“Finding Nemo” is without a doubt one of my favorite Disney Pixar movies, so having an entire attraction that revolves around the aquatic characters from this animated classic is a dream come true. When my family first arrives at Epcot, it’s a given that The Seas with Nemo and Friends will be our first attraction of the day. The lovable stars of the movie make several appearances throughout the adventure, and even join the real ocean inhabitants at the end of the ride. Clever puppets and animation tell the story, and you’ll find yourself singing along to “Big Blue World” as you exit the ride. However, this attraction is definitely a lot more than climbing in the “clam-mobile” for a five- minute voyage. Exploring the salt-water aquarium and the hands-on activities throughout this pavilion all make my list of why The Seas with Nemo and Friends is so cool, so check them out below and add them to your list during your next trip to Epcot.
1. Fun for all ages.
Everyone can enjoy this attraction, no matter how short or tall you are. There are no height restrictions, and the actual ride aboard the clam-mobiles is very slow moving.
2. A little bit of history.
Every time I step inside this pavilion, I get hit with a little bit of nostalgia. Way back in 1986, this attraction was called the Living Seas, way before Nemo and his pals entered the ocean. Guests took a Hydrolator, or an elevator that simulated an underwater decent down to Sea Base Alpha. A movie explained the evolution of the oceans, and Sea Cabs then whisked everyone through a long tunnel presenting views of the reef and its animal occupants. The pavilion was eventually revamped and reopened in 2006 as The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
3. Spectacular theming.
I really enjoy taking in all of fantastic details as you step inside the attraction. Walk past the reef with the pesky seagulls into the building, and you step into a seashore world. Look at the beachy signs along the path, especially the one advertising diving departures, provided by the Nautical Exploration and Marine Observation (NEMO). As the queue winds around, notice as you are gradually leaving the seashore and venturing underwater. The lighting changes, your surroundings change, and even the railings appear to be rusty from being underwater. Do you see a boat overhead? Once you arrive at the point where guests board the clam-mobile, the theming indicates that you are completely underwater and ready to spot Nemo in a new adventure.
4. The adventure continues.
Hop off of the clam-mobile as soon as you have found Nemo again, and get ready for more fun. There’s an entire 5.7 million salt water aquarium waiting to be explored. Take just an inch of water off of the top, and you’d have enough to fill a swimming pool. Did you know that the aquarium is one of the largest in the world, with a depth of 27 feet and has 8-inch thick glass walls? Check out 200 species of marine life, including sea turtles, rays, sharks, dolphins, and a reef full of tropical fish. A separate area holds two rescued manatees, and cast members are usually available to talk about these sea mammals, explain their care, and describe how we can protect them from injuries in the wild. Two levels of marine life exhibits keep guests mesmerized, and my family always enjoys checking out the hands-on activities throughout the pavilion too. If you still have time, check out Turtle Talk with Crush, an interactive show on the lower level. Younger guests love the shark play area, and you might learn something about protecting sharks while you’re there!
5. Behind the scenes.
The adventure still doesn’t have to end. Several interesting tours are offered at an additional cost, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the ocean animals that live in the reef.
6. Great photos.
Make sure to pose outside for some great pictures with Nemo and his buddies in the reef on the pathway that leads up to this attraction. Another popular photo opportunity is the sign in front of the pavilion, complete with the infamous squawking seagulls.
7. Hidden Mickeys.
A very famous hidden Mickey can be found in the aquarium floor. Look through the observation window for the large hidden Mickey formed from rocks and shells. Stroll down to the lower level of the manatee viewing area and look for the bubbles in paintings on the wall that compose two hidden Mickeys.
8. Dine with the fish.
If you’re feeling hungry after all of that aquatic fun, consider dining at the Coral Reef, a full-service restaurant around the corner of the pavilion. While a reservation is strongly suggested, this is an amazing place for lunch or dinner. View the marine life, and sometimes scuba divers, swimming by as you enjoy your meal.