27 January 2015

Our Home Port

We all have bucket lists that we hope and dream to check items off of throughout our lives. Many of these lists revolve around themes, and even those could have subcategories. For instance, I’m willing to bet that many of us have travel bucket lists, and within those lists I know there are Disney travel dream items, and I’m willing to bet that we could break that down even further to dining experiences. I, myself, would love to dine at Club 33, Victoria & Albert’s, sit back and enjoy a bottle of wine from John Lasseter, and the list goes on and on.

Then there are the items, from days-gone-by souvenirs to long cherished attractions that we would love to hold grab a piece of and place it in a position of honor in our households. Fruit from Horizons? Definitely. Signage from Fort Wilderness? You know it. A panel from the original Star Tours? Why not? But if there is one area that holds a near and dear place in my heart and that I would love to hold on to, it’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage.

The voyage, launching from Fantasyland, sent guests aboard a Nautilus for a journey into the wondrous worlds lying beneath the cashing ocean waves. Aquafarming, polar ice caps, and even the lost city of Atlantis were not beyond the reach of this miraculous voyage. There are likely two reasons this attraction has stuck with me for so long, one from the experience itself and another from an experience I had just a couple of years back.

I was a child who adored all things science fiction, in particular the works of Jules Verne, which meant that the Submarine Voyage was the stuff my wildest dreams were made of. There was just one problem, my father has always been extremely claustrophobic. I can remember going into caverns as a child on a guided tour, when the guide began shutting off lights behind us as we went, my father had to rush back down the path and leave, waiting for us at the exit. He never wanted his feeling of dread to stop us from taking part in exploring our world, real or imagined. I can remember him sitting on the fold out chair next to me on the sub, and staring out the window. As the Nautilus pulled away from the dock he kept chiming in about all the things we were looking at. He was right there with me, but he never took his eyes off of the porthole. Looking back I realized that was his way of coping, he was able to ride the submarines so long as he felt that there was a way out and that he wasn’t trapped, and that porthole was his way to connect with me and to give himself some breathing room.

As I grew older and the concept and history of Imagineering began to take ahold of my interest, there were many names that fascinated me. Broggie, Gurr, Crump, Blair, Coats, etc. Yet, the one name that I was continually drawn to was McGinnis. For those of you who have been reading the Gazette since the early years, you’re no doubt familiar with my fondness for George McGinnis and my belief that he is truly a Disney Legend. A couple of years back, while working on an article for Celebrations Magazine, I had the great pleasure to speak with George McGinnis. Speak is a relative term here as, knowing this was a hero of mine and not wanting to sound like a complete stammering fool, I utilized email to ask him questions and gather stories.

I’ll tell you this, that article is one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever created (Issue #22 of Celebrations for the intrigued), and it taught me that I could sit and listen to stories from George McGinnis for days. Maybe I should follow in the footsteps of our good friend Jeff Heimbuch and see if George is looking for someone to pen his memoir…

I’ve gotten a bit off track, haven’t I?

The long and short of the matter is that the Nautilus submarines from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage have a special place in my heart for a multitude of reasons. I would love to visit Castaway Cay at some point in my life and touch the subs one last time. The pictures here remind that many of the submarines didn’t receive a resting place at the bottom of the sea, but rather a swallow, earthen grave. They’ve been gone for a long time, but I would love to clean up and take a small piece of one Nautilus and position it in a place of honor. Perhaps one day I will.

We all have our bucket lists, and we all have those items on there that we never think could come true, but that doesn’t mean that we should ever stop dreaming. The great part about crossing items off of your list is that means you have another line to add more dreams too, and that may be the greatest gift of all.

Oh, and for those of you wondering what items could possibly be on the non-Disney side of my list? Well, if anyone could ever get Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo to drop in a reporter for the Main Street Gazette, or hook me and Josh Gates up for an expedition, some major dream items would be checked off!

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