The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure opens to guests on June 3, 2011, at Disney California Adventure park. This whimsical underwater adventure begins when guests board pastel-colored clamshell vehicles and head “under the sea” to visit Ariel and her friends in a musical retelling of the classic motion picture. During this immersive experience, guests will see the Little Mermaid falling in love, getting her legs, losing her voice and winning the prince as the best-loved musical numbers bring the attraction to life all around them.
- 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.
- The attraction experience is approximately 5½ minutes from the time guests load the clamshell to the time they exit the clamshell.
- 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).
- The Little Mermaid feature film debuted November 15, 1989, and the film won Academy Awards for Best Song, “Under the Sea,” and Best Original Score.
- The Little Mermaid was the first Disney film based on a classic fairy tale since Sleeping Beauty three decades earlier.
- 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.
A similar version of the attraction is scheduled to open in the new Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.