Guests will enter the enchanting story of “The Little Mermaid,” complete with characters and songs from the Academy Award-winning Disney animated motion picture, when they board The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, premiering Friday, June 3, in Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort.
Set in and around Ariel’s underwater world and located inside a new space on Paradise Pier, the new attraction combines the enduring appeal of a classic Disney “dark ride” with wonderful technological innovations to offer guests a personal journey into the scenes of the film. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure adds to the excitement of Disney Soundsational Summer, June 3 through Sept 5, a season that offers guests even more ways to make special memories at the Disneyland Resort.
Adventurers on the attraction will feel as if they are descending below the ocean’s surface, one of the special effects that take this “dark ride” to a new level of sophistication. Once “under the sea,” guests will find themselves immersed in the classic story of “The Little Mermaid,” sharing Ariel’s adventure through advanced Audio-Animatronics technology, a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score that will entice everyone to sing along.
“Being involved in this attraction is a dream come true for me,” said Lisa Girolami, Walt Disney Imagineer and Senior Show Producer for The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. “I watched the movie when it first came out and I’ve seen it many, many times since. To be able to create Ariel’s world and bring it to our guests, and then get to watch the faces of the kids and parents as they come through here, is just going to be the best thing ever.”
‘Out of the sea … Wish I could be … Part of that world’
The fun begins outside the attraction, where the building housing The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is a new landmark along Paradise Pier. Its Victorian Exposition-style exterior, including a statue of King Triton and relief carvings of frolicking mermaids (Ariel’s sisters), was inspired by the spectacular pavilions found in the classic seaside amusement parks of the early 20th century.
The ride loading area features an 86-foot hand-painted mural depicting the characters from “The Little Mermaid.” By night, the building will be outlined in thousands of lights, serving as a gateway to Paradise Pier.
Guests begin their journey by boarding their own colorful “clamshell” ride vehicles, part of the Omnimover ride system that is familiar to fans of the “Doom Buggies” in the Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland park. The Omnimover, a Walt Disney Imagineering design, gives passengers a point-of-view experience, directing their attention to the key scenes in the attraction.
Scuttle, the tale-spinning seagull, welcomes guests as they embark on their adventure, doing his best to tell the story of Ariel’s ambition to leave her ocean home and become part of the human world.
‘I wanna be …Walking around on those – what do you call ‘em? Oh – feet!’
To meet Ariel and participate in her adventure, guests must first head “under the sea.” A combination of special effects creates a sense of descending to the ocean floor, all without leaving the clamshell vehicle.
The first locale on the underwater journey is Ariel’s grotto, where she keeps the treasures she has found on land – whozits, whatzits and thingamabobs – and sings “Part of Your World.” The Audio-Animatronics figure of Ariel features some remarkable magic touches, including an underwater “floating” red hair effect.
Next, in a dazzling musical extravaganza with an underwater party atmosphere, dozens of singing and playing marine creatures (“the carp with the harp, the newt with the flute”) try to encourage Ariel to remain “Under the Sea.” The conductor, of course, is Sebastian the crab.
‘It won’t cost much … Just your voice! … You poor unfortunate soul’
Despite the warnings, Ariel is determined to visit the Sea Witch to find a way to become human. Ursula’s lair is another stunning scene, featuring her slithering henchmen Flotsam and Jetsam and Ursula herself – 7½-feet tall and 12-feet wide, from tentacle tip to tentacle tip. Ursula sings her signature piece, “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
Next, as Ariel’s wish to be human is granted, guests follow her up to the ocean surface, where they witness Ariel’s friends encouraging Prince Eric to “Kiss the Girl.” This inspires a stormy response from the villainous Ursula and leads to the finale, which holds some surprises – even for those who know and love the motion picture.
Created by Walt Disney Imagineering, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure features the characters from the beloved motion picture, including many of the original voice talents, and is enhanced with the iconic award-winning songs of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Glen Keane, supervising animator and character designer for Ariel in the film, was a creative consultant in the attraction’s development.
“Many times I’ve thought, ‘Why didn’t we have a Mermaid attraction sooner?’“ Keane said. “But now I’m glad we didn’t. They’ve done this one so well.”
Disney Parks has released this video featuring Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel) and Pat Carroll (voice of Ursula) visiting the new attraction. They, along with composer Alan Menken and others involved in the production of the 1989 film, were on hand to celebrate the grand opening ceremonies which took place on June 2.
