Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Memories of being A Captain of the Disneyland Submarine Fleet

"Secure ship for Sea –make all preparations for getting underway" old subs beginning

Submarine Voyage   Winter 1993  posing with Dad
Riding the new Subs made me think of the old days when I was driving the  fleet around the lagoon all day long.    The subs was a fun ride back in the day.  A bunch of college dudes goofing off all day.     
Here are the highlights  and lowlights  of my times as a Submarine Captain.
The Good Memories
I always enjoyed driving the subs  more than the grouping or loading portion of the ride.
Some would disagree---but I liked getting in and driving the joystick driven subs.  They day went faster when you were in the sub.  Going around the lagoon –hitting the spiel at the appropriate time.
One of my favorite memories was at night when you were coming around the lagoon  and watching the fireworks from your little window.  
I loved when the part going under the waterfalls.   
I loved on morning shift when you would bring a new sub online and take that first trip around the lagoon with no people in it.
I always liked when kids would on a rare occasion ask for your autograph.   Of course they probably got home and couldn't remember who the hell Captain Brad was.
Since they were no girls it was best to be at the last sub dock so you could flirt with one of  the Autopia girls  stations on the Autopia tracks.
Every once in a while a rubber fish in the lagoon would break away from its string and you would have to get out the Pool Net and bring it in  ---then pretend like it was alive as you made it flop around in your hands confusing the  guests.
The Captain's View
One of the bad parts of subs was the fact that you had to stand the whole trip around on a switch with your head in a little cramped sometimes little area.  If you took a bunch of trips around  you just wanted to go sit in the break room.   And of course as Captain you don't see the actual ride ---(You hear the spiel over and over all day until it is seared in your brain )  But once you enter the caverns all you saw was dirty wooden catwalks and the tops of scenes –so that you knew what section you were at.
The crew was always fun –and people would occasionally play pranks on each other (inappropriate as it was)     You would switch into the sub sometimes and find that your CB microphone had been unplugged and hidden .   Or the person before you had let the spiel start over again so you had to spend part of the ride trying to get the spiel lines up.
The old splash in the air vents as you left the dock with a cup of water.    Back in my day only guys worked the subs and the hatches had to me opened manly so you would rope the sub as it came into the dock and jump on and off it all day long.   Now there are girls  working subs and the hatches are open by poles with hooks and it seems much safer –but probably less fun.   (No Sub surfing)  it was always fun when someone slipped and got half a pant leg in the water –a few people actually fell in.
It was also funny to come through the cavern and see someone on the catwalk mocking you.

Grad nights
Grad nights were always fun –because we were never that busy.   –One grad night was especially slow and we basically took turns driving the sub and  having a pizza party in one of the docked subs.
One  grad night a cute horny blond –kept putting her hand up my pant leg  which I didn't mind at all. (because she was hot and that was more action than I got on my grad night)
Rescuing the dead subs
It was always fun when a sub broke down in the caverns.  They would shut the ride down and send us running with a tow rope across Autopia to one to the secret tunnel entrances.  You would hopefully go into the right tunnel because the access was spilt in two separate sections with different sections since the area to take Subs back to the repair station backstage broke it up in two.  They would send an empty sub back into the caverns and the rope team would attach the tow rope.  It was fun and the goal was to get the dead sub offline and the ride back to running as soon as possible.
The Earthquake and the Peoplemover Fire
Here are two memories that stick out.   One day after a big Earthquake the Subs were basically shut down for several days because  the earthquake kicked up so much sediment that you couldn't see on the ride.  After a day of turning people away someone in middle management came up with the not so brilliant idea that if we drove the subs around all day maybe it would settle down the sediment ?    What?   Whatever!   So we take turns all day telling the people that the subs were closed as we drove empty subs around the lagoon all day long.  It was fun because we didn't even stop them in the docks but instead you would just get a signal as you came through the dock area and run out and jump out of the sub as it came through the station and your replacement would jump in and guys that were not on station to turn guests away would ride the ride to see if they could see the (fish on Strings).   Of course driving the subs around didn't help the sediment go down and it was days before the ride was up again.
Another interesting event was the Peoplemover fire when smoke starting coming out of the Tron tunnel early one morning and all of Tomorrwland was shutdown for awhile.
The Warm and stylish Peacoat  vs  the lame Blue windbreaker
If you every got a hold of the Peacoat in the winter time –you never turned it back into wardrobe ---there were only a few which were warm and comfortable and looked cool.   Unfortunately you usually got stuck with the cheesy light blue windbreaker.
The Bad moments
  1. There was the day that I worked a double shift  16 hours straight on the subs ---I went to bed and had a nightmare about grouping large groups of people as they ran past me  and then woke up and worked another 8 hours on subs.
  2. The nightmare about the subs sinking and people falling into the water which were based on the reality of kids almost falling in the water that you would occasionally have to reach down and save when they walked between the load ramp and the tiny gap -----(of course the parents were never paying attention) –I literally grabbed one kid by the arm as he was falling and pulled him back to safety with a wet pant leg without even a thank you.
  3.    Back in the day when we had to close the huge heavy hatch –once my foot slipped as the hatch closed and the hatch landed on my big toe breaking it
4.  Then there was the day that a day just out of training loading the front end of the sub and closed his hatch.   I was at the back still loading people.   The job of the guy in the front was to wait until the whole sub was loaded then  give the signal to the driver to back up slightly and remove the rope.   Well this guy loaded the front and gave the guy the signal to back up while it was still loading at the back.  I had to  scream at him as the boat began to back up and foolishly tried to brace the loading ramp as the sub backed up while people were still on the stairway and ramp.   The loading ramp literally bent half against my leg –which I though would break in two.  The people luckily were all off the ramp.   I fell to the ground in pain and had to go to the hospital ---had a bruise the size of a cantaloupe on my leg but was lucky and wasn't injured seriously.    (Needless to say the guy that screwed up was fired that day)
 P.S. i listened to the old spiel on CD as i wrote this to get in the mood
"Now when the cabin lights come on please stand and disembark to your right –take small children by the hand and watch your step up the ladder –please use the handrails---All ashore please  All ashore

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