Disney Permanently Removes ‘Finding Nemo’ From Controversial Attraction

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

The exterior of The Seas with Nemo and Friends at nighttime at EPCOT

Credit: Disney

Over the past years, we have seen Walt Disney World Resort move in the direction of adding a ton of intellectual property (IP) into their parks. When Walt Disney created Disneyland, some of his characters were represented, but The Walt Disney Company did not have all of the stories that it has today, so the goal became original attractions with new storylines.

Peter Pan's Flight at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

This is how we have attractions like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Although both attractions have multiple movies that have been created, with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise being so successful that Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has been added to all Pirates of the Caribbean attractions globally, they started off as an original story created by Imagineers. “it’s a small world” is another fantastic example of this.

Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland, featuring a pumpkin scarecrow dressed as santa claus
Credit: Disney

Even now, Haunted Mansion in Disneyland gets a The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay during Halloween and Christmas to satisfy more guests.

At Walt Disney World Resort, Guests have access to nearly everything they need at their fingertips (literally, My Disney Experience can help you accomplish nearly anything you need). There are four incredible theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT, as well as two water parks: Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, and the currently closed Disney’s Blizzard Beach, as well as Disney Springs. That is all just scratching the surface because Guests can also enjoy the 25+ resorts on property, golf, mini golf, visit ESPN Wide World of Sports, and so much more. The large theme park mogul is plotted on a size of land that is equivalent to San Francisco — which means the theme park is truly its own functioning city.

After more than 50 years, things look a little different at Walt Disney World Resort; now, the goal of nearly every attraction, show, or experience is to bring guests into the world of one of their movies. For example, a new land is not original but based on a film franchise. We have seen this with Batuu in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, Pandora – The World of Avatar, and even DinoLand U.S.A. in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is being replaced with either Indiana Jones or Encanto.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Brittany DiCologero

It is Disney’s goal to capitalize off their box office successes, and by bringing it into their theme parks, guests can experience the movies, creating both a nostalgic and synergistic offering.

Lately, however, we have seen the removal of some IP in the theme parks. 

Guests who are staying at Disney Resort can enjoy many magical amenities, including complimentary transportation to the Disney Parks, Extended Evening Hours at select Disney Resorts, and fun theming that simply can’t be found elsewhere. One of the most popular characters in Disney World is Ariel, and currently, there are multiple ways to see the Little Mermaid.

Disney’s first adaptation of The Little Mermaid is a beloved animated film that was released in 1989 and played a significant role in the Disney Renaissance, a period during the late 1980s and 1990s when Disney animated films experienced a resurgence in popularity and critical acclaim. The movie is a reinterpretation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale and has become a timeless and iconic piece of popular culture.

Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Josh Hallett, Flickr

One of the standout features of the film is its music, composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman. The music of The Little Mermaid is a crucial element of its success, with songs like “Under the Sea,” “Part of Your World,” and “Kiss the Girl” becoming instant classics. The film’s soundtrack received widespread acclaim and played a significant role in revitalizing the animated musical genre.

Disney just recently updated the story with a live-action version of The Little Mermaid, which starred Halle Bailey as Ariel. The film brought in more than $567 million at the box office worldwide, and Disney even added a meet and greet for Disney World Guests to enjoy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The movie updated several of the iconic songs mentioned above with different lyrics, which caused a stir online.

Another area in which you might not be aware that Disney has replaced the original Little Mermaid is at the Disney Resorts. The Disney Classics channel, which plays classic music videos from many beloved films, has been updated to include videos from the live-action Little Mermaid and the cartoon version has been removed. Inside the newly updated rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach, which are also Little Mermaid-themed, we can see Sebastian and Flounder, as well as other under-the-sea creatures, however, Ariel is not visible.

Halle Bailey as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' 2023
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

The rooms debuted during the backlash of the new live-action Ariel, and it seems Disney may not have wanted to make a choice regarding the color of Ariel’s skin if they added her to the room, so now, she is not visible.

Now, another Pixar film is being scrubbed from Disney.

When guests go to EPCOT, they can find The Seas with Nemo & Friends (formerly The Living Seas), which is a pavilion located in the World Nature section of Epcot, a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida. The pavilion is themed as an oceanic exploration base called SeaBase Alpha, with several exhibits devoted to oceanic study. The building includes an aquarium and its attached dark ride attraction, a talk show-type attraction called Turtle Talk with Crush, and the Coral Reef Restaurant. With 5.7 million US gallons of tank volume, the pavilion is also the second-largest aquarium in the U.S. and the sixth-largest in the world.

The seas with nemo and friends viewing area
Credit: Disney

The Living Seas opened in 1986 but had been planned as part of the park since its opening in 1982. The pavilion was re-themed in 2006 as The Seas with Nemo & Friends after the film Finding Nemo.

Now, the signage and entire facade of the attraction making it look a lot more like the original facade before Finding Nemo was added. At the moment, the seagull animatronics that may have burned the word “mine” into your brain in front of The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction sign are gone. Other characters like Squirt and Mr. Ray, which previously lined the building wall are also gone. 

In the below photo by Disney Space Pod, we can see the characters removed; however, the roof of the attraction is now a khaki color, instead of the sea blue.

It has not been noted that the attraction will be undergoing any refurbishment, but considering the attraction is often a walk-on, it would not be too shocking to see Disney retheme the ride to another water attraction for increased foot traffic and popularity one day in the future, especially after the massive EPCOT overhaul is complete. The land is also home to Turtle Talk with Crush. There is a strong Finding Nemo presence at Disney’s Art of Animation resort as well at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Would you like to see another IP take over The Seas with Nemo and Friends? 

If you are booking a Walt Disney World vacation in the near future, visiting EPCOT is a must! Guests will be able to enjoy the World Showcase, where they can eat and drink around the world while stopping at attractions like Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. With Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind now available, Guests can ride one of the most thrilling rides at Walt Disney World while entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe via a roller coaster. Test Track also provides Guests with high-speed thrills, while rides like Soarin’ Around the World and Living with the Land share breathtaking views. For more Disney information, information on Disney Genie+, and to look at booking a vacation, the Walt Disney World website is a perfect one-stop shop for all things Mickey Mouse.


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