Sunday, January 12, 2014

Real submarines under water

A couple days ago we opened a discussion of the library sub pool which led to a silly joke about submarines. My imagery for that joke was based on a Disneyland ride that I loved, The Submarine Ride. It required an E-ticket! I grew up in L.A. with a fierce and hungry, nay, desperate, love for Disneyland. The E-ticket, as the highest level ticket, was a very precious commodity in my youthful trips to Disneyland because my family was of the horrible sort that would never consider getting more tickets than those that came in the standard entrance book. The submarine ride was a touch overvalued as an E-ticket, but would have been brilliant as a D-ticket ride. Not least because there were almost no good D rides. In the Submarine Ride one walked down into a submarine, sat at a porthole, and went on a thrilling adventure in an underwater world. I believe there were mermaids, shipwrecks, an octopus, a squid, polar ice caps, a sea serpent, fish. Plus I think it was one of the cooler (temperature-wise) rides, or gave the illusion of being cooler due to its watery nature. This was a great benefit in the hot summers when we usually visited. The Submarine Ride closed in 1998, which is later than I would have guessed. It was originally supposed to have real fish back when it was built in the fifties. I am thankful that that didn't pan out since I don't think it would have been in the proper Disneyland spirit.

 File:DisneyETicket wbelf.jpg

When I was eleven and a trip to Disneyland was in the offing (it happened maybe once a year) I would make obsessive lists and plans concerning my time in Disneyland. This is actually something that carried over into my adult plans for trips to Europe, which, come to think of it, are just versions to me of trips to Disneyland, complete with their E-ticket rides (Villa Borghese, Sant'Ivo Sapienza). And why not. After all, what was Disneyland in the sixties and seventies but a synthetic vacation tour of the world, and one with many stops in Europe. One simple thing I might do, in my youth, just for starters, is list the E-ticket rides in order of quality. It would run off of the above E-ticket like so, though the commentary is modern:

1. Pirates of the Caribbean
The greatest amusement park ride ever made. It's the mood, no, the fake sky, no, the shanties, no, the rapids...

2. Haunted Mansion
I was never entirely keen on the crowdedness of the rooms at the start of the attraction, or the stuff jumping out later on. Other than that it is all dark, glowy, spooky magic.

3. Matterhorn Bobsleds
The thrill ride that a slightly timid ten year old can handle the second he is tall enough.

4. Jungle Cruise
A comedy performance! A boat ride! Wild animals that are fake!

5. Submarine Voyage
Hey, this is our topic today!

6. It's a Small World
The only thing that allows this ride onto the tail end our hallowed list here is the fact that it is in a boat. I feel passionately about any ride that takes place on the water. Plus it gave one something to sing incessantly for the next month.

The other "rides" listed on the ticket are pure chaff as "E" attractions. Do these people seriously think I would want to go to America Sings more than getting another precious visit to The Pirates of the Caribbean? Did I ever go to America Sings? Certainly not while there was a ticket system. There was also one C-ticket ride that was good enough to be an E-ticket ride, maybe about on par with The Submarine Ride. That was Adventure Thru Inner Space (1967 to 1985), the ride where one shrinks smaller than an atom. You shrink smaller than an atom! And there was no movie tie in! Actually, come to think of it, there was no movie tie in with any of these. And everything was analog, illusions, yes, but existing in the real world.

Ah Disneyland.

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