Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Les Mystères du Nautilus

The Mysteries of the Nautilus attraction at Disneyland Paris was prefigured a long time past by the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit at the original Disneyland, which showed from park opening in 1955 to the redevelopment of Tomorrowland in 1966. Needing something to fill the empty spaces spotting his own world of tomorrow, Walt Disney pulled the set pieces for 20,000 Leagues out of storage, lined them up in the building that presently houses Star Tours, and introduced visitors to the bowels of Captain Nemo's fantastic submarine vessel. The exhibit gained in posterity what it lost in exact themeing, preserving and displaying the authentic objects from the film. At least, it had until it was removed and the organ shipped over to the Haunted Mansion's ballroom. Mysteries of the Nautilus loses out on that count, though it makes up for it with presentation.

Any reasonably astute fan of the film will easily tell you how the ship floating in the lagoon of Disneyland Paris' Verne-inspired Discoveryland does not match the one on celluloid. Rooms are out of place and staircases are completely missing. But goodness if it isn't the Nautilus. There she is, her famous profile emerging from the bubbling water. Descending a staircase in the neighbouring lighthouse, one walks through wooden tunnels with anticipation until they reach a hole cut in the side of the ship. Then the wonders of Nemo's craft, slightly different but nonetheless meticulous, reveal themselves, culminating in a squid attacked viewed through the portals of the grand salon.

The Nautilus sits in Discoveryland's lagoon,
the lighthouse guarding the entrance into
Captain Nemo's secrets.

The treasure room/ballast tanks.

Nemo's quarters.

The map room.

Diving suits in the dark.

The grand pipe organ.

Squid attack!


Lee Hartsfeld said...

I nominated your extraordinary blog for a (you guessed it) Premio Dardo Award. I'm assuming this won't require you to pick more nominees--i.e., that your duty has been done in that regard.

Anyway, I gave you a nice write-up and stuff. Of course.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Now you're part of the repeat P.D. Award nominee club!