The submarines opened in the summer of 1959.
There were 8 of them each named after a submarine in the 1950's nuclear program: Seawolf, Skate, Ethan Allen, Patrick Henry, Nautilus, Triton, Skipjack, and the George Washington.
They each held 38 passengers and were 52' long. The ride took 9 minutes and it carried you under the North Pole, past a giant sea serpent and in the early days there were even real mermaids that could be seen for 4 hours a day on the rocks in the middle of the lagoon.
Here are some construction shots:
Here is the entrance which doesn't look much different today:
Here is the inauguration:
And a couple of vintage shots of the subs at the station:
This is a great overhead shot showing how colorful it used to be:
There aren't a lot of older under water shots to be found:
And now a word about the mermaids.
They held auditions for them at the Disneyland Hotel and the requirements were that you had to be between 5' 4" and 5' 7" (this cuts me out) and had to be able to swim.
Looking at the pictures I assume an unspoken requirement was also that you were thin enough to fit the costume. This would also leave me out.
Here are a few pictures of the auditions:
And here are some of the lucky winners in action:
And finally today I found this great video:
Hope everyone has a really great weekend!