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The Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Guests will enter the enchanting story of “The Little Mermaid,” complete with characters and songs from the Academy Award-winning Disney animated motion picture, when they board The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Set in and around Ariel’s underwater world and located inside a new space on Paradise Pier, the new attraction combines the enduring appeal of a classic Disney “dark ride” with wonderful technological innovations to offer guests a personal journey into the scenes of the film. 

Adventurers on the attraction will feel as if they are descending below the ocean’s surface, one of the special effects that take this “dark ride” to a new level of sophistication.  Once “under the sea,” guests will find themselves immersed in the classic story of “The Little Mermaid,” sharing Ariel’s adventure through advanced Audio-Animatronics technology, a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score that will entice everyone to sing along.

‘Out of the sea … Wish I could be … Part of that world’

The fun begins outside the attraction, where the building housing The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is a new landmark along Paradise Pier. Its Victorian Exposition-style exterior,  including a statue of King Triton and relief carvings of frolicking mermaids (Ariel’s sisters), was inspired by the spectacular pavilions found in the classic seaside amusement parks of the early 20th century.

The ride loading area features an 86-foot hand-painted mural depicting the characters from “The Little Mermaid.” By night, the building will be outlined in thousands of lights, serving as a gateway to Paradise Pier.

Guests begin their journey by boarding their own colorful “clamshell” ride vehicles, part of the Omnimover ride system that is familiar to fans of the “Doom Buggies” in the Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland park. The Omnimover, a Walt Disney Imagineering design, gives passengers a point-of-view experience, directing their attention to the key scenes in the attraction.

Scuttle, the tale-spinning seagull, welcomes guests as they embark on their adventure, doing his best to tell the story of Ariel’s ambition to leave her ocean home and become part of the human world.  

‘I wanna be …Walking around on those - what do you call 'em? Oh - feet!’

To meet Ariel and participate in her adventure, guests must first head “under the sea.” A combination of special effects creates a sense of descending to the ocean floor, all without leaving the clamshell vehicle.

The first locale on the underwater journey is Ariel’s grotto, where she keeps the treasures she has found on land – whozits, whatzits and thingamabobs – and sings “Part of Your World.” The Audio-Animatronics figure of Ariel features some remarkable magic touches, including an underwater “floating” red hair effect.

Next, in a dazzling musical extravaganza with an underwater party atmosphere, dozens of singing and playing marine creatures (“the carp with the harp, the newt with the flute”) try to encourage Ariel to remain “Under the Sea.” The conductor, of course, is Sebastian the crab.

 ‘It won’t cost much … Just your voice! … You poor unfortunate soul’

Despite the warnings, Ariel is determined to visit the Sea Witch to find a way to become human. Ursula’s lair is another stunning scene, featuring her slithering henchmen Flotsam and Jetsam and Ursula herself – 7½-feet tall and 12-feet wide, from tentacle tip to tentacle tip. Ursula sings her signature piece, “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”

Next, as Ariel’s wish to be human is granted, guests follow her up to the ocean surface, where they witness Ariel’s friends encouraging Prince Eric to “Kiss the Girl.” This inspires a stormy response from the villainous Ursula and leads to the finale, which holds some surprises – even for those who know and love the motion picture.

About this Attraction

Location: Paradise Pier, Disney California Adventure

Type: "Omnimover"-style ride

Duration: approximately 5½ minutes from the time guests load the clamshell to the time they exit the clamshell.

Ride Capacity: 2 riders per clamshell

Fastpass: No

Child Swap available

Best time to visit: Early morning or later in the day

Tips & Fun Facts

This is the first Disney ride-through attraction that takes you “under the sea” with Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian and Ursula, with music and scenes from “The Little Mermaid” film.
Nearly 200 Audio-Animatronics figures perform in the attraction. The Under the Sea scene alone has 128 figures, including 50 spinning starfish.
Ursula is the largest Audio-Animatronics figure in the show at 7½-feet tall and 12-feet wide. She also has a squash-and-stretch function in her torso and flexible materials so she can bounce along with the music.
An 86-foot long, hand-painted mural greets guests in the loading area of the attraction. The mural depicts many of the characters guests will see within the attraction including Prince Eric, King Triton, Sebastian, Flounder and, of course, Ariel.
The attraction was created by a team of talented Imagineers and consultants including Senior Show Producer Lisa Girolami, Creative Director/Show Designer Larry Nikolai, and Frank Antonides, director of project management – all from Walt Disney Imagineering – along with Chris Crump, production and show designer, and Danny Troob, musical arranger and orchestrator.
The attraction building was inspired by the Dragon Gorge scenic railway at the long-gone Ocean Park amusement zone in Southern California.
The building’s façade features a statue of King Triton and relief carvings of six frolicking mermaids. The mermaids are Ariel’s older sisters: Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, and Alana.
The Palace of Fine Arts rotunda, originally the entrance to the former “Golden Dreams” attraction, has been incorporated into The Little Mermaid attraction architecture and is now part of the entrance façade.
A special skin technology had to be incorporated into the Audio-Animatronics figures for Ariel, King Triton and Ursula since they have so much skin exposed.
The attraction features an Omnimover ride system pioneered by Walt Disney Imagineers in the 1960s and used for the “Doom Buggies” of the Haunted Mansion, as well as in Adventures Through Inner Space, formerly in Tomorrowland.
Attraction vehicles are sculpted multi-colored, pastel clamshells.
Music in the queue features an orchestral medley of songs from the film.
Songs from the original film written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are featured in the attraction: “Part of Your World,” “Kiss the Girl,” “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” and the Academy Award winning “Under the Sea.” Guests will recognize the voices of Jodi Benson (Ariel) and Pat Carroll (Ursula).
Imagineers working on the attraction consulted with Ariel’s animator in the film, Glen Keane, who recommended that her hair be treated as a character all its own.
Each scene of the attraction was first built as a one-quarter-inch scale model and then as a one?inch scale model, so Imagineers could “ride” through the attraction scene-by-scene before full construction began.
The attraction concludes with a surprise ending that takes us beyond the ending of the film.

Additional Information

Wheelchair and ECV Accessible
Transfer from Wheelchair or ECV to Ride Vehicle
Hearing Disability Services

No height restrictions

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