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Parting the Red Sea (1973 - 2006)

(See also Park Lake for information about the period before 1973 and about the other areas around the lake)

The attraction aimed to recreate the epic biblical moment in The Ten Commandments where Moses parts the waters of the Red Sea.

The tour guide points out the fact that Park Lake beside the tram has been used in numerous films and TV series (e.g. Creature from the Black Lagoon, McHale's Navy) before preparing us for wet feet as we drive through the lake. The guests count down and the waters magically part in front of us. (well, quite noisily actually, revealing an aged rusty metal mechanism).

At it's best, the effect is very impressive - water cascades past the tram as it sinks below the level of the lake. However, usually the metal plates holding the water back are fairly obvious, and also quite rusty to look at.
The effect was accomplished in Cecil B DeMille's silent The Ten Commandments (1923) by using a block of blue gelatine melting, projected in reverse.
And they say the camera never lies…

The mechanism was originally a timed effect - the tram only had a certain number of seconds to cross the lake before the mechanism closed up again. Needless to say a tram was trapped once as the lake filled back up again. There are now two safety systems to stop this happening again - the tour guide has to manually push a button to signal all is clear, and there are infra-red sensors which can detect if the tram is clear of the water.
There is still a possibility of some excitement with the Red Sea as the tram roadway sometimes does not drain fully, leaving some guests with wet feet. The tour guide will ask you to lift bags off the floor of the tram for a good reason!

From April 2006, The Red Sea is now just a convenient way of viewing the King Kong "bigature" of the SS Venture approaching Skull Island.

More information:

GlamorTram in The Red Sea, from Inside Universal Studios, 1979
GlamorTram in The Red Sea, from Inside Universal Studios, 1979
Parting the Red Sea - photo by Gary Hadley  Universal Studios
Parting the Red Sea - photo by Gary Hadley Universal Studios
GlamorTram in The Red Sea
GlamorTram in The Red Sea
Looking back on The Red Sea (Photo by Chris Mearing, April 2003)
Looking back on The Red Sea (Photo by Chris Mearing, April 2003)