Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid debuts this fall at Magic Kingdom, advancing the great tradition of the â€œdark rideâ€ â€“ a theme park classic that transports riders in guided vehicles through specially lit scenes often featuring animation sound, music, and special effects. That said, the Little Mermaid attraction incorporates advanced technology and special effects to make guests feel as if theyâ€™ve been taken underwater as they encounter characters from â€œThe Little Mermaidâ€ in amazing three-dimensional forms. View attachment 13794 Technical and design highlights begin with the building housing the attraction. The architecture itself was designed using new digital 3-D modeling technology and the faÃ§ade, in its finished form, features Prince Ericâ€™s castle from the film. Guests will arrive at the sandy beach line and descend into the caverns below Prince Ericâ€™s castle to board their clam shell and journey under the sea with Ariel. View attachment 13791 The painstaking attention to detail that is a hallmark of Walt Disney Imagineering is evident in an â€œunderwaterâ€ grotto that appears to be a room inside the princeâ€™s castle, with a beautiful domed ceiling, light penetrating from the sky above water to reveal artifacts of Prince Ericâ€™s world. In Arielâ€™s world, where sea creatures talk and sing, mischievous little crabs engage guests in games of â€˜trash or treasureâ€ to help the crabs fill their treasure chests. This is the latest example of how Imagineers use technology to create interactive queues that allow the fun to start almost immediately. Guests ride through the attraction on board an Omnimover system familiar to fans of the Haunted Mansion. The Omnimover vehicles, which are designed to move and turn so they can direct ridersâ€™ attention to particular views and scenes, have been informally known as â€œclamshellsâ€ for years. In The Little Mermaid attraction, they actually are clamshells. View attachment 13793 Although Disney theme park attractions often make ingenious use of modern special effects technology, it is never an end in itself. For Walt Disney Imagineers, technology serves to enhance the magic and fun of the attractionâ€™s story: Special lighting and projections are used to create the illusion of gradual submersion as guests travel â€œunder the seaâ€ for Arielâ€™s adventure. Special â€œskin technologyâ€ is used in the creation of Ariel, King Triton and Ursula, because they have so much skin exposed. (Imagineers were especially challenged to replicate the unblemished youthful smoothness of Arielâ€™s skin.) Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid features more than 180 Audio-Animatronics figures, ranging from simple to extremely complex. Among the more complex characters: Ursula the Sea Witch. She is the largest Audio-Animatronics character in the show â€“ 12 feet wide and seven-and-a-half feet tall. She has been fitted with a torso that can stretch and squash as she sings â€œPoor Unfortunate Souls,â€ just as Ursulaâ€™s body does in the motion picture. Keep your eye on the eyes. Sebastian the crab, Arielâ€™s would-be guardian, is particularly expressive thanks to digital technology used to animate his eye movements.