20,000 Leagues question?


New Member
Original Poster
Does anyone know why they took out the 20,000 Leagues attraction and replaced it with Ariel's Grotto? 20,000 was a very cool attraction....and I miss it everytime I walk back into Fantasyland....sometimes I just don't understand Disney..Horizons, AE, WOM, 20,000 Leagues....taking away some good attractions!!! :confused: :confused: :fork:


New Member
Didn't 20,000 break down all the time and was costly to keep going because of maintenance? I could be wrong. Not really sure, that ride was before my time. LOL :lol:


Disney's Favorite Scumbag
Premium Member
many people wonder, and the honest truth is no one knows. People say many countless different theories (do a search and you'll know what I believe), but everyone will say something... when in reality, they have no clue.

So you know what I say? Fock it, and just give up


New Member
no no no the ride didn't break down it was fine just like the skyway they just like most things (horizons) people stoped riding it and it was before the days of seasonal openings (carousel of progress or wonders) so they just closed things. now it stands as a past character meet and greet rumor has it the old ride is still there and they could just reopen it any time but no one seemed too intrested at the time so they didn't and now it just sits there. there has been many a person talking about what should be done etc. on other forum chats and that might be a reason you might not get alot of responses people are tired of the question just like they are upset some rides had to closed. anyways i just felt bad and respond to not leave you out.


Simply put:
Long lines
Low capacity
High maintenance
High pain in the a$$

Do a search. There is much more detail in other threads.


New Member
good thought

i wonder too probaly cool for to see but one will never know i heard that rumor because people say that in areal view you can see everything is still there


New Member
I was under the impression that the American Disabilities Act was the final nail in the coffin, after about a dozen other nails.:wave:

No way could they make those claustrophobic subs accessible to disabled people.:(


New Member
I was a former CP (Spring Adv. 2003) and did Custodial in the North (Fantasyland & Liberty Square). 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was my favorite ride and I was very sad to hear it closed down. I've asked a ton of people why it was closed down and I've heard several things:

1) The boats were leaking and apparently Eisner himself got on it and came off rather wet and was so furious he ordered it shut down. This is a cast member favorite!

2) The subs, which just sit on the track and are powered by themselves (diesel engines I believe) are incredibly heavy and as they continued along the track, they created problems underneath. Costuming is located underneath the majority of the lagoon and I was told you could hear the subs creak across the expansion joints which led to serious leaks.

3) There was no handicap access to the subs and they received quite a number of complaints about it which led MGMT to opt for another attraction.

4)Plans for a major attraction to be added into the heart of Fantasyland in the early 90's and the lagoon was the best place to do it. However it was noted that if it was drained again, the walls would collapse. I'm not sure how valid that is after seeing many pictures of it drained, but then again I'm no engineering expert.

I did a lot of exploring on my own and while I could not make it directly behind the rock formation on the opposite side of the lagoon, the entire attraction has been gutted. This was confirmed when I asked a Maintenance worker in F-Land. The lagoon is empty; anyone standing by the railing across from Mrs. Potts can peer into the water and see only the track. The only remnants I know of are out behind the entire building where they docked the subs at night. There are several coral formations sitting beside some repainted tea cups. As for the subs, I remember reading a long time ago that they were scuttled off of Castaway Cay for snorklers.

Hopefully there will be something great added to Fantasyland. It is definitely prime property at the MK.


Ok, here's the story, courtesy of Jim Hill. I have confirmed this account with several people who were there and involved at the time.

Okay. In order to properly appreciate this story, you have to understand that, while WDW visitors may have loved the Magic Kingdom's "20,000 Leagues Under the Seas" ride, the park's operations staff absolutely HATED that attraction. Why? Because the subs were a maintenance nightmare. Each year, the ops crew would have to pour tens of thousands of dollars (and devote hundreds of hours of back-breaking labor) into the upkeep on that attraction. They'd spend weeks scraping scum out of the bottom of the lagoon, repainting the coral, repairing the fish, etc. And they had just grown tired of dealing with this annual headache.

So - when Disney's CEO Michael Eisner put out the word out in the summer of 1994 that the theme parks really had to start toeing the line, cost-wise - WDW ops staff finally saw their chance. By shutting down this single Fantasyland attraction, they could automatically save the company beaucoup bucks (as well as shine in Team Disney Burbank's eyes for moving so quickly to honor Eisner's wishes), not to mention putting an end to their enormous annual maintenance headache forever.

What these WDW ops guys hadn't counted on was that the public would get so upset when they found out that "20K" had quickly and quietly been closed back in September 1994. Within weeks of the attraction's closure, calls and letters began pouring in to company headquarters in Burbank - insisting that Disney immediately re-open this Fantasyland favorite.

Of course, the news of this uproar didn't sit well with WDW ops staff. Here they had finally found a way to close "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and they intended to keep this Fantasyland ride closed. No matter they had to do.

So they were ready in early 1995 - when then-president of the Walt Disney Company Michael Ovitz came through the Walt Disney World resort on a corporate familiarization trip. Of course, while Ovitz was touring the Magic Kingdom, he brought up all the guests' complaints about "20K" being closed. In response to this, the ops staff insisted that they had only shut down this Fantasyland attraction because the ride was in such awful shape. Not to mention being unsafe.

Ovitz then said "Well, I'd still like to personally take a look at the attraction. Judge for myself whether or not the ride can be repaired and then re-opened." The WDW ops staff said "Well - okay, Mr. Ovitz. But we'll have to do this early tomorrow morning before the other guests enter the Magic Kingdom."

Which is why the following morning at 7 a.m. Mike Ovitz found himself standing in the queue at "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" as a sub that was loudly belching smoke came rumbling up to the dock. The Disney Company President then climbed down the stairs and found a quarter inch of water sloshing around in the bottom of the boat. When Mike pointed this out, the WDW ops staff said "Well, you have to understand that a lot of our subs are over 20 years old, Mr. Ovitz. So many of them have developed small pinhole leaks over time."

The sub then lurched away from the dock and took Ovitz & the ops crew on a somewhat jerky trip around the "20K" ride track, with the attraction's soundtrack barely audible through the ship's crackling loudspeakers. As you might imagine, once the boat pulled up to the dock, Michael quickly climbed out of the mildewed interior. He then turned to WDW's ops staff and told them that they had made the right decision. That - given the shape that "20K" was currently in - the safest and smartest thing to do with this Fantasyland attraction was keep it closed. Permanently.

Now I don't have to tell you smart people that WDW's ops staff had sandbagged Ovitz. That they had deliberately picked out the "20K" sub that was in the worst possible mechanical shape for him to ride in. That they recruited a ride operator that they could trust to give Michael the roughest ride imaginable. That they had even thrown a few buckets of water down into the bottom of the boat to simulate a pinhole leak. All in an effort to leave Ovitz with the impression that WDW's subs were beyond salvaging

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