Wow, do I get this question a lot. "Are those real fish? Is that a real aquarium? Is that water real?"
Um, yes. Yes it is.
Okay, so if you don't know, The Seas with Nemo and Friends started back in the 80s as a pavilion called The Living Seas. It was based around the concept of what it would be like to live in a base deep underwater, called Seabase Alpha. A big part of that pavilion was a 5.7 million gallon aquarium with a man made coral reef environment. In 2006 the pavilion was updated to it's current Nemo theme, with the ride being renamed the same as the pavilion. The finale of the ride travels through the aquarium with Finding Nemo characters appearing alongside the real fish. However, we get asked so often if that aquarium that they just traveled through and all the fish they saw inside it are real.
Here's the deal: if Disney is good enough at making people believe that things are real that people are actually fooled into thinking that this aquarium might not actually exist, then kudos to them. That shows how good Disney is at doing what they try to do. The theme parks are all about making fantasy worlds and things into reality; making possible that which is impossible, and getting everyone, both young and old, to believe in it. The fact that people ever even wonder if the water, fish, aquarium, etc. are real is awesome.
On the other hand, I still can't help but wonder how anyone could think that it's fake. Maybe it's just because I've always known the aquarium is real that I have a hard time comprehending why people even ask this question. Of course it's real!! As much as it would be awesome if we could, I'm pretty sure no one in the world can create water effects, fish, sharks, dolphins, sting rays, sea turtles, and everything else that appears as real as, well, the real thing. I see it as a no-brainer. Of course, it's also said that Disney guests drop something like 20 IQ points on average by walking through the gates....but that is another blog post.
A couple of more notes on the aquarium:
- I never knew how popular the manatees were here until the last week or so that they've been off exhibit. We have two manatees here, and one had surgery recently, so they are being kept apart for the time being, which causes the tank filter to not work as well as normal, which clouds up the water, so their tank is curtained off until further notice. Or something like that. But I've had so many people ask me why they were gone and when they will be back ever since their tank was covered up. But I don't know when, so please stop asking me.
- Someone asked me today why the dolphin appeared so sad. Um, I don't know that one either. Maybe because all his friends are backstage and he's in the onstage tank? We have four dolphins, but usually just one or two are in the onstage tank at a time. Maybe that's it, or perhaps dolphins just naturally appear sad?
- "Is that the aquarium for the restaurant?" Technically, yes. It is the same aquarium that the Coral Reef Restaurant looks out into (as well as the VIP Lounge, which few people get to visit, #castmemberprivileges), but the aquarium is for everyone first and the restaurant second.
- There is a fish that is very cute and always swims the same way around the dolphin tank, which just happens to be right next to where we as cast walk when we are working Unload 2 (hopefully I'll get around to explaining positions and such later on). He (or she, but I call him a he) just swims in the same circle all day, sometimes slightly higher or lower along the window, but always at the same speed and in the same direction. So a fellow coworker and I have taken to naming him Pato (duck in Spanish). Also, we started timing him tonight. He was averaging a good 24 clammobiles between passes, and assuming that Peach's dialogue stating that it's 3.2 seconds between shells (a fairly likely figure), then Pato is circling the tank in just about 77 seconds. Which is pretty good. I don't know exactly what path Pato travels or the distance of that particular path, but apparently he's got it down well enough to be fairly consistent in timing. And without knowing the distance we can't calculate his speed, but I like to think that Pato is doing really good for himself. I also pretend that he's getting his exercise in, just like how we do when we walk the unload belt endlessly.