As you leave the control room turn the
corner you find yourself in the airlock room, surrounded by diving suits
and helmets. In the center of the room is the hatch leading to the water
and the cold sea beyond.
You next enter the Main Room of the
Nautilus, facing you at the end of the room is the Pipe Organ. In the
center of the organ behind a glass screen you can see the face of
Captain Nemo. The face appears and disappears using a simple lighting
effect. It can been seen on the photograph due to the use of a flashgun.
As you stand in the center of the room; on
either side of you are large circular portholes covered by Iris screens.
The one on the right of the room is fixed and has a collection of ship
artifacts in front on the window. The porthole to the left offers a
different experience. Here are some of the views around the room.
In front of the left porthole are a number
of rows of seats / steps, visitors can sit here or stand at the
top of the steps to watch the ‘show’. About 15-25 people can
comfortably see the show at one time, but most miss it, as they are
often not aware that anything happens here. At
10-minute intervals the Iris screen in front of the large domed porthole
opens and reveals the seascape outside.
As we watch the bubbles rise outside the
window a large animatronic squid approaches the ship, it’s tentacles
start to reach towards the window ready to attack. The alarms in the
ship sound and the Captain orders immediate defensive action. An
electric charge is sent through the hull, sparks flash and the squid
retreats. The squid makes one more attack only to be repelled again by
the electric shock. The squid disappears into the distance and the Iris
window closes. Due to the shape of the porthole and the poor lighting I
am unable to provide photographs of the squid attack.
It has to be said that this is not one of
the greatest Imagineering feats, the visual and sound effects are very
tame and generally leave the audience unmoved. It is a missed
opportunity for a great thrill attraction, if they imported some of the
magic and thoughts behind the ‘Alien Encounter’ attraction at Walt
Disney World it would make all the difference.