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Five Things to Know About Turtle Talk With Crush

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Turtle Talk with Crush is a totally tubular interactive presentation featuring Crush from Finding Nemo, along with Dory and other characters from Finding Dory. Imagineering technology allows the Cast Member voicing Crush to interact with audience members and improvise – so no two shows are exactly alike! To learn more, read on; but if you want to surf on over to the nuts and bolts, here’s your shortcut.

1. Both dudes and dudettes will enjoy the queue.

There’s not a queue in the traditional sense for Turtle Talk with Crush. But before you enter the theatre for the presentation, there’s a lot to keep you occupied.

You can walk the Undersea Observation Deck which looks into the huge aquarium allowing you to watch sea turtles, rays, and even sharks. Interactive exhibits like smaller fish tanks have educational displays telling the background for the variety of sea life you’re viewing.

Very fun: there’s an interactive quiz entitled “Mr. Ray’s Pop Quiz.” The four touchscreens let you choose your language, your level of difficulty (none of the questions are that hard) and then choose your answer from the multiple-choice list on the screen. It’s fun, educational, and passes the time until you can enter the theatre.

2. Then it’s a totally tubular talk with the turtle!

Once inside the theatre, children are encouraged to sit on the carpeted area nearer to what seems to be a large window looking into an aquarium. Adults sit on benches behind them. The “Window to the Pacific”, as it’s called, is actually a rear-projection screen filled with a panoramic view of an underwater vista.

The “opening act” features some of Crush’s school friends.

The Cast Member acting as host for the performance also serves as a moderator. They’ll give a brief intro to the show as Crush swims into view. From then on, their role is to help Crush select conversation partners from the littles and adults in the audience. Crush asks questions and then replies, usually with a bit of humor. Ask Crush anything! Questions about his undersea life, his family, and his friends are all welcome. In fact, some of his friends from the Pixar/Disney films will make appearances as the show progresses.

The show follows a basic outline that doesn’t vary much from show to show, but because the experience depends mostly on who asks what question, no two shows are ever alike. It’s not just all humorous banter, though. As with a lot of EPCOT attractions, there’s an educational element, too. Crush touches on subjects like conservation and the ocean’s interrelated nature of the earth’s ecosystem. It’s never boring; the actor giving voice to Crush and the moderator keep things moving right along!

3. How it really works.

As mentioned earlier, the undersea vista and the animated characters appear on a large rear-projection screen called the Window to the Pacific. Crush is a “digital puppet” whose movements are controlled by the actors voicing him. Crush’s mouth moves in perfect synch with the actor’s thanks to voice-activated lip-synch technology, translated by computer and instantly projected on the screen.

That microphone? It’s just for show.

The actors are also puppeteers, controlling Crush’s movements and gestures and allowing him to zip back and forth on the screen. And since different actors take on the role of Crush, he may move and interact differently from show to show!

The actors can’t see through the screen, as you might think. Instead, a series of cameras placed around the theater let them see who they’re talking with. This allows them to know where the audience member is seated and lets them react to the person on an individual basis. This, coupled with the improvisational element of the show, is what makes the performance captivating, especially for the littles.

4. Crushing history.

Turtle Talk with Crush opened November 16, 2004, in what was then called “The Living Seas” pavilion (now re-themed and renamed “The Seas with Nemo & Friends” pavilion). The Imagineers worked with the geniuses at Pixar to develop the interactive technology that makes the show possible.

Turtle Talk with Crush was the first attraction allowing the audience to interact with digital characters on screen. A technological wonder – remember this was 2004 – it was wildly successful. So much so that when the pavilion underwent renovation in 2005, the performance was moved to a larger theatre.

The success prompted Disney to open Turtle Talk with Crush at Disney’s California Adventure in July 2005 and at Tokyo DisneySea in October 2009. When Finding Dory was released in May 2016, characters from that feature were added to the attraction and interact with the audience as well.

Bonus fact: In 2013, a duplicate of the Turtle Talk with Crush attraction was donated by the Walt Disney company to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County Bill Holmes Hospital. It’s operated twice a day by Cast Members who volunteer their time and is the first time a Disney theme park attraction was placed and operated outside of a Disney park.

5. The Nuts and Bolts.

Turtle Talk with Crush is located in “The Seas with Nemo & Friends” pavilion in the World Nature section of EPCOT. Just head right once you’re past Spaceship Earth, and the pavilion is on your right. As an indoor attraction, the weather doesn’t affect the show, and the waiting area is inside the Pavilion and is air-conditioned, as is the theater itself. The show lasts about 17 minutes.

There is no height requirement and kids are invited to sit on the carpeted floor near the screen; adults sit on hard benches in the Turtle Talk Theatre. Guests may remain in their Wheelchair/ECV; Assistive Listening and Audio Description are available so everyone can enjoy the show.

Turtle Talk with Crush is not open for Early Theme Park Entry or Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. You may secure Lightning Lane entry via Genie+, but unless this is on your must-do list, you should save it for other EPCOT attractions. It’s unusual to wait more than one or two shows to get in, which translates into 15 or 3o minutes. So, if you find long lines before 11 a.m., try back after 3 p.m. when more of the crowd has moved on to World Showcase.

The Bottom Line.

We think Turtle Talk with Crush is a lot of fun, especially for youngsters. Adults will get a kick out of watching the interaction between audience members and Crush – and will appreciate some of the humor the littles will miss. It’s not a top-of-the-list attraction for touring but can make a great way to get out of the heat and sit in air-conditioned comfort before your day continues.

Have you seen Turtle Talk with Crush? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Bob Jacobs

Bob Jacobs lives in Wisconsin where he retired as Editorial Director for a well-known catalog company. He and his wife Cristie have four children, seven grandchildren and a cocker spaniel named Penny the Dog. They’ve visited Walt Disney World regularly since 1992.

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