Last Friday, Walt Disney World ® guests took a journey “under the sea” with the new dark ride called Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid during Disney’s ® soft opening of the new Fantasyland area at Magic Kingdom ®.
This isn’t the first time Disney ® has immersed guests in an under the sea adventure. Disneyland Resort ® opened their own “The Little Mermaid” ride in June 2011 and while both rides are very similar, the one at Walt Disney World ® adds a whole new level of detail and theming to make you feel like you are actually swimming with Ariel and friends.
Once the home of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride where riders descended into a real lagoon in a submarine, Journey of the Little Mermaid takes guests on a dry adventure using special effects to make them feel like they are under water. But before you go under the sea, your journey begins outside in front of Prince Eric’s castle, which sits atop a rocky terrain, marked by a shipwreck. The attention to detail is astonishing in this area with a figurehead of Ariel’s likeness attached to the bow of the wrecked boat, cascading waterfalls, palm trees, caves and much more.
Once you enter the ride, you’ll immediately be in the ride’s queue, which takes guests on a winding path across waterways and through caverns. And for those who want even more entertainment while they wait, you can search for items during Scuttle’s Scavenger Hunt. Animated blue crabs help Ariel collect her whosits and whatzits and guests can point to items the crabs bring out to help decide if they belong with the rest of Ariel’s collection. The interactive portion of the queue ends in a winding room featuring an Audio-Animatronic version of Scuttle, who talks to guests and shows them the items the crabs have collected. Another queue room tells the story of The Little Mermaid through text and illustrations along the ceiling.
Eventually you’ll board a slow-moving clamshell vehicle and journey under the sea coming face-to-face with your favorite characters from the animated film including the enchanted Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder and the evil Ursula, whose character comes to life with a very convincing Audio Animatronic figure and more. The clamshell takes riders through familiar scenes while listening to the popular songs from the 1989 film.
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid at Disney’s Magic Kingdom will officially debut on December 6. If you missed the soft opening last week select previews will be offered between now and December 6 with a constant preview phase for all park guests beginning November 19 and continuing through the grand opening.