Sunday, March 28, 2010

Backstories: Journey to the Center of Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth on Mysterious Island in Tokyo DisneySea is a white-knuckle race through the Earth's fantastic underground wonderlands and back again. This backstory is from the Tokyo DisneySea Press Kit, as provided by

Journey to the Center of the Earth Backstory

On an uncharted island somewhere in the South Pacific, Mysterious Island rises up from the ocean depths. In the shadow of a giant volcano, the enigmatic genius Captain Nemo has established this desolate site as his secret base of operations. It is here that he is engaged in experiments and research intent upon unlocking the secrets of the oceans and uncovering the hidden forces of nature deep beneath the earth's surface.

On an ashen slope inside the caldera, a crater formed at the base of the volcano, a large drilling machine hangs suspended from a huge crane. The hole it has created marks the place where Captain Nemo first discovered natural volcanic tunnels running through the caldera rock. Below the drilling machine is a giant screen to protect those below from falling debris and volcanic ash. Flanking either side of the screen are other corridors that Nemo's crew has drilled into the rock. These corridors lead to another natural cavern inside and the entrance to Journey to the Center of the Earth.

In an unprecedented decision, Captain Nemo has invited the world's scientific community to come to Mysterious Island and share in the discoveries he has made deep beneath the earthy surface. He has announced that his special guests will be permitted to board one of his fleet of smaller subterranean drilling vehicles, personally designed by Nemo himself specifically for scientific subterranean sightseeing excursions.

To reach their vehicle, guests must first trek through the Magma Sanctum (Lava Sanctuary). En route, they will hear Captain Nemo's voice welcoming them to witness the marvels that he has discovered.

As they make their way through the Lava Sanctum, they will pass Nemo's Study, where they will observe that the Captain has continued his study of the caverns he has discovered. It appears that he has recently been engaged in a study of maps he has made and is drafting new ones.

A little farther inside, they arrive at a cast iron structure with walls of glass. This is the Bio-Lab. Here, on worktables and shelves are various reference materials and unique samples Nemo and his crew have brought up from the center of the earth. They include beautiful colored crystals, gigantic mushrooms, bioluminescent life forms and petrified egg fragments that appear to be prehistoric.

As the guests move along, they pass a Specimen Case where more strange insects from the center of the earth are preserved and studied using gloved portals built into the side of the case. Nearby is the Workstation where experiments mechanical in nature are being conducted.

To board their vehicle, guests must now descend a half mile below the surface of the earth in a special elevator known as a Terravator. After a quick and exhilarating ride, guest arrive at another massive cavern dug by Nemo's drilling machine. This is the Base Station where they will board their subterranean vehicle. Large pistons shore up the rock walls and ceiling of this cavern and a giant bellows pumps in fresh air from the surface. Huge dynamos generate the electricity that lights the chamber.

As they make their way to the loading area, they pass the Communication Center, which is the terminus for a system of speaking tubes used by Nemo and his crew to communicate throughout this underground network of caves and drilling sites. On a large map overhead, signal lights indicate the condition of seismic activity. Since the station is unmanned at the moment, there is no notice taken by Nemo's crew of warnings over the speaking tubes to the dispatcher of increased volcanic activity and requests to suspend further departures of vehicles into the caves.

With guests aboard, the vehicles pull out of the station and the excursion is underway. The plan calls for the vehicles to pass the areas where the samples from the Bio-Lab and Specimen Case were originally found. These places are all well known and well-explored by Nemo and his crew.

Starting at a leisurely pace, the vehicle enters the beautiful Crystal Cavern, a subterranean cave of colorful crystalline structures, the place is alive with sparkling color reflected and refracted onto the cave walls. Along its route, the vehicle passes through a Giant Mushroom Forest, a strange forest filled with huge. luminous mushrooms and populated by odd colorful creatures, never before seen on the earth. It all seems very wondrous and somehow quite safe until the vehicle travels ever deeper into the center of the earth and comes upon a vast Subterranean Sea. This cavern is vast and dark — so vast that it has developed its own atmosphere. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is alive with a loud and violent storm.

It is at this point that the excursion goes terribly off course and the journey becomes much more treacherous. Guests now must face unforeseen peril and danger before they are finally blasted out the side of the volcano in a thrilling and surprising high-speed conclusion.

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