I'm a cynical person. But it's hard to be cynical at Disneyland. Today I covered the relaunching of the famed submarine ride after nine years, now rechristened the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I first went on this ride when I was a preschooler, so I went in knowing I would be nostalgic, but I had to keep up my journalistic guard! Still, I've gotta hand it to the Disneyland folks. They don't miss a beat. First, they fed me, a disarming tactic that always works. Then the publicist went out and got me a Venti Starbucks coffee. At 5am. He's my new BFF.
As for the ride itself, it's wonderful, incorporating the Finding Nemo characters, while still retaining some of the feel of the old ride for those who fondly remember the live mermaids and that big, scary squid with the eyeball. Both are gone, but enough remains to conjure up old memories.
I was scheduled to do the very first live shot from inside the sub this morning, WHILE IT WAS MOVING. A CNBC first! Disney provided all the technical help, all I had to do was look in the camera and talk. Now, I've been in this business a long time, and I was skeptical that I could actually go live while mostly submerged and moving through caves. Well...the live shot went off flawlessly. I mean, it's Disneyland. Mistakes are not allowed. I think they actually kill people who make mistakes, but I have no proof. Yet. And for the official opening of the ride, Disney set up confetti, daytime pyrotechnics, and the Monorail riding in at just the right moment over the lagoon decorated as a submarine. All to create a classic Disney "WOW" moment.
I thanked the head of publicity for how flawlessly my live shot went off, and, being the cynical person I am, I told him, "It's actually a little nauseating how well everything worked here." He smiled and responded, "If we can make one journalist nauseous, our work here is done." THEY'RE EVEN FUNNY.