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Disneyland's Backstage Magazine is a publication exclusively for Disneyland Annual Passholders. In their Spring 2007 issue they profiled Disney's Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, and interviewed its designer, Josh Catalfo. DisneySubmarines.com brings you this exclusive content!
NEW! "The Subs are back!"
Article from Disneyland's Backstage Pass Magazine
By now, everyone knows that this is The Year of a Million Dreams at the Disneyland Resort. So it should come as no surprise that a long-awaited dream of many annual passholders is coming true at last! Yes, the classic Disneyland submarines are resurfacing this June as part of the brand-new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction - just in time for The Year of a Million Dreams celebration! The original vessels from 1959 have been updated and enhanced, and they're ready to take guests on an exciting , new journey into the colorful world of the hit Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo.

To get the inside scoop on how this
Backstage Pass: The idea of marrying the Disneyland submarines with the world of Finding Nemo is such as natural one. How and when did the idea first surface?

Kathy Mangum: Disney Imagineers have been planning on what to do with the submarine lagoon ever since it closed in 1998. However, when the film Finding Nemo was released in 2003, and it became one of the most popular animated features of all time, we realized we had the perfect storyline to enhance this classic attraction. The concept was born and plans began to take shape in 2004 to create the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

BP: How much input did John Lasseter and the other creators of the film have on the storyline and actual design of the new attraction?

KM: We started collaborating with John and the Pixar team as soon as we developed the idea. In fact, Pixar Animation Studios is providing several minutes of entirely new animation for us. We've also worked closely together on everything in the show - the sets, the lighting, the dialogue, the music - you name it!

BP: Does the attraction borrow anything - other than the characters, of course - from the film? Original voice actors? Musical score? Those sorts of things.

KM: Well, we're basing our show on an incredible movie, so of course we have tried to remain as true to the film as possible. I think our
Interview with Disneyland's Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Project Lead, Josh Catalfo
A lifelong Disney fan - and yes, a one-time annual passholder too, Josh Catalfo now experiences Disney Magic from the other side, as a Cast Member and Project Lead on the new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction at Disneyland. Recently, Josh took a few minutes from his increasingly busy schedule to tell us a little more about his dream job.

Backstage Pass: How did you land such a great job?

Josh Catalfo: Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to open two other attractions in Disneyland Park - The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. On Buzz, I worked closely with the Project Lead and decided that when they were going to refurbish the former Submarine Voyage, I knew that I wanted to be in that role. With my mentors and management team guiding me, I worked on developing my skills and waited for the posting. When the opportunity finally came up last March, I jumped at it and was fortunate to be selected. I like to think that my vacation to Australia and the Great Barrier Reef helped, but probably not.

BP: What exactly does a project lead do?

JC: Working with the Tomorrowland Project Manager, Paul Spitsen, and Tom Turley, Attractions Program Development, I help oversee the transformation of the attraction from a construction site to a working attraction open to guests. I'm involved in many of the decisions that affect the attraction, from costume development and recruiting Cast Members, to interfacing with Ride System, Show Integration and Creative Imagineers. I also have been developing the queue plans, ordering equipment and supplies for the attraction, and many numerous small tasks that must be done before we can open the attraction to guests.

BP: Do you have one extra-special memory of this experience?

JC: This entire process has exceeded my wildest imagination. There are so many things that have cropped up that I never would have anticipated, and it has been fun adapting to every challenge. My one extra-special memory would have to be the first time I went to the site since last April. Most of the demolition was complete and they were just beginning the construction. Walking through the sub caverns with no water in them, you're just overwhelmed by the sheer size of it all.

BP: What would Josh the annual passholder think about all this?

JC: I would be beside myself. The Submarine Voyage was a classic attraction that Walt Disney personally worked on, and I'm glad that it's finally coming back. I loved Finding Nemo, so I'm also glad there will be a new attraction based on the movie. Put them together and I would be frothing at the mouth with excitement. Let's be honest, though; I'm just as excited as a Cast Member as I would be as an annual passholder!
BP: Besides the subs themselves, we hear the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage gives some nods to previous incarnations of Disney's Submarine Voyage attraction. Will guests recognize any familiar sights or sounds?

KM: The dialogue for our new submarine captain incorporates some of the original dialogue from the former attraction. We have also included some humorous nods to the original Submarine Voyage attraction - some that are subtle and some that are more overt - which our guests will enjoy discovering throughout their journey.

BP: How did you get the coral reefs to sparkle like that?

KM: Walt Disney Imagineering developed an innovative and environmentally friendly technique of "painting with glass." Over 30 tons of recycled glass, in over 40 different colors, were used. By using this glass, we managed to achieve an amazing underwater vibrancy that should last a lot longer than traditional underwater paint.

BP: WDI is known for pushing the envelope with every new project. What is the one coolest feature of this attraction that you think would make Walt Disney smile?

KM: I think that Walt would be proud that we managed to tell a new story while respecting the original attraction. Walt was a master storyteller in everything he did and I think he'd appreciate that we are telling an incredible story in an innovative, one-of-a-kind way. Only Disney would do an attraction like this.

BP: And finally, while they're trying to find Nemo, are there any "hidden Mickeys" that our guests can be looking for?

KM: If guests look closely, they might be able to find a hidden sea serpent or maybe even a small mermaid!
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Home --- Finding Nemo Photo Gallery --- Finding Nemo Videos --- Finding Nemo Wallpaper --- Submarine Stories
awesome idea became a reality, Backstage Pass caught up with the Executive Producer of Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Kathy Mangum, and went fishing for answers to our questions.
guests will be amazed at how we've re-created many of the worlds found in the movie - the coral reef in particular is just stunning! In addition, our composer, Ed Kalnins, created a musical score that was inspired by the Thomas Newman score used in the film. Several of the actors who voiced the characters in the film provided the voices for the attraction.

BP: Now, this is the very same fleet of subs as before. But did you have to make any changes to them other than a fresh coat of yellow paint?

KM: The fleet of eight submarines was entirely refurbished. The biggest difference is that on the former attraction, the submarines used to be powered by diesel engines and now they are fully electric vehicles. Two extra seats were added to each submarine to increase guest capacity on board. Special surprise onboard effects will also add to the guests' enjoyment of the attraction.

BP: Does the experience vary depending on where you're seated in the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage?

KM: While the guests' view of the attraction is different depending on where they sit in the submarine (front versus back or left versus right), the overall view will be comparable from each seat. Guests at the front of the submarine, for example, might be able to see Nemo at one point, while the guests at the back might not be able to see him until a couple moments later, and vice versa. The sound will also differ, depending on where guests sit, to match what they are observing from their portholes.