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Saturday, June 22, 2024

EPCOT Fan Site Restores Never-Before-Seen Footage Inside Seabase Alpha

Do you remember “Seabase Alpha?” In large part it still exists after you disembark your clam shell at the “The Seas with Nemo & Friends” (opened in 2007). This not-often-celebrated EPCOT aquarium contains what was previously the largest saltwater tank in the world. The Georgia Aquarium took away that title in 2005. Today, this aquarium is amongst the least remarked on pieces of what makes EPCOT so extraordinary.

A vintage Mickey meet and greet character in scuba costume greets a young guest. (Courtesy: The Epcot Legacy)

Before its Pixar-ification, the pavilion was called “The Living Seas.” Guests first viewed a film about Earth’s oceans, and then took an elevator ride to the bottom of the ocean on a “Hydrolator.” Once down on ‘the ocean floor,’ guests hopped aboard ride vehicles traveling through the middle of the aquarium tank.

Rare view of the original “Seabase Alpha” interior (Courtesy: The Epcot Legacy)

This experience is not something you will have to take our word for any longer.

After an intensive restoration effort using scans of 35mm film negatives, fan site “The EPCOT Legacy” today released an HD ‘sizzle reel’ filled of 1980’s nostalgia. Providing fans young and old a new look at the long-missed EPCOT classic, this two minute ‘sizzle reel’ contains promotional footage Disney shot for the pavilion back in the golden era of the theme park.

As a long time EPCOT fan, I have seen some great vintage EPCOT footage. However, most footage we see online today comes from old Disney VHS releases and home movies. The vintage content available can frequently be described as ‘potato quality.’ However, in recent times, Disney has re-scanned much of its backlog of film negatives, both stills and video.

Much to the chagrin of fans, Disney has chosen to lock away thousands of hours of HD restored footage of the vintage Disney Parks. If you pay attention to Disney’s occasional clip-based trailers for Walt Disney Imagineering, or short “b-roll” clips they’ve provided for recent documentaries such as The Imagineering Story, Disney is sitting on some incredible content that they refuse to release.

While we patiently await the release of Walt’s full EPCOT film, which the Walt Disney Archives scanned and restored in 4K definition several years ago, we will continue to celebrate third-party releases like this lovingly-restored footage from “The Epcot Legacy.”

Joshua L. Harris of The Epcot Legacy tells us there is more vintage footage under restoration as we speak!

Brayden produces quality Disney news commentary videos at Mickey Views. He is also working on feature-quality documentary films at "Address Unknown."


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