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    The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure

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Description And Comments

The basics of The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure are similar to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion: a continuously loading ride system transports you through a series of elaborately themed, darkened scenes with sophisticated special effects. In this case, The Little Mermaid attraction takes you to the bottom of the ocean in clam shell cars, where the ride recaps Ariel’s journey from her father’s undersea kingdom to marrying Prince Eric. After Scuttle the seagull recaps the backstory for you, your vehicle descends backward beneath the simulated sea surface with a spritz of cool air. Assuming that you haven’t drowned, you’ll then meet a cutting-edge animatronic Ariel (featuring “floating” hair); party down “Under the Sea” with Sebastian the crab; and be menaced by a 12-foot-wide, 71⁄2-foot-tall undulating figure of Ursula, the evil sea witch. The adventure is all set to newly orchestrated versions of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s classic songs, and original animator Glen Keane and actress Jodi Benson both returned to lend their talents.

Though the ride is colorful and kinetic, it still suffers from shortchanged storytelling, especially in the unsatisfyingly abrupt finale. While it’s a welcome addition to DCA’s short roster of kid-friendly indoor rides, anyone expecting a modern-day classic to compete with Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean may come away somewhat disappointed. But this family from Arvada, Colorado, thinks the ride serves its supporting role well:

Head for The Little Mermaid ride when you need a break. It’s well done, it’s air-conditioned, and there’s never a wait.

Touring Tips

The Little Mermaid rarely sees long lines. The Omnimover ride system is capable of efficiently handling more than 2,000 guests per hour, keeping lines moving swiftly even on busy days. If you find the line prohibitive, check back in the late afternoon, when you will often be able to walk on with little wait.

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure when you visit on a day with a given Disney California Adventure Park Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will be at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure Wait Times.

Attraction Photos

Special Comments

Pleasant but underwhelming.

Special Needs

Disney Dish with Jim Hill

That Fish is Knotts Supposed to Be Here

Keep a sharp eye out as your clam-shell cruises through the "Under the Sea" sequence in DCA's The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure. When you get to Ariel, look behind you to your right. There, hidden in the grass, you'll find a beautifully sculpted version of the cartoon character that Don Knotts voiced in The Incredible Mr. Limpet, a live-action/ animated feature that Warner Brothers released in 1964. When I asked the Imagineers why they thought it was OK to feature a Warner Brothers character inside a Disney theme park ride, their response was, If you'll look closely at one of the crowd scenes in the animated feature, you'll notice that Mr. Limpet is in the 1989 version of The Little Mermaid as well.

Additional Resources

Other Attractions in Paradise Gardens Park

Touring Plans with The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure

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