Turtle Talk with Crush is an interactive attraction that has appeared at several of the Disney theme parks. It first opened on November 16, 2004 at "The Seas with Nemo & Friends" pavilion at Epcot, and was duplicated at Disney California Adventure in July 2005. The attraction was open in Hong Kong Disneyland from May 24 to August 10, 2008 as part of the "Nonstop Summer Fun" celebration. The attraction opened in Tokyo DisneySea on October 1, 2009.
Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with Pixar, the attraction consists of an improvisational, real-time conversation with Crush, the animated sea turtle character from the Disney·Pixar film Finding Nemo.
A similar version is also featured in the "Animator's Palate" restaurant on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy cruise ships operated by Disney Cruise Line. In addition, another Turtle Talk with Crush unit was donated to the new CHOC Bill Holmes Hospital by Walt Disney Imagineering during early 2013 to entertain the child patients and their siblings. This was the first attraction created by Imagineering to be placed in a non-Disney environment, but is operating twice a day by volunteering Cast Members. It was featured in the advertisement for the new "Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage" submarine-shaped tour in 2007 before the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage opened to the public in 2007.
Presentation of the show varies from park to park. The original Epcot incarnation naturally presented itself as a special observation chamber within the SeaBase. At Tokyo DisneySea, the show takes place aboard the S.S. Columbia in a special Underwater Observatory on its lower deck, with a queue displaying the ship's history and a Nemo-based look at ocean species.
Guests are admitted to a movie theater-like room featuring what appears to be a large aquarium-style window opening onto an undersea vista. Children are encouraged to sit on a carpeted area up front so that they may have a better view, while parents and other adults sit on benches behind them. The host and moderator gives a brief introduction to the show, and then Crush swims down to appear in the window. Crush looks and sounds much as he does in Finding Nemo, complete with animated facial expressions and subtle gestures. With the help of the moderator, Crush selects children and adults from the audience and engages them individually in dialogue, asking them questions and responding with quick wit and humor to questions about his life as a sea turtle or any other questions guests choose to ask.
Other events may occur during this improvised conversation, including cameo appearances by other characters from the original film. Though the format, structure and rough duration of the show are consistent, the show itself varies considerably depending on the guests' questions and comments.
The show is a cutting-edge blend of sophisticated computer graphic techniques, image projection, and live, interactive, quick-witted improvisation.
The "Window to the Pacific" is in reality a large rear-projection screen portraying an animated undersea environment. The image of Crush is a digital puppet controlled by a backstage actor/puppeteer whose performance is translated in real time into 3D computer animation. Crush's movements and voice-activated lip synch are rendered on the fly and are projected at 60 frames per second, so that the turtle's mouth moves in synchronization with the actor's words. Sophisticated digital puppetry techniques allow the puppeteer's movements to control the body motions of the projected turtle, enabling Crush to maneuver about naturalistically with real-time human control. This breakthrough technology enables every show to be different than the one before as Crush responds uniquely to each individual audience.
Thanks to a system of hidden cameras, the invisible actor is able to see the audience with whom he is interacting, and thus refer to the specific appearance and behavior of particular questioners, as well as their location in the theatre. The actor's performance is a combination of semi-scripted banter and improvised responses to the guests' questions and comments, delivered in a mimicry of the character voice from the film (originally performed by Andrew Stanton).