By 9:30 A.M., while the number of park guests remained relatively small. we hit the Submarines (just across from Alice). Still a bit of a wait, but worth it.
You start out in this tropical lagoon, as mermaids (real girls in mermaid outfits) cavort above, or just below the water line.
You are further under water in the sub, with all kinds of sea life and seaweed, in coral reefs, rock formations, and strange, shadowy caves around you. The air down there has an odd, musty machinery smell. Do you suppose it smells that way on a real navy sub?
Then the sub ‘dives’ to avoid an oncoming storm, and comes upon a ship graveyard, where ships from olden times lie barnacle-covered and decayed, including Greek, Roman, and Viking ships.
Mermaids (animatronic ones, this time) guard a treasure chest in the hold of a Venetian galley. A descent under the polar ice cap comes next before a volcanic earthquake causes you to dive to the bottom of the sea, with a giant squid and strange, glowing fish that change colour.
As you begin to surface, you pass the ruins of Atlantis
Then, to top it off, you run into this goony cross-eyed sea serpent before returning to port.
From there, we took the Moon Trip, before running to Frontierland for the ‘Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland.’ If you remember those nature flicks that Disney sometimes ran at the Odeon, then you have the general idea of what this is about.
It’s a great deal more fascinating than it sounds.
You start out in the small western town of Rainbow Ridge, ready to ride in an ore car of the mine train, going through a tunnel just beyond the ‘town.’
Just beyond the tunnel, you pass by and under Big Thunder Falls,with animatronic beavers at work.
Cross a rickety bridge, you even find animatronic bears fishing, relaxing in the water, or, in one case, scratching his back against a tree.
Cross the natural arch bridge, and you find yourself in the midst of the living desert.
You find yourself amongst endless patches of Saguero cacti, some in bloom, others in a variety of shapes, some of which resemble animals – a few even people.
Or, occasionally, they provide a convenient refuge for a cornered (animatronic) mountain lion.
Not all the critters are ‘living’ – there’s room for the bones of a few extinct dinosaurs too.
You come upon geysers, including an area with coloured sand known as ‘The Devil’s Paintpot.’
Then comes Balancing Rock Canyon, where boulders – topped by a wildcat, could come down on you at any second.
Almost immediately thereafter, we were inside the mine, with its stalactites, stalagmites, fountains and other sights.
We then caught the Jungle Cruise, and the tropical animatronic show at the Enchanted Tiki Room.
We then had lunch at Skull Rock and Captain Hook’s pirate ship. Crowds had begun to gather by then, but visions of the dark rides lingered in my head.
Text copyright 2019, 2018, 2917, 2916, 2915, 2014 G.H. McCsllum and Duvanian Press.