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.
WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE (WAY TOO MUCH) PARIS
Most exploitive/least effective way to use Paris Hilton's problems to further your own career: Las Vegas comic Joe Trammel is "jailing" himself in a pink outdoor cell on Freemont Street, off the strip, for 23 days, the same length as Paris' term. He's titled the act "Glamour in the Slammer," and says people were throwing things at him. But this is not about comedy or even a career move! (Review my "I'm a cynical person" remark earlier).
Trammel says, with a straight face, that the stunt is all about bringing attention to drunk driving, and that he is starting to win over drive-by fans, telling reporters, "They don't think it's fair that Paris got out of jail early and they want to see her go back. There are people screaming here all day long--it's madness!" Here are some photos.
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