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
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.
Waking Sleeping Beauty, directed by Disney film producer Don Hahn and co-produced by Hahn and Peter Schneider, is an upcoming documentary that goes behind the scenes of the rebirth of Disney Animation with films such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.
Walt Disney Studios has provided us with these stills from the film which capture the essence of what went in to creating a series of films that defined an entire generation of new fans of Disney animation.
Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version or click on the PicLens link to start the slideshow.
It’s being widely reported that Disney Theatrical has opted to close the show with August 30 being the final performance after an almost two year run in an effort to avoid losses during the ‘slowdown season.’ Tickets for performances sold beyond August 30 are eligible for a refund.
Sierra Boggess, who originated the role of Ariel, has recently left the show after extending her intial performances.
It is expected that there will be a touring production of the musical commencing late 2010.
On Tuesday, June 9, Disney Theatrical will make a compilation of 19 tracks from the original cast recordings of all of its Broadway shows from the past fifteen years. That’s music from Beauty and the Beast, Aida, the Lion King, Tarzan, Mary Poppins and the Little Mermaid.
In addition, iTunes will have exclusive bonuses available such as a previously unreleased version of ‘Feed the Birds’ as performed by Ashley Brown, who originated the role of Mary Poppins. iTunes will also offer a video clip of a performance of ‘Step in Time’ from the show itself.
The album will be available in downloadable form only from various e-tailers.
That is all, thank you.
Cast members from Disney Theatrical’s The Little Mermaid will offer a discussion and performance at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes and Noble (1972 Broadway) in New York City on May 7 at 4 pm. The appearance also features a book signing by Michael Lassell, author of the behind-the-scenes book ‘Little Mermaid: From the Deep Blue Sea to the Great White Way.’
Disney Theatrical Productions is celebrating 15 years on Broadway by offering “$15 FOR 15″ – 15 days to purchase companion tickets for THE LITTLE MERMAID, Mary Poppins or THE LION KING for $15. Beginning at noon this Sunday, April 5 until 11:59 PM on Sunday April 19, theatre-goers will have the opportunity to buy a $15 companion ticket for all three popular Disney on Broadway shows with the purchase of a regular priced ticket to more than 125 performances throughout the spring.
“When I look back on our 15 year history, one achievement that continues to be a great source of pride is our ability to bring first-time theatre goers to Broadway,” said Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Productions. “We’ve helped instill a love of theatre in adults and children alike, and being able to broaden that reach with an opportunity like this is profoundly gratifying.”
A Class Act NY will be hosting a special class for children ages 7-16 in Manhattan on April 5. Instructors will be Sierra Boggess (who portrays Ariel in the Broadway production) and a casting director from Tara Rubin Casting, who cast the show. Registration, which can be done on A Class Act NY’s website, is $150. Read more…