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Under the Sea takes riders through almost a dozen scenes retelling the story of The Little Mermaid, with animatronics, video effects, and a vibrant 3-D set the size of a small theater.
Guests board a clamshell-shaped ride vehicle running along a continuously moving track (similar to Haunted Mansion's). Then the ride “descends” under water, past Ariel’s grotto and on to King Triton’s undersea kingdom. The most detailed animatronic is of Ursula, the octopus, and she’s a beauty. Other scenes hit the film’s highlights, including Ariel meeting Prince Eric, her deal with Ursula to become human, and, of course, the couple’s happy ending.
The attraction’s exterior is attractive, with detailed rock work, water, and story elements. (Our favorite effect is a “hidden Mickey”—the shape of Mickey’s head and ears—that is created through a special alignment of the sun’s shadow and the rock work, and only at noon on November 18, Mickey’s birthday.)
The ride isn’t Disney’s most ambitious: Most of the effects throughout the ride are simple and unimaginative, such as starfish that only spin or lobsters that simply turn left and right. Also, virtually the entire second half of the story is condensed into a handful of small scenes crammed together at the end, as if the budget ran out before the ride could be finished properly.
Ride Through Video
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Here's roughly how many minutes you'll wait for Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid at each Magic Kingdom Crowd Level.
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