The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Paradise Pier, Disney California Adventure

  • Land: Paradise Pier
  • Type: Fun for Everyone
WhereParadise Pier
ExperienceFun for Everyone
Duration6:15 minutes

Journey under the sea and become part of Ariel's world as one of the most beloved animated films of all time, The Little Mermaid, transforms into a brand-new, musical attraction for the whole family!

Once inside the elegant Victorian Exposition-style building, you'll marvel at an ornate 86-foot-long, hand-painted mural as you climb aboard a giant clam shell and slowly descend below the waves to an underwater world teeming with movement, color and magic. This elaborate "Omnimover"-style ride (like the classic Haunted Mansion) features high-energy songs, state-of-the-art Audio Animatronics characters and immersive special effects that transport you inside scenes from the animated classic.

On your voyage, you'll find an ocean of favorite characters from the film including Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian, Flounder, Scuttle and even the wicked sea witch Ursula-towering over you at 7.5-feet tall and 12-feet wide!

Ride Experience

At Disney California Adventure, the building is modelled after a 20th-century aquarium. The Palace of Fine Arts replica from Golden Dreams was redecorated. In the Magic Kingdom, the building will be featured in a recreation of Prince Eric's castle. Guests will enter through an underground cavern at low-tide before entering the load area. A statue of Ariel doing the famous pose in the reprise of Part of Your World will be featured, as well as Ariel's Grotto and a scavanger hunt with Scuttle.

The attraction is a dark ride, similar to Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventures and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, however, it features an Omnimover ride system like the ones currently in use at The Haunted Mansion and The Seas with Nemo & Friends. The ride transports guests under the sea and focuses on many of the major scenes and musical numbers from the movie. Guests ride in cars themed to resemble large seashells; two cars designed for use by wheelchair guests are themed to resemble Triton's chariot.

Characters include Ariel, Prince Eric, King Triton, Sebastian, Flounder, and Ursula. Scuttle narrates the story of Ariel's Undersea Adventure. The music has been composed by the original film's composer, Alan Menken. Jodi Benson confirmed in an interview in June 2010 that her voice will be included in the attraction.

The indoor queue of the attraction features a mural along the back wall of the loading area, featuring Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder, as well as many of the other characters from the film. At the loading area, guests board an Omnimover-style vehicle in the shape of a clamshell. After leaving the loading area, the clamshells proceed through a large opening of the broken hull of Prince Eric's ship.

The vehicles enter a shipwreck cove, A large opening in the wooden structure reveals Scuttle perched atop a set of rocks, the sun setting along the shoreline behind him. Scuttle, who is surrounded by some of the shipwreck's lost cargo, greets the guests and begins to tell them the story of Ariel and her dreams of trying to become a human. The clamshells begin to rotate backwards as they make their way out of the shipwreck's hull. The clamshells briefly travel along the shorelines of a beach, strewn with lost artifacts from the shipwreck.

With a splash, the clamshells proceed to travel underwater, utilizing an effect of a projected ocean wave passing over the clamshell in front of the rider, to simulate the feeling of traveling under the ocean. While the clamshells travel along the curve of the underwater passage, they take a slight descent to further simulate the illusion of traveling under the sea. After passing under the ocean wave, projected bubbles and waves cover the rocky walls of the underwater passage, as seaweed and coral come into view. The "Fathoms Below" score from the movie is heard as the descent continues. The clamshells pass under an opening in the passage, revealing an image of Ariel and Flounder staring at the ocean's surface.

The underwater passage opens to reveal Ariel in her grotto, surrounded by all of the treasures that she has collected from the human world. Throughout the scene, Ariel sings "Part of Your World", while holding a chest filled with many of her gadgets and gizmos. The scene features a completely animated Audio-Animatronic of Ariel that has animated fins, hair and facial expressions. Next to Ariel, Flounder floats along the walls of the grotto. A statue of Prince Eric is located in the corner of the grotto, implying that the scene takes place after Ariel had saved Prince Eric from the wreckage of his ship. Throughout the scene, Sebastian occasionally appears, secretly spying on Ariel by popping up behind a treasure box or by appearing behind a magnifying glass in some instances.

The clamshells leave the grotto and proceed through an underwater passage, where Sebastian tells Ariel about the wonders of being under the sea. The scene opens up to a large undersea garden, where the undersea life join in singing "Under the Sea". Sebastian conducts the number from a clamshell overlooking the garden. Many of the creatures seen in the attraction are also found in the film, such as a spinning octopus, a dancing turtle, a group of lobsters, twirling starfish, a huge blowfish, amongst many other sea creatures playing instruments and singing along. The vehicles encircle the scene, passing by Ariel, who is dancing to the music.

The celebration fades as the clamshells pass into a dark canyon, filled with smoking geysers. The canyon leads into the mouth of a giant sea dragon, the entrance into Ursula's Lair. Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula's pet eels, welcome the clamshells into the sea witch's lair, exclaiming that they told Ariel that Ursula would help her in reaching her dreams of becoming a human. The clamshells enter Ursula's lair, as the sea witch stands before her cauldron, singing "Poor, Unfortunate Souls". In a misty orb floating above the cauldron, images of Ariel nurturing Eric and signing Ursula's contract appear from within, as Ursula continues to sing. Ariel has made her agreement to give her voice to Ursula in exchange for legs. The clamshells proceed past the sea witch and encounter walls adorned with many of the lost souls that Ursula had collected. The bright yellow eyes of the lost souls glow brightly in the passage. The clamshells proceed through a cavernous passage adorned with lost souls, leading past an image of Ariel with a swirling vortex around her, revealing her new legs.

