Have you ever been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium? If not, I highly recommend it! I think the aquarium (and the whole Monterey area) is worthy of a trip to California just for that! It’s a great place to go anytime, but it would be especially fun to go after seeing Finding Dory when it hits theaters on June 17th. You just might even find her there!
As part of our #FindingDoryEvent press trip, we spent a great deal of time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! It was the perfect host site for a Finding Dory event as the Disney-Pixar animators actually spent quite a bit of time doing research for the film there! Here’s a brief look at what you can expect in the movie:
Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.
Doesn’t it look great?! I’m SO excited for this movie! And, I think you’ll find that the movie’s Marine Life Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium have some very obvious similarities! In addition to some general environmental and physical similarities, you’ll find that there are SO many characters in the movie that you can find right here at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! We’ll start first with what the aquarium is famous for…sea otters!
You’ll find these adorable creatures in the movie… Awwww! SO stinkin’ cute! And you can always find otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! They have an amazing rescue program and surrogate program for orphaned otters. The successes of the aquarium with sea otters is amazing! To think at one point these beautiful creatures were *this close* to becoming extinct – it’s SO sad and then so incredible to see them doing see well in the Monterey area. In fact, while we were at the aquarium, we happened to be VERY lucky in that a wild sea otter had just given birth in the great tide pool (that opens to the ocean) at the aquarium. We got to see the mom and one-day old baby! Absolutely precious! So, you can see otters both in the movie and then at the aquarium and in the wild in the area! Another very awesome new character to the movie franchise is Hank. Hank is an octopus, well actually a septopus (he’s lost a tentacle). And I think he’s going to be quite popular! So, you can see Hank in the movie and then find his cousins right at the aquarium. I happened to get the chance to even interact with one! Incredible (more on that later…it’s a story & character that needs its OWN post)! Destiny, the whale shark, is another fun new character you’ll be introduced to in the film! While the aquarium doesn’t haven’t any whale sharks, it does have a HUGE tank where you’ll find Destiny’s cousins. In fact, we had a private dinner in front of this giant tank one night, which was beyond amazing! Of course, I never managed to snap a good photo when one of the sharks swam by. But, they’re in there – you’ll see other sharks, large rays (just like Mr. Ray from Finding Nemo) and large sea turtles (Dude, Crush)! And, speaking of sea turtles, there’s our pal Squirt (and his dad Crush) from Finding Nemo whom we’ll see again in Finding Dory! And guess what?! We found our own little Squirt at the aquarium! One thing we’ll see in the movie is that at one point along the way, Dory finds herself in a Kelp forest! And wouldn’t you know, there is an incredible Kelp forest right at the aquarium!!! The kelp forest is actually the ecosystem you’ll find right off the Monterey coast. Some of the big kelp beds is what you’ll see the wild sea otters hanging out by! It’s such a cool site and the aquarium portion is beautiful (the animation of that part in the movie is amazing too)! Last but certainly not least…you can FIND DORY at the aquarium, along with her adopted family of Nemo and Marlin! The gang is all right here in Monterey!!!
This just barely scratches the surface of all the awesome characters in the movie and the amazing sea life represented at the aquarium! The Monterey Bay Aquarium has long been a popular destination (with very good reason), but I think it will be even that extra fun after Finding Dory hits theaters! The whole atmosphere is absolutely fantastic, which had he former biology teacher and wanna-be marine biologist was geeking out the WHOLE time! So, if you are ever in the Bay area of California, be SURE to plan a visit to the aquarium! A trip here will truly be an unforgettable experience – unless you’re Dory of course. Then, you probably won’t remember! 😉
Finding Dory swims into theaters on June 17th, 2016! Perfect for summer fun!
Disclosure: Disney hosted me in Monterey in order to attend screenings and to participate in group interviews & media events. As always, all opinions, experiences, love of Disney & the Monterey Bay Aquarium are entirely my own!