It’s now close to sixteen years since the Oriental Land Company Ltd., the Walt Disney Company’s biggest partner in Japan, opened the mariner-themed Tokyo DisneySea, sister resort of the original and venerable Tokyo Disneyland within the larger Tokyo Disney Resort area in Urayasu, Chiba. Meanwhile, it’s almost fourteen years since Disney and Pixar released the aquatically whimsical 3D animated film “Finding Nemo”, and its sequel “Finding Dory” is but two months shy of turning a year old. The movies were such smash hits that attractions themed after the franchise and its characters have been introduced into the many Disney theme parks the world over, including Tokyo DisneySea. Now a new take on the popular films is about to join its older siblings in Urayasu.
A press release from the Oriental Land Co. Ltd. has announced that pretty soon, on May 12 next month actually, Tokyo DisneySea will welcome the opening of a brand-new ride attraction based on the “Finding Nemo” movies, the “Nemo & Friends SeaRider”. This indoor attraction shall join the sights of DisneySea’s Port Discovert area, where guests will be immersed in the undersea world – based on the real Great Barrier Reef north of Australia – that serves as home to the clownfish Marlin, his son Nemo, their friend Dory the forgetful blue tang, and all their other fellow sea creatures. The hybrid experience will seamlessly combine a dynamic motion system with incredible visuals like only Disney and Pixar Animation can make them.
The “Nemo & Friends SeaRider” is composed of two “cabins” accommodating about 122 persons each. The cabins are, according to the ride’s “background story”, the passenger compartments of a pair of SeaRiders, high-tech submersibles run by Port Discovery’s “Marine Life Institute”. The SeaRider submersible, designed to look like a giant pink fish, has the nifty ability to “shrink” into actual fish size, enabling it to “autonomously” explore the ocean floor while giving its passengers/audience a “real-scale” fisheye view of the many residents of the Great Barrier Reef according to the films. That means actually meeting and interacting with Nemo, Marlin and Dory as if you’re the same size as them and seeing them face to face, eye to eye. Also to be prominent in the ride experience will be the new characters introduced in “Finding Dory”, like Hank the octopus and Dory’s childhood friend Destiny the whale shark. Each ride in the SeaRider takes about 5 minutes a pop.
Both OLC and JCB Co. Ltd., the direct sponsor for “Nemo & Friends SeaRider”, have put in about 5 billion yen into the development and construction of this new attraction, including all new original animation work courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios. Its expected requirements for passengers are that they be AT LEAST 3 years old and 90 cm tall. Disney FASTPASS is also available for the ride.
Just as the SeaRiders are gearing up for their May 12 grand debut, the original “Nemo” attraction on Tokyo DisneySea, “Turtle Talk”, will reopen on the same date, with new additional scenes to add to the experience. Tourists looking to go to Tokyo DisneySea in the middle of May will get a chance to join the crowds and try out this new experience with “Nemo & Friends SeaRider” on Port Discovery.
Photo courtesy of tdrexplorer.com