the fact that i don’t capitalize the beginning of my sentences? wow, you’re hilarious. is that really necessary?

    cybele, i didn’t mean any disrespect with my comments. i happened to disagree with something you wrote. but overall, i love the site and you guys are amazing.

  8. M wrote “ouch. these were my opinions, which i think i’m allowed to express.”

    M, Cybele could have written the same thing about your discouraging follow-up critique of her post. While you are correct in having the right to say what you feel it’s somewhat contradictory your assertion to express yourself while previously condemning Cybele for doing so.

    Personally, when I disagree with someone I don’t go sidearm in my rebuttal with “what made you think you could write that!?” I go more for the direct approach of “Here’s why I see it a bit differently.” Maybe that’s just me.

    As to calling Cybele a spoiler for her reveal of the ride, that seems a bit contrived.

    It also might be just me again, but as to 5000!’s criticism of your shift key usage, I wouldn’t take it too personally. I’m pretty sure he was waxing facetious by harping hard on what’s basically an unrelated aspect of your comment in a vein similar to you harping on Cybele.

    Just some food for thought, M.

    And Cybele, I enjoyed the post very much.

  9. okay, i’m kind of over this. will, i didn’t ever mean to condemn cybele’s ability to express herself. in fact, she’s able to do so more than me, as she’s part of the blogging team. i just thought the article was a little pointless and it was okay to say so. if you and everyone else enjoyed it, that’s great. and absolutely nothing personal taken. it’s the internet, for crissakes. blah blah blah the end.

    PS. i think the Small World ride is better. absolutely no lines and a chance to cool off in trippy, dark air-conditioning between rides! unless they try to add a Mulan theme to it or something.

  10. So let me get this straight, a person who only goes to Disneyland when she has to and doesn’t enjoy the rides at Disneyland…shocker…doesn’t enjoy a ride at Disneyland!

    And now, my review of The Devil Wears Prada.

    I don’t watch chick flicks a lot. I’ve only been to two, once in college on a date and once in 1992 because a friend had a walk-on. Yesterday I saw The Devil Wears Prada. There was a chick and she wasn’t that good looking, and that’s when I lost interest and started imagining Rambo shooting up the whole place.

    How about a review of liver?

    I don’t eat liver a lot. I had it once in the 80’s when my grandmother made me eat it. Yesterday I ordered the liver and onions at Claim Jumper. The smell alone made me run into the restroom and projectile vomit all over the walls. But the service was great!

    And now, a review of

    I only read when forced to at gun point. This post blew.

    As for the expression of opinions, I know for a fact that this blog has censored at least one of my comments in the past (and no I wasn’t being an asshole – unlike now), so don’t let them get all high and mighty on you M.

  11. Some Guy – I don’t go to Disneyland because I “have to”, I just gave the particulars of my other experiences: Once as a teenager on my first visit to SoCal, once after I’d lived in Los Angeles for a while as an adult and then the most recent experience with children (which may be how it’s supposed to be done). I gave my previous experiences as a touchstone – I’ve seen the park during the ’80s, ’90s and now the ’00s … but I’m not someone who has been there a lot and not really a huge fan, mostly because I’d rather spend that money on real-life adventures (whale watching, night-time kayaking to see bio-luminescence, chocolate). The reason for that bit is so you can understand my “credentials” for the review.

    It’s a new ride (10 days old, when I was there), so some folks may want to know if they should spend approximately 1/6 of their day at the park on that one ride this summer or perhaps wait until the lines aren’t as long. At 45 minutes, I think it’s worth it if you really want to see it. At two hours, you should probably know what you’re getting into. I also gave the tips, that they’re not accepting fast pass, but they were accepting standing in line by proxy for a group. So even if you reject the point of the review, you’ve learned something you can use!

    Just as I now understand your likes and dislikes in the areas of chick flicks and organ meats. The rides I liked were the Toon Town scramble thingy, the carousel and Dumbo (contrary to what M might have guessed – though I wonder why they take away our magic feather and we’re still able to fly, but that’s another post). I’m kind of neutral on It’s a Small World and I thought the Storyland Boat thing is ruined by the ducks violating the scale of the miniatures.

    The bulk of this post and photos was in the “read on” section, so as to give people the opportunity to skip it if they didn’t want to see it. I’m interested to know who was holding the gun to your head not only to read this post, but also to read through ALL the comments and then leave one of your own?

    (Are you sure your other comment was censored and not just caught in the spam filters? I’ve actually had MINE as a contributor caught before.)

    Take heart, Some Guy, I got the message that this is not a topic that folks want to hear about long before you weighed in on it after it’d fallen off the front page of the blog.

    So … note taken! I’ll stick to topics that hit the blog with a deadening thud … strange bugs in my back yard and whale watching … so I don’t expect to hear from you again, or really anyone. As I stated above, I really don’t know what possessed me to think that anyone would be so offended that I reviewed a ride a Disneyland.

  12. i liked the post. i have seen some incredibly lame posts on here that never elicited this kind of response. strange.

  13. I take offense at people who write a scathing review of something that falls into a category they don’t like anyway. It’s very rarely useful, unless there’s so much hype that even people normally turned off by that category might be caught up in it (see: iPhone). I think that someone who doesn’t like rides and/or Disneyland that much could put two and two together and figure out that 2 hours is too long to wait. I will give you credit for full disclosure though, some people won’t reveal a bias like yours at all.

    Why did I read and comment after it was off the front page? I don’t read the page, I read the RSS feed. Despite your riveting tales of bugs in your backyard, I only go through the posts sporadically. After reading this post I wondered if anyone thought it was as pointless as I did, and lo-and-behold, so did M. Since M was subsequently attacked in such a mean spirited and pretentious fashion by your fellow bloggers, I thought I’d add my support. You guys are often circling your wagons and attacking anyone who leaves a negative comment about your posts. If one of you needs validation of self-worth that badly you should have a virtual group hug behind the scenes and quit attacking your readers, even if they don’t like some of your posts and feel the desire to say so.

    As for my censored comment, I will have to retract that statement after having looked back at the post. I was reasonably certain it was censored at the time. As I remember it comments needed to be approved, which struck me because I knew things weren’t generally set up that way, and the author responded to my comment seemingly without the comment itself showing up. But my comment is in fact there, so I must be mistaken.

  14. One last thing, why did I react so strongly to this particular post? The title. Had it been something like “Nemo Subs Review” I would probably have skipped it, but the title is a one-line contextless review in itself, and I think it’s unfair to have that floating out there, influencing people (who don’t read the text) even if ever-so-subtly, when it turns out that you probably wouldn’t have liked it if even if it were a walk-on. I don’t know if I can articulate this quite properly actually, but I am sure that my proverbial dander would not have been raised with a more innocuous title. The power of words, eh?

  15. When you take your three-year-old on this ride and watch his/her face light up at seeing whatever it is the ride has to offer, that’s when you know the wait is worth it. That’s what Disneyland is all about.

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