The Mythical Seas Pavilion: Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions Part 26

Poseidon Living Seas Epcot Concept Art

The Living Seas was a part of Epcot Center from the early stages of the park, and while the basic layout of the pavilion never changed, the actual contents of its shows and attractions would hardly resemble the original concepts for the mythologically based pavilion that was to come to Epcot Center.

Welcome to Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions. After an initial run of 25 articles, becoming the most successful series ever here at TPE, shared by everyone from Yesterworld to the dearly missed Alain Littaye. After a hiatus, it is returning for a continued run here at TPE back in its old timeslot on Tuesday mornings. Be sure to check out the entire original series here.

Today we are looking at the lost original version of The Living Seas, when it was inspired by mythology.

Living Seas Concept Art Epcot Center

From the earliest publicly available concept art, the seas pavilion at Epcot took the same basic form of a Disney infused aquarium. It would always feature a ommnimover attraction through the main tank as well as several shows.

But the original version approached it in an entirely different way than the science-based Seabase Alpha presented in the final version.

Epcot The Living Seas Concept Art

Originally this pavilion would have explored a more mythological approach to the oceans of the world, including mythical characters like mermaids and Posiden, king of the sea himself.

Poseidon and Ship The Living Seas Epcot Concept Art

This would have been a more traditional dark ride, taking up the layout of the Seacabs as well as expanding the attraction off the back of the building from what ended up being built.

It would have started on board a ship known as the Spirit of Mankind until you encountered Posiden and joined beneath the waves.

You would have taken a journey through the seas assisted through the magic of Posiden, encountering many creatures real and fictional before traveling into the main tank.

Living Seas Show Epcot Center Concept Art

Not much is known about the actual content of the attraction beyond what is shown in the concept art, but it features numerous sea life, notably sharks and mythical creatures.

Bubble Ride Vehicle Epcot Center Living Seas Concept Art

The idea was you were journeying through the sea in an air bubble encountering many battles with creatures big and small along the way.

Living Seas Poseidon Battle Concept Art Epcot Center

While the story was never publicly fully fleshed out, the visuals for this version of the ride are stunning. It certainly would have been one of the most visually impressive rides Disney would ever build in this park or any other.

Living Seas Seacab Station Epcot Concept Art

This ride would be a bit two-sided. Much of what we know as Seabase Alpha would still be a part of the attraction, but it would merely be the end of a much larger experience. You would end your journey much in the same way as the attraction that ended up getting built, a journey through a tank of real sea life, and entering an undersea research base.

Seabase Alpha Concept Art Disney World Epcot

Both of these sections were incredibly expensive to make. The aquarium itself was incredibly expensive and the ride was another costly part of the pavilion. Disney had to make a plan that was within the realm of possibility, and doing both really was not possible.

Seacabs Disney World Epcot Concept Art

In the end, the ride was toned down into a lightly themed ommnimover through the tank, creating only what was supposed to be the finale of a much larger attraction. New preshow like the Hydrolators were created to fill the narrative gap and The Living Seas as we know it was created.

In a weird way, The Seas With Nemo and Friends almost fits the originally intended purpose of the pavilion better than The Living Seas. The pavilion finally got its elaborate dark ride, albeit based on a children's film instead of the mythology of the seas. It may not be the original intention, but it fits better than one might think. It even travels to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the planned scenes from the original attraction.

Thanks for coming back to Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions. We are back every week with new looks at never built rides from Disney World's second park. Be sure to explore the entire series here and come back next week for an in-depth look at the never built Soviet Union World Showcase Pavilion.