The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure opened to the public on June 3–and they were lined up waiting. It's been 22 years since Disney released the movie (can you believe that?), but from the masses of eager Disneyland guests who waited hours to ride in the little clam shells into Ariel's world, you would think The Little Mermaid was this week's blockbuster.
I suppose that's the magic of Disney movies–the songs, story and love is passed down from generation to generation, making them timeless.
Exploring Ariel's undersea world will take about 5-minute and the adventure begins with a dive into the water and through the bubbles, past a giggling Ariel who swims above you, and then the music starts–"I want to go where the people are…" The ride incorporates four of the remastered songs from the movie–Part of Your World, Under the Sea, Kiss the Girl, Poor Unfortunate Souls–along with an original soundtrack that's woven throughout and fits nicely with the songs we know and love.
To me, that's the clincher of the ride–the music. Though I enjoyed how colorful, vibrant and alive Ariel's underwater world felt, it's the music that tugged at my heart and endeared me once again to all the characters I knew from the movie. They're all there–Flounder, Prince Eric, Scuttle, Sebastian, and that witch Ursula and her cronies Flotsam & Jetsam–and they tell the story from beginning to end of our little redheaded mermaid Ariel–following closely the storyline of the movie.
Parents will be happy to hear that Ursula, though big and impressive, isn't too scary for the kids. Even the little ones who I interviewed as they came off the ride said they weren't afraid of her. Which is a relief since I have two kids who get frightened easily–sometimes even on Peter Pan. I feel confident to bring them on The Little Mermaid. The mood of the ride is light and festive and at five minutes long, it's going to leave the kids humming all the tunes and smiling from ear to ear.
Watch my video interviews with the Disney Imagineers who helped create the ride.
Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure isn't going to be Fasspassed, but the line moves pretty quickly. You can fit "as many people on a clam as is safe." So a family of four can ride together if they like. I like.
The Little Mermaid is located in Disney California Adventure next to Paradise Bay where the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts building used to be. The part of the structure still looks the same, though when you look further you'll see detailed reliefs of Ariel's sisters on the side along of the ride along with the statue of King Triton who was taken from his watery home in Fantasyland at Disneyland to now sit right atop his daughter's new ride. Very cool.
Browse all of my photos from Ariel's Undersea Adventure on my Flickr page, here.
The music of The Little Mermaid is beyond iconic and the voice behind that music is actress Jodi Benson. She performed at the opening ceremony and it was…magical, okay. It really was. Watch the video here provided by my friend and all-around good guy Mr. Daps, Opening Ceremony Ariel's Undersea Adventure.
After that ceremony a few bloggers were asked if we wanted to meet Jodi for a private Q & A upstairs at Wine Country Trattoria…and yes I wanted to meet her! She was gracious and friendly; just one of the gals. We talked at first about how perfect her dress was for the occasion and she told the story of finding it and how excited she was about it. She talked about her kids–9 and 12–and how they reacted to the first time they realized "Mommy was Ariel."
When she was asked about the ride, that she had only first seen that day, this is what she said: "Thinking about what Walt (Disney) wanted the theme parks to be and how he wanted them to bring so much joy to the kids, I'm beside myself thinking about that–about all the kids who are going to enjoy this ride."
As we continued to talk to her about her family, the experience of being Ariel and all of the things it has lead to in her career it hit me that she was just as excited as we were. That she was still thrilled and felt honored to be part of Disney and The Little Mermaid. It was so refreshing to hear someone who could be "over" the whole animated character thing or who might be jaded from the years of recognition, but she wasn't. She was obviously still stoked about being the voice of Ariel. It was fantastic to meet her.
At the last minute I pulled out my FLIP and recorded this question. I'm glad I did, you can see for yourself how humbled and honest she is: