The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure Paradise Gardens Park Disney California Adventure
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is a classic dark ride that tells Ariel’s story. Guests board colorful clamshell vehicles for their trip “under the sea” where they will encounter familiar scenes and characters from this beloved movie.
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is located at the entrance to Paradise Gardens Park. The building is an attraction in itself, inspired by the Victorian Exposition style found in seaside amusement parks in the early 20th century. Atop the building is a statue of King Triton, with relief carvings of Ariel’s sisters decorating the archway.
The entrance to the main queue is under the rotunda, and from there to the boarding area the queue is mostly shaded.
Above the loading area is an 86-foot hand-painted mural depicting characters from the movie.
The ride uses the Onmimover ride system (like the Haunted Mansion), so guests walk onto the moving load ramp and step into their clamshell vehicle. A cast member will lower the “sand bar”. Clamshells will seat two adults comfortably, three “friendly” adults, or two adults with two small children.
Just inside the entrance is Scuttle the seagull, who attempts to introduce Ariel’s story.
The clamshells rotate and travel backwards as they go “under the sea” with lighting changes and other special effects to enhance the experience.
In Ariel’s Grotto Ariel shows off some of her treasures as she sings “Part of Your World.”
The largest scene in the attraction features a huge party “Under the Sea”, with many of the familiar characters from the movie – the “duke of soul, slugs “cutting a rug”, and the “blowfish blow”, with Sebastian overseeing the whole thing.
Flotsam and Jetsam overlook the entrance to Ursula’s lair, where a 7-1/2-foot tall Ursula bounces and jiggles realisitically as she sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
The clamshell moves back to the surface and the moonlit rowboat scene. In this romantic setting Sebastian encourages Eric to “Kiss the Girl.”
And he does kiss her in the next scene, as a thwarted Ursula looks on.
The final scene features a nighttime wedding reception, where King Triton and some of Ariel’s other underwater friends have surfaced to enjoy a spectacular fireworks show. The newly-married couple wave as the clamshells pass out of the attraction and Scuttle concludes his rambling story.
You can see a ride-through of the attraction here:
Ariel’s Undersea Adventure does not have Fastpass, but it is a high-capacity, continuously loading attraction, and the line moves steadily. The ride is about 5 minutes and 30 seconds long.
There is no height requirement to ride, and the attraction is appropriate for children of all ages. Ursula’s Lair is the only dark scene, but most children seem to find her more comical than scary.
Those in wheelchairs or ECVs should proceed through the regular queue. There are two wheelchair-accessible vehicles (“King Triton’s Chariots”) available to guests. Wheelchairs can be pushed into these from the loading ramp, usually without slowing down the attraction at all. Those using ECVs must transfer to a wheelchair before boarding.
The attraction also offers audio description and assistive listening for those using Disney’s handheld device.
The closest restrooms are located on San Francisco Street, near the attraction’s entrance.
Young children should be accompanied by an adult.
Disney characters can often be found greeting guests along San Francisco Street near the entrance to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. Check the Daily Times guide for other character Meet and Greet opportunities.
A variety of quick-service dining locations are available in the nearby Pacific Wharf.
Embarcadero – offers both Ariel and World of Color themed merchandise as well as pins, pin accessories, and Vinylmation.
Seaside Souvenirs – Hats, keychains and other small souvenirs
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure officially opened on June 3, 2011.
The Golden Dreams attraction, which closed on September 7, 2008, was originally located on the site now occupied by Little Mermaid. Its entrance rotunda, a replica of San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, became the entrance for the new attraction.
There are 184 animatronic figures in the attraction, 128 of which are in the “Under the Sea” scene. 50 of those are spinning starfish.
The characters in the attraction that speak, like Scuttle and Flotsam and Jetsam have a couple minutes of dialog, so repeat visitors might hear them say different things.
Ursula is the largest audio-animatronic figure in the show at 7-1/2-feet tall and 12-feet wide. She also has a unique squash-and-stretch function in her torso and is made of flexible materials so she can bounce along with the music.
Because they have so much skin exposed, a special skin technology was used for the audio-animatronic figures of Ariel, King Triton, and Ursula.
In the Ariel’s Grotto scene, Ariel’s hair is a separate animatronic.
The attraction building was inspired by the Dragon Gorge scenic railway at the Ocean Park amusement zone in Southern California.
The mermaids featured on the relief carvings of the building’s facade are Ariel’s sisters: Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, and Alana. The statue of King Triton originally came from Triton’s Garden at Disneyland (now Pixie Hollow).
Attraction vehicles are sculpted multi-colored, pastel clamshells.
The Omnimover ride system was developed by Disney Imagineers in the 1960s and used for Adventure Through Inner Space as well as the Haunted Mansion.
The music in the queue is an orchestral medley of songs from the movie. The songs heard in the attraction are the original songs from the movie, and were not re-recorded.
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.
Music: Songs of “The Little Mermaid” Become ‘Part of Your World’ In New Attraction at Disney California Adventure Park
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