Photos by Paul Hiffmeyer, courtesy Disneyland Resort
In celebration of the grand opening of Disney Store Times Square and the magic’s return to New York City, we are pleased to team up with Disney Store to offer one of our extremely lucky readers this Disney Store Singing Ariel Doll signed by the original voice of Ariel herself, Jodi Benson. Jodi was recently on hand at the all new Disney Store Times Square in Manhattan to celebrate with a small group of Disney D23 members and we were there to bring you news of the exciting event. Only a few of the dolls were signed by Jodi and we were very fortunate to be able to share one of them one of our readers. Note that the doll pictured here with Jodi is not the actual doll we are giving away. The winner will receive the doll new-in-box, never-opened, with the box signed as shown below.
This would easily make the ideal holiday gift for any Disney fan, especially a fan of The Little Mermaid.
Aimed at girls ages 5 – 8, the Princess & Me dolls (Tiana, Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and Rapunzel) measure a whopping 18″ in height and seek to engage the child into exploring a whole new world of play beyond the cardboard box. Their unique facial features as the classic Disney Princesses are re-imagined as how they might appear if they were tweens. Each retails for $49.99 and includes a booklet filled with Disney Princess fun facts and activities and the opportunity to register so the child receives a special letter on their birthday from their favorite Princess.
The real slant on the collection, however, is that there is a full line of accessories and highly-detailed wardrobe available which includes actual Disney Princess roleplay dresses for the child that match the doll’s clothing exactly. There’s also a line of purses inspired by each of the Disney Princesses that comes in both child and doll sizes (shown together with the dresses below, but sold separately).
The matching child dresses are also $49.99 each while the individual doll outfits are $14.99 – $19.99 each (ballet and sleepwear at launch). Also available is a Princess & Me Vanity Set for $14.99, a Princess & Me Wardrobe for $39.99 and a Princess & Me Canopy Bed for $49.99.
The collection will be available exclusively at Toys ‘R’ Us beginning in August and the Disney Store in fall. Additionally, QVC will introduce the collection next month to accept pre-orders.
All photos © copyright Stitch Kingdom. All rights reserved.
After a recent update, the Blue Sky Cellar at Disney California Adventure re-opened today and we got a first look before the park opened at some of the new and exciting attractions coming to the Disneyland Resort within the next couple of years and here’s what we have learned of the upcoming additions:
Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – This attraction, which is slated to open in 2011 is also coming to the Magic Kingdom in 2012. Boarding what looks at first to be a clammobile from the Nemo & Friends attraction at Epcot (the vehicles here are simply called clamshells), guests actually enter the doorless vehicles from the sides (as the vehicle will be perpendicular to the guest at loading). A vehicle identified as Triton’s Chariot will be able to directly support a wheelchair. In the loading area will be a mural telling the story of The Little Mermaid and measuring in at an amazing 86 foot length and 12 foot height.
On display is a layout of the attraction at 1:96 scale and maps out all of the defined areas of the attraction. After boarding the vehicle (Scene 1): the guest will travel to see Scuttle and Sebastion (Scene 2); descend (Scene 3) into Ariel’s Grotto (Scene 4) where the guest will encounter an audio animatronic of Ariel holding a chest in her lap and a figure of a dancing couple as she sings ‘Part of Your World.’ According to the plans on display, Ariel will be capable of almost 30 separate functions including full control of her pupils (as well as blinking) and full mouth movement. Guests will then continue on to journey under the sea which includes new effects to enhance the sensation (Scene 5); Travel to Ursula’s Lair (Scene 6); ascend (Scene 7) to the ‘Kiss the Girl’ scene (Scene 8); journey on to Love’s First Kiss (Scene 9); and finally live Happily Ever After (Scene 10) before unloading (Scene 11).
Interestingly enough, the attraction’s ride system and vehicles are being constructed in Japan.
Goofy’s Sky School – A redo of Mulholland Madness and also expected to open in 2011, Goofy’s Sky School is based on the classic ‘how to’ cartoons featuring every one’s favorite talking dog. Although it looks like the billboards will remain (but re-themed), the facades will all be lowered to ground level, opening the attraction up. Guests will enter the queue through a ‘control tower’ designed to fit in with the early seaside attraction theming of Paradise Pier. The vehicles will also remain the same but will receive a paint and decal makeover as well as a hood ornament of sorts.
