Recently, on my last trip to WDW, I decided to take in alot of things I had previously vowed not to do (i.e., "The Country Bear Jamboree"), mainly because I found my self incredibly bored with the sights I had seen countless times before. While everyone was enjoying "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" for the first time, I was seeing it for the umpteenth time. It isn't as...striking anymore. So, one day in EPCOT, I'm strolling around Future World when, lo and behold, I see my old friend "The Living Seas". I hadn't been to the Seas in forever and a day, but I was aware of the changes that had taken place inside of this once-amazing pavilion.
As I stepped past the now-redesigned exterior, I chuckled to myself at the revised sign. Again, I had seen pictures, but the yelping seagulls are best viewed in person. I was a little saddened at the idea of Disney retheming this pavilion around "Finding Nemo", but it could very well work out. On I went, into the building, to find myself in line for a ride I had no idea about. Once more, I had heard things about it (mainly the notion of gorgeous projected visuals of "Nemo" characters amid real sea backdrops), but not enough to make me bored shitless the second I got in the queue area. Around the second waiting area is where I became...confused.
While this area had an interesting set of screens utilizing the school of fish from the film AND Thomas Newman's beautiful score, it seemed a bit thrown-together.
About the point where I boarded my Clammobile is where I lost my happiness.
This ride does, indeed, use very pretty effects to bring "Nemo" characters to life. The entire attraction, I'll admit, is very cleverly themed. However, there's something this pavilion will never have that the original did: a destination for a thirst for knowledge. The original pavilion had no gimmicky effects or tie-ins with popular films. It simply allowed those who wanted to be entertained and enlightened to come in and nurture that need.
In a way, that's what all of EPCOT used to be. It was the perfect place to discover and learn, without ever being bored. It combined original ideas with fascinating methods of teaching to deliver a learning experience like no other.
I use "learning" in the loosest of terms, by the way. It's not as if all of EPCOT was about education. Of course, some of it was; but I use "learning" moreso in the sense of discovery. A place where you can share visions of the perfect future and delve into the deep mystery of your imagination was also where you could journey back in time and see the origins of communication and the birth of a universe.
Now, where those visions of the future stood, there is a hightech thrill ride with no real scientific purpose except to kill children and the elderly. Where an area dedicated to finding out more about our bodies once stood, there is now an empty dome, blocked off by a few measly potted plants, begging for you to discover it once again.
Where a beautiful pavilion once stood that opened its doors to those curious about the ocean and its inhabitants, there is now a cartoon circus that merely ties in a broad theme from its predecessor loosely.
Don't get me wrong - if there was any chance of synergy going right, it was "The Seas with Nemo and Friends". But instead of keeping the best of both ideas to create a visually stimulating and culturally relevant attraction with the same amount of educational material "The Living Seas" had, in order to satisfy people of all ages, Disney pulled a...well, a "Disney". They thought the original "Living Seas" was much too boring, and so put in what adds up to nothing more but a playground for generation ADD.
People wonder why I love "The Land" so much...because it's one of the only Future World pavilions left that truly encapsulates what its creators meant it for. And what WDI originally meant for EPCOT. But with these times, I can't help but feel a little edgy...