The Living Seas pavilion, with SeaBase Alpha, was added to EPCOT Center in 1986 and was the second-latest EPCOT Center-era pavilion to arrive on the scene.
While other pavilions immersed guests in the experience with incredibly well-themed attractions that made them forget about the park outside, The Living Seas strove to do more, attempting to convince guests that they were actually descending to SeaBase Alpha when they “boarded” the Hydrolators. This would probably come to the surprise of many guests, but the Hydrolators didn’t actually transport them anywhere. They just created the impression of submersion by shaking and having outside walls that moved.
Prior to boarding the Hydrolators, guests could watch a masterful film called “The Seas,” which showed the transformation of the earth, including the deluge! This film is most known for that particular scene, but overall it was a really well-done, short documentary.
The Seacabs then would then go through the track where The Seas with Nemo & Friends ride is now located, as they would transport guests from the Hydrolators to SeaBase Alpha as a simple relaxing ride with views into the tank along the way (something Nemo only offers at the end). As usual, Martin has an excellent video tribute of The Living Seas:
SeaBase Alpha itself was different than what’s in the pavilion today, but many of the same animal observation tanks still exist, and the layout is more or less the same (with the obvious addition of Turtle Talk with Crush taking up some real estate).
The Living Seas pavilion, overall, has definitely lost its educational focus and now plays to a younger audience with the cartoon fish, but it definitely still retains many of The Living Sea’s bloodlines while appealing to a broader audience. Some people love the new pavilion, some people hate it. While I’m passionate about other pavilions, I don’t feel so strongly about the changes to The Living Seas.