Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with Pixar, the attraction consists of an improvisational, real-time conversation with Crush, the animated sea turtle character from the Disney·Pixar film Finding Nemo.
Turtle Talk with Crush at Disney California Adventure
Guests are admitted to a movie theater-like room featuring what appears to be a large aquarium-style window opening onto an undersea vista. Children are encouraged to sit on a carpeted area up front so that they may have a better view, while parents and other adults sit on benches behind them. The host and moderator gives a brief introduction to the show, and then Crush swims down to appear in the window. Crush looks and sounds much as he does in Finding Nemo, complete with animated facial expressions and subtle gestures. With the help of the moderator, Crush selects children and adults from the audience and engages them individually in dialogue, asking them questions and responding with quick wit and humor to questions about his life as a sea turtle or any other questions guests choose to ask. Crush individually chooses the children by saying what they are wearing (e.g.: "the pink shell shirt and brown hair").
Other events may occur during this improvised conversation, including cameo appearances by other characters from the original film. Though the format, structure and rough duration of the show are consistent, the show itself varies considerably depending on the guests' questions and comments. For example, if an audience member asks where Dory is, a special ending involving Dory and a whale will be triggered, complete with another attempt by Dory to speak whale.
The show is a blend of computer graphic techniques, image projection, and interactive improvisation.
The "Window to the Pacific" is a large rear-projection screen portraying an animated undersea environment. The animated image of Crush is a computer graphic avatar controlled by a puppet, operated by a backstage actor/puppeteer whose performance is digitized in real time. Crush's movements and voice-activated lip synch are rendered on the fly and are projected at 60 frames per second, so that the turtle's mouth moves in synchronization with the actor's words. Digital puppetry techniques allow the puppeteer's movements to control the body motions of the projected turtle image. The technology enables each show to be different as Crush responds uniquely to each individual audience.
Using cameras mounted in the theater, the hidden actor can see the audience with whom he is interacting, and thus can refer to the specific appearance and behavior of particular questioners, as well as their location in the theatre. The actor's performance is a combination of semi-scripted banter and improvised responses to guests' questions and comments, delivered in a mimicry of the character voice from the film (originally performed by Andrew Stanton).