Attraction of the week: Disneyland Paris' Les Mysteres du Nautilus
Written by Robert Niles
Our Attraction of the Week this week, Les Mysteres du Nautilus at Disneyland Paris, isn't the sort of attraction that's going to inspire anyone to book a special trip. Heck, you could enjoy a delightful visit to Disneyland Paris with ever experiencing this attraction. But I like Les Mysteres du Nautilus because it represents the type of experience theme parks need to feature to distinguish themselves from amusement parks that offer nothing more than a collection of shows and thrill rides.Tweet
Les Mysteres du Nautilus is a walk-through attraction, a visit into Captain Nemo's Nautilus submarine from Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." You won't find much animation here, or any overt storytelling. With little wait anymore, even on busy summer days, you could breeze through this attraction in moments and wonder why the heck I'd ever write about it.
But that's not how to get the most from a walk-through. Consider this the setting for a story where you play the starring role. Most adults bring too much self-consciousness to allow them to treat a theme park attraction as a narrative playground. But if you can imagine yourself as part of the crew of the Nautilus, this walk through becomes as engaging and enjoyable an experience as anything else in the park.
For that to work, however, designers must create a physical space with enough detail to make you think you're part of the experience. Tokyo Disney's Fortress Explorations, Universal Orlando's Jurassic Park Discovery Center, and - my favorite - Disney's Tom Sawyer Island (especially the well-maintained one in Tokyo) all immerse you in "another" place, where you can set your imagination free to play.
The schematics of the Nautilus Photo submitted by Ty Wijnans
Captain's quarters in the Nautilus.
Plotting the Nautilus' course, 20,000 leagues under the sea.
A map of Vulcania (familiar to visitors of Tokyo DisneySea!)
Detail in the Nautilus' map room.
One of the great details: the ship's ballast is treasure found in old wrecks just as Jules Verne described it. Photo submitted by Ty Wijnans
Captain Nemo's organ
An encounter with a giant octopus at the end of the exhibit.
I would have liked to see a few more interactive play opportunities on Paris' Nautilus. But there's enough visual detail here that I found myself lingering for far longer than than I'd planned. I don't expect Disney to ever build another 20K ride here in the United States. But how hard would it be to give us an immersive walk-through like Les Mysteres du Nautilus to enjoy?
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