The clamshells slightly ascend through a rocky chamber, as projected bubbles cover the walls, simulating the illusion of rising above the ocean's surface. The clamshells then proceed to enter a tranquil, romantic lagoon, as a human Ariel and Eric are seen floating in a boat along the lagoon's surface. Sebastian sings "Kiss the Girl", as Flounder and other fishes encircle the boat, fountains of water rising out of their mouths. Low, dangling moss is suspended over the lagoon. Fireflies twinkle throughout the scene, as the moon brightly shines on the scene from the distance. Throughout the scene, Eric and Ariel lean in to kiss each other, only to have Eric back away sheepishly, leaving Ariel disappointed.

After leaving the lagoon, the clamshells pass before the silhouette of a giant Ursula, who is seen in the distant ocean. Smoke arises around the sea witch, as her plans to rule the ocean went askew and she has been defeated. Next to the silhouette of the sea witch, the clamshells pass in front of a doorway to Prince Eric's castle. Seen within the doorway of the castle, a silhouette of Ariel and Eric are seen kissing. A golden orb glows from within Ariel's neck, signifying that she has regained her voice. The orb proceeds to encircle the two, creating a heart shape as Ariel and Eric kiss.

The clamshells proceed into the final scene of the attraction, where the kingdom celebrates the wedding of Ariel and Eric. Several sea creatures, Ariel's father and the king of the sea, King Triton, Sebastian and Flounder are seen in the ocean celebrating, as a married Ariel and Eric wave goodbye from a gazebo on the ocean's edge. Prince Eric's castle lies just in the distance. Fireworks explode in the sky above the scene. As the clamshells proceed back into the load/unload area, Scuttle closes off the attraction by exclaiming that Ariel had received her dream and all worked out in the end. The clamshells arrive back in the load/unload area where the guests exit the clamshells and proceed out of the attraction building.

Touring Tips

  • The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure is located at the entrance to Paradise Pier. The building is an attraction in itself, inspired by the Victorian Exposition style found in seaside amusement parks in the early 20th century. Atop the building is a statue of King Triton, with relief carvings of Ariel's sisters decorating the archway.
  • Ariel's Undersea Adventure does not have Fastpass, but it is a high-capacity, continuously loading attraction, and the line moves steadily.
  • here is no height requirement to ride, and the attraction is appropriate for children of all ages. Ursula's Lair is the only dark scene, but most children seem to find her more comical than scary.
  • Those in wheelchairs or ECVs should proceed through the regular queue. There are two wheelchair-accessible vehicles ("King Triton's Chariots") available to guests. Wheelchairs can be pushed into these from the loading ramp, usually without slowing down the attraction at all. Those using ECVs must transfer to a wheelchair before boarding.
  • Ariel greets guests dining at the nearby Ariel's Grotto restaurant during breakfast and lunch. Check the Daily Times guide for other character Meet and Greet opportunities.
  • Ariel also stars in the new Mickey's Soundsational Parade at Disneyland Park. Plus, at Disney California Adventure Park, be sure to stop by Ariel's Grotto to meet Ariel and some of your other favorite Disney Princesses. Afterwards, take a spin with a colorful menagerie of sea creatures on King Triton's Carousel, named after Ariel's father!


  • The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure officially opened on June 3, 2011.
  • The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure is only the latest of many additions to Disney California Adventure Park. Even more Disney magic is on the way! Find out about the exciting transformation of Disney California Adventure Park.
  • The Golden Dreams attraction, which closed on September 7, 2008, was originally located on the site now occupied by Little Mermaid. Its entrance rotunda, a replica of San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, became the entrance for the new attraction.
  • In addition to the astounding sights, your journey will have you singing along with the unforgettable songs from the film, including "Part of Your World," "Under the Sea," "Poor Unfortunate Souls" and "Kiss the Girl".
  • There are 184 animatronic figures in the attraction, 128 of which are in the "Under the Sea" scene. 50 of those are spinning starfish.
  • Above the loading area is an 86-foot hand-painted mural depicting characters from the movie.
  • The characters in the attraction that speak, like Scuttle and Flotsam and Jetsam have a couple minutes of dialog, so repeat visitors might hear them say different things.
  • Ursula is the largest audio-animatronic figure in the show at 7-1/2-feet tall and 12-feet wide. She also has a unique squash-and-stretch function in her torso and is made of flexible materials so she can bounce along with the music.
  • The Omnimover ride system was developed by Disney Imagineers in the 1960s and used for Adventure Through Inner Space as well as the Haunted Mansion.
  • Each scene of the attraction was first built as a one-quarter-inch scale model and then as a one-inch scale model, so Imagineers could "ride" through the attraction scene-by-scene before full construction began.


A dark ride featuring The Little Mermaid was supposed to open at Disneyland Paris and Magic Kingdom parks in the early to mid 90's. Early plans for Hong Kong Disneyland also included this ride. The ride was scrapped, but a visual idea was included on the Platinum Edition DVD of The Little Mermaid in 2006.

A different version opened on June 3, 2011 at Disney California Adventure Park. The ride building takes up the space of the theater that played host to the Golden Dreams movie hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. The theater itself has been torn down. The restrooms by Golden Dreams have been relocated across the way in the San Francisco buildings. The previous area they occupied has been torn down and is taken up by part of the show building. In September 2009, Disney officials announced that Mickey's Toontown Fair at the Magic Kingdom would be demolished, leaving Goofy's Barnstormer to be rethemed to The Great Goofini. This will give more room to Fantasyland, which will be filled with this ride and meet-and-greets with the Disney Princesses and a larger Dumbo area.

Hidden Mickeys

  • There is a Hidden Mickey at the end of the Little Mermaid mural, found in the Ariel's Undersea Adventure loading area.
  • As Ariel and Eric share a romantic rowboat ride, a pair of frogs swim in the foreground. The dark green warts on the frogs create oblong Hidden Mickeys on their backs.