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Oo la la! A look at Disney in France
Disneyland Paris: Unique Journeys - A photo essay by Ian Parkinson
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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.

Les Mysteres du Nautilus

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.

Les Mysteres du Nautilus

Les Mysteres du Nautilus

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.

Les Mysteres du Nautilus

Les Mysteres du Nautilus

Les Mysteres du Nautilus

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.

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Ian Parkinson may be reached at ian@mouseplanet.com

 

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