When "Turtle Talk with Crush" first opened at Epcot on November 11, 2004, it was part of The Living Seas pavilion. Ten years later, it has become known as an integral part of The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Today, "Turtle Talk with Crush" celebrates a great milestone - 10 years as a righteous attraction at The Walt Disney World Resort. Guests of all ages have enjoyed the interactive and hilarious experience of talking with the 150-year-old green sea turtle.
Bill Gunn, a close friend of Crush, has been working at the attraction since it started and said he still enjoys hearing questions and seeing the smiles on dudes' and dudettes' faces. "You learn that kids and adults just say the darnest things. I really like the personal interaction, and just the look on people's faces when you crack a joke," Bill said.
He noted that the attraction has not only brought laughter but hope and happiness for Guests in ways he could have never imagined. "You get some kids who are really really shy and they come out of their shells, and they'll talk to Crush when they don't talk to other people," Gunn said. "We actually had an experience several years ago, where we had an autistic nonverbal kid - seven years old, had never spoken a word in his life - and he tried to talk to Crush."
Glenn Panek has also been a friend of Crush for ten years now. "If a child has the courage to raise their hand, [Crush is] going to call on them," Glenn said. "That's one of the reasons why I love the show, it gives children a chance to tell their stories, and it makes their parents proud that their children volunteered."
Glenn explained that Crush is a character many people enjoy, and even though he has seen the show thousands of times in multiple settings, the tubular turtle is still his favorite character. "He's just here to live life to the fullest. He's not about the finish line, just the journey," Glenn said. "It's not about the outcome, and I think that's the best way to live, too."
Many of the Cast Members working at the location have come to enjoy getting to know the lively reptile and recognize that the show is a great attraction because of the interactions it creates, especially for younger Guests. "Kids are so smart nowadays. By allowing them to talk with Crush, we acknowledge their creativity and brilliance. We give kids a platform to show their knowledge," Glenn said.
So come experience "Turtle Talk with Crush!" - 10 years and counting - and have a totally awesome day!
PHOTO: ©2004 Disney, All Rights Reserved.