The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure
The Little Mermaid - Ariels Undersea Adventure entrance.jpg
The entrance for The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure.
Disney California Adventure
AreaParadise Gardens Park
Coordinates33°48′21″N 117°55′19″W / 33.8058064°N 117.9220354°W / 33.8058064; -117.9220354
Soft opening dateMay 26, 2011
Opening dateJune 3, 2011
ReplacedGolden Dreams
Magic Kingdom
NameUnder the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
(Enchanted Forest)
Coordinates28°25′10″N 81°34′45″W / 28.4194705°N 81.5792776°W / 28.4194705; -81.5792776
Soft opening dateOctober 12, 2012[1]
Opening dateDecember 6, 2012[2]
Replaced20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage
Pooh's Playful Spot
Ariel's Grotto
General statistics
Attraction typeDark ride
ManufacturerSansei Yusoki
DesignerWalt Disney Imagineering
ThemeThe Little Mermaid
MusicAlan Menken (music)
Howard Ashman (lyrics)
Danny Troob (transitional and queue arrangements)[3]
Length624 ft (190 m)
Vehicle typeOmnimover
Riders per vehicle2 to 3
FastPass+ available
Handicapped/disabled access Wheelchair accessible
Assistive listening icon.svg Assistive listening available

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure (stylized The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure) is a dark ride attraction based on the 1989 Disney animated film The Little Mermaid, located in Paradise Gardens Park at Disney California Adventure and in Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, where it is titled Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid (stylized Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid). The ride opened on June 3, 2011 at Disney California Adventure,[4] and on December 6, 2012 at Magic Kingdom.[1][5]


In the early-to-mid-1990s, Walt Disney Imagineering attempted to develop a Little Mermaid dark ride for Disneyland Paris and Magic Kingdom parks. Early plans for Tokyo DisneySea and Hong Kong Disneyland also included this ride. None of these versions were actually built, although a computer-generated ride-through animatic was included on the Platinum Edition DVD of The Little Mermaid in 2006.[6]

Disney later went on to design and build a different version of the attraction for Disney California Adventure, as part of an effort to revitalize that park in the 2000s. The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure opened on June 3, 2011[4] in an area of Paradise Pier formerly occupied by Golden Dreams.

In September 2009, Disney announced that Mickey's Toontown Fair at the Magic Kingdom would be demolished to make room for an expansion of Fantasyland.[7] One of the new elements would be a Little Mermaid dark ride, much like the one slated for construction in California. Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid opened on December 6, 2012.

On March 20, 2014, the attraction at Disney California Adventure closed for maintenance.[8] It reopened May 10, 2014 with several enhancements; new sea creature figures were added throughout the ride, a view of King Triton's castle was added, the "Under the Sea" scene was given a blacklight treatment, and the Ariel and Prince Eric figures' sculpted hair was replaced with realistic hair in the "kiss the girl" and "finale" scenes.


The exterior of the show building at Disney California Adventure is modeled after a 20th-century aquarium.

Exterior and queue[edit]

At Disney California Adventure, the building is modeled after a 20th-century aquarium. The Palace of Fine Arts rotunda replica that served as an entrance for Golden Dreams was kept as the entrance for the new attraction. The queue passes beneath a series of canopies and into the building itself. The loading area features a large, hand-painted mural depicting the story's major characters.

The Magic Kingdom attraction has a different exterior and queue, featuring Prince Eric's castle and the surrounding cliffs. Guests enter through a cavern at low tide, and part of the queue includes an interactive scavenger hunt with Scuttle. The mural in the loading area is also substantially different from the one at Disney California Adventure.


At both parks, guests board Omnimover vehicles themed as large, colorful clamshells. These proceed through an opening in the broken hull of Prince Eric's ship. Scuttle greets the guests and makes a muddled attempt to tell them Ariel's story. The clamshells then rotate backwards as they make their way along the beach and descend "underwater" (an effect achieved through projections and blasts of cold air). As they continue their descent, the clamshells travel through rocky underwater passages filled with seaweed and coral (in Disney California Adventure, clams, fish, seahorses, and starfish can be seen in the passages as well.) Ariel and Flounder can be seen briefly through an opening overhead.

Facade of the attraction at the Magic Kingdom.

The underwater passage opens to reveal Ariel in her grotto, singing "Part of Your World." She is surrounded by her collection of treasures from the human world. Flounder floats along beside her while Sebastian occasionally appears among the bric-à-brac. As he reminds Ariel about the wonders of being under the sea, King Triton's castle can be seen in the distance, and the scene opens up to a large underwater garden where Sebastian conducts dozens of singing, dancing sea creatures through the song "Under the Sea."

The celebration fades as Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula's pet eels, welcome the guests to the sea witch's lair. The clamshells pass into the mouth of an enormous beast's skeleton and find Ursula singing "Poor, Unfortunate Souls" inside, standing at her crystal ball and surrounded by her collection of lost souls. Ahead, a vortex of light surrounds Ariel as she trades her voice for a pair of human legs.

The clamshells ascend among projected bubbles and splash onto the shore of a lagoon. Sebastian sings "Kiss the Girl" while Eric and Ariel sit together in a boat, leaning in to kiss each other before backing away sheepishly. After leaving the lagoon, the clamshells pass before a doorway to Prince Eric's castle, where silhouettes of Ariel and Eric are seen finally kissing. A golden orb glows from within Ariel's neck, signifying that she has regained her voice. The orb proceeds to encircle the two, creating a heart shape as Ariel and Eric kiss. The smoking silhouette of a giant, defeated Ursula is visible on the horizon.

The clamshells proceed into the final scene of the attraction, where King Triton, Sebastian, Flounder, and several sea creatures celebrate the wedding of Ariel and Eric. The couple waves goodbye from a gazebo on the ocean's edge. Fireworks explode in the sky overhead. As the clamshells pass into the unload area, Scuttle finishes his story by exclaiming that he's "not such a bird-brain after all."


Arranger Danny Troob adapted Alan Menken's original songs for the attraction. He also wrote an orchestral medley for the loading area, several transitional cues, and a new arrangement for the finale. Some of the scenes use the original vocal performances from the film, with Jodi Benson providing the voice of Ariel and Pat Carroll providing the voice of Ursula. There are also new performances by Phillip Lawrence as Sebastian, Chris Edgerly as Scuttle,[9] and Tress MacNeille as Flotsam and Jetsam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Disney opens New Fantasyland early for 'dress rehearsal'". Bay News 9. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  2. ^ Fickley-Baker, Jennifer (August 7, 2012). "New Fantasyland Grand Opening Set For December 6 at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  3. ^ "The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Himmelberg, Michele (February 25, 2011). "From Under the Sea to Galaxies Far, Far Away…Opening Dates Are Set For A Soundsational Summer at Disneyland Resort". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  5. ^ Brigante, Ricky (May 29, 2011). "New Fantasyland art, models and details unveiled featuring The Little Mermaid, Be Our Guest restaurant, Belle meet-and-greet and Dumbo update". Inside the Magic. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  6. ^ The Little Mermaid Ride (YouTube). November 1, 2009. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  7. ^ Keating, Gina (September 12, 2009). "Disney to expand Fantasyland at Walt Disney World". Reuters. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  8. ^ Glover, Erin (February 25, 2014). "Alice in Wonderland and The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure at Disneyland Resort to Close Temporarily Beginning in March". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  9. ^ Full Voices of the Disney Theme Parks presentation from D23 Expo 2011 (YouTube). Attractions Magazine. August 27, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2017.

External links[edit]