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Submarine Voyage

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Submarine Voyage Thru Liquid Space
Disneyland Submarine Voyage Poster
Land Tomorrowland
Designer WED Enterprises
Attraction type Submarine ride
Theme Undersea voyage
Propulsion method Diesel-Electric
Opening date June 14, 1959
Closing date September 9, 1998
Vehicle type Submarines
Vehicle capacity 39
Ride duration 8 minutes
Length 52 ft (15.8 m)
Total height 1568 ft (477.9 m)
Replaced by Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (2007-present)
Total Water 9,000,000 Gallons (Including Lagoon & Caverns)
Cost Per Sub Approximately $80,000
Sponsored by General Dynamics

The Submarine Voyage Through Liquid Space (known by many simply as the Submarine Voyage) was an attraction in the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland that opened in June 1959. It was closed in September 1998.


The Submarine Voyage was created to remove the extremely unreliable Phantom Boats at Tomorrowland. Unfortunately, to construct it, the less-than-1-year-old Viewliner had its track in the way of where the subs needed to be. So, it was also removed as well, making it the shortest lived ride in Disneyland history.

When the original subs opened in 1959, due to the Cold War, they were painted a stark gray and were dubbed nuclear subs. These were the "largest funtime fleet of submarines in the world."

Once the Cold War ended, the subs closed for a makeover into Explorer subs, which gave them a highly recognizable yellow paint job.

In the summer of 1985, women Cast Members got dressed up in mermaid outfits and swam alongside the subs. Also, at one given point per day, they would serenade. This whole feature was discontinued for many reason, primarily dangers to the swimmers because the subs used real motors and men diving into the lagoon to flirt with them.

On September 9, 1998, the Submarine Voyage was closed due to its age, low hourly capacity, aged effects, and high maintenace and labor costs. A decommisioning ceremony was held, where the attraction's flag was lowered for the last time and presented to Donald Duck. Then-president of Disneyland, Paul Pressler, promised a new attraction in 2003.

The new ride was to have been based on Atlantis: The Lost Empire, which was in development at the time, and would see guests being able to use levers that operate nets to scoop up treasure lining the caverns. Another proposal was for a Little Mermaid-based attraction.

Ultimately, though, Atlantis bombed at the box office, and all that ever came of the planned ride was a meet-and-greet spot in front of the lagoon with Milo and Kida. The subs themselves remained moored at the dock until 2000, when they were moved into the show-building to be stored until the new attraction was ready. The lagoon sat dormant for several years afterwards, serving as nothing more than a scenic viewpoint. It was painfully obvious, even to little kids, though, that this was a defunct attraction, since the dock and underwater track were still in place. The subs were left to rot in the show building, and without proper maintenance, the underwater figures suffered as well.

The Ride

The ride began with the sub diving into the depths of the lagoon, where guests saw various sea creatures. Examples of these forms of life encluded Gians Sea Bass, Sea Turtles, Fighting Lobsters, Giant Clams, Thousands of Algae, and a Shark fighting an octupus.         

The Subs were transitioned into the building by a cascade of bubbles, simulating diving. After the "dive", we find a underwater boneyard known as "The Graveyard Of Lost Ships" which holds the remains of ships from the time of the Ancient Greeks to more recent viking boats. 

We see 2 divers trying to recover lost treasure from these ships, as they are circled by sharks. We reach the North Pole and dive beneath the polar ice caps to where the sun has never penetrated, where we find a Giant Squid and other mysterious creatures. The Sub ascends to find Mermaids, (These ones were audio-animatronics.) and the lost continent of Atlantis. Our subs explore the lost ruins, untill the underwater volcanos start to erupt, making us head toward the surface. On our way back to Port the sonar finds a strange reading. We see a Cross-Eyed, Comical Looking Sea Serpent, which convices our captain he's been under the sea to long and he demands we return to the port. The subs than exit the bulding into the lagoon, where they return to port to let guests on and off the attraction.

Submarine Voyage today

In 2003, former Disney Cruise Line president Matt Ouimet became president of the Disneyland Resort and sought out to fix the Pressler-era "improvements". Among the Tomorrowland projects were a full refurbishment for Space Mountain; repainting Tomorrowland in blue, silver, and white; repairing the long-malfunctioning Observatron (the former Rocket Jets) and putting something new in the Rocket Rods queue/former World Premiere Circle-Vision facility. The most notable of these projects, however, came to the Submarine Lagoon.

In October 2004, new activity was noticed in the lagoon. Neptune, one of the eight subs, moved under its own power for the first time since 1998 and moored at the dock. A large blue box was erected and a banner stating that a new ride was being Imagineered was hung on said box. It was reported that park and Pixar officials were on hand to test new projection box technologies. By the end of the month, Neptune was back in storage.

The Submarine Lagoon was suddenly drained in April 2005 (along with the old Motor Boat Cruise canals), exposing the fading rockwork and underwater figures. Walls went up around the lagoon, announcing that the Submarine Voyage would return as the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. The old figures were auctioned off, though at least one (the sea bass in the outdoor portion of the ride) was retained.

The new ride uses the original eight submarines, now refurbished and operating on batteries instead of diesel. The projection boxes are scattered throughout the show building and show the characters on an adventure to find Nemo once again. The ride has recieved critical acclaim.

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