Red Car Trolley – Probably one of the more highly anticipated new attractions of the park makeover is the addition of the Red Car vehicle system for moving around the park. At a height of 10’4″ and approximate length of 26′, the ‘butterfly-wing’ grilled cars are reminiscent of their inspiration from the 1920s and 30s. They are battery powered despite the presence of overhead wires which exist only for show. As they are shown, the cars will seat 20 guests as well as one guest with a wheelchair/ECV in addition to the vehicle operator. There are four stops connecting Buena Vista Street with Hollywood (where tracks have already been embedded into the streets). A map shows proposed wig wag locations for the system: Buena Vista, Carthay Circle and Tower/Bugs. As a sidebar, concept art reveals that the vehicles (or perhaps specially designed ones) can serve as entertainment vehicles as the Omnibus has at Magic Kingdom for example.
Although most character meet & greets at the Walt Disney World Resort are fairly standard from day to day, there are a couple of times per year when there are significant changes. These changes usually occur in April/May and September/October. In 2010, these changes are further complicated by the closure of Toontown and the Fantasyland expansion in the Magic Kingdom. Since we’re already getting into April, it’s time to take a look at some of the expected upcoming changes.
April 11 will be the last day for Ariel’s Grotto. It is expected that Ariel will be appearing in human form near the Adventureland Veranda (where Lilo and Stitch currently appear) beginning around May 9 which is when a lot of the changes are set to occur, but the exact date appears to be uncertain at this time. When Ariel does begin appearing in Adventureland, she’s expected to bring Prince Eric with her. Previously an exclusive for the ill-fated but well-received Pirate and Princess Party, this will mark Eric’s full-time meet & greet debut, which we’re told is essentially a test for a possible permanent meet & greet with him in the Fantasy Forest expansion (we’re still holding our breaths for Gaston too). As Ariel and Eric are moving in, Lilo will be leaving the Magic Kingdom (but still appearing with Stitch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and Stitch will return to Tomorrowland. No word on whether Ariel will bring her dinglehopper with her at the new locale.
Also on April 11, Goofy will be leaving Frontierland and move to Adventureland where he’ll be dressed as a pirate and hang out near the quartermaster’s desk at the Pirates League. Winnie the Pooh and Tigger will relocate to the Toontown Fair train station. Finally on this date, Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar will join the Frontierland Hoedown, replacing Liverlips and Shaker of the Country Bears.
The majority of the changes are set to take place on May 9. In addition to the assumed date of Ariel’s re-appearance in the Magic Kingdom, the following character changes are expected across the parks:
- Mary Poppins and the formerly-rare Bert will be appearing in Fantasyland near the carrousel.
- Wendy will be joining Peter Pan once more in the new meet & greet location in Fantasyland
- Pooh and Tigger will leave the Toontown Train Station in Fantasyland and move to Town Square
- Chip and Dale are moving from Town Square to Tomorrowland
- Snow White is moving from Town Square to Cinderella’s Wishing Well
- Lotso from Toy Story 3 will be debuting at the Animation Building at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, replacing Carl, Russell and Dug from UP (they are expected to leave in April and may appear at the Animal Kingdom’s Oasis)
- Jojo and Goliath will no longer meet near Playhouse Disney Live. Jojo will remain at the Play’n'Dine meal where she’ll be joined by Handy Manny
- Piglet(!), Pooh and Stitch will join Donald, Daisy and Minnie at the Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the mornings. This will be the only current opportunity to meet Piglet outside of dining at Crystal Palace.
This information comes from a very reliable source in the way of WDW Character Hunt which also reports some upcoming buzz for the October changes:
- Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Disney’s Tangled will begin making appearances
- Belle’s Storytime will close (the show will return in some form in the Fantasy Forest expansion)
The site also reports that it’s basically a given that Phineas and Ferb will not be appearing in the parks until at least 2011.
We will report more news as it becomes available.
Bring home Ariel.. and Snow White.. and Cinderella with the Madame Alexander Disney Princess Tote. Available exclusively at FAO Schwarz, the Disney princessses-in-a-box is currently available for pre-order with an expected shipment date of November 25, just in time for the holidays and can be yours for $54.99
For more information and to order, click here.
Join Master Sculptor Hiko Maeda as he introduces an all new theme park exclusive Precious Moments sculpture for the holidays along with a brand new series of your favorite Disney Princesses celebrating the season in their own unique way.
On September 11, Hiko will be at Uptown Jewelers in the Magic Kingdom from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm and at the Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 3:00 – 5:00 pm.
On September 12, he will be at the Art of Disney in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm and from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
Initial pieces will feature an additional day of release stamp.
There is a limit of two (2) of each sculpture per guest. No personal items may be signed.
Guests who are unable to attend the event, but would like to purchase the sculptures associated with the event, a limited number of signed pieces will be available for pre-order. To pre-order, guests may call Walt Disney Event Services, Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at 407-827-7600.
Pre-order quantities are limited and only available while supplies last.