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Robert Niles

Attraction of the Week: Tokyo DisneySea's Mermaid Lagoon Theater

Published: January 27, 2013 at 11:51 PM

You can find live musical shows in most any theme or amusement park. Local kids sing a few show tunes, usually in old timey costumes, and draw some visitors away from the ride queues in the heat of the afternoon. But when Disney started taking shows to Broadway in the 1990s, it elevated its theme park entertainment as well, bringing Broadway-style staging to its in-park shows.

The Mermaid Lagoon Theater's "Under the Sea" at Tokyo DisneySea provides one stunning example of the heights to which theme park shows can soar. Literally. In this 14-minute performance inside Triton's Kingdom, Ariel gets aerial as the characters from Disney's The Little Mermaid "swim" in the air above the stage, thanks to acrobatic harnesses and a lot of creative staging.

Mermaid Lagoon Theater

Here's a promotional clip from Tokyo Disney that gives you a taste of what happens:

Fans have uploaded a few longer clips from the show, as well:

Disney's use of three-dimensional space here reminds me a bit of its staging in the Finding Nemo show at Disney's Animal Kingdom as well as the aerial work in Aladdin at Disney California Adventure.

Disney's tried several times to bring The Little Mermaid to its theme parks, with a show at Disney's Hollywood Studios and the new dark ride at California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom joining this effort. But I believe that the aerial acrobatics here come closest to matching the dynamics of swimming in Ariel's undersea world. In the Hollywood Studios show, you never lose the sense that you're sitting in a theater, watching a stage. But in Tokyo, you really can believe, at least for a moment, that you finally have found your way "under the sea."

Replies (4)

Json Son

Published: January 28, 2013 at 3:24 AM

Amazing. I knew this existed, but thought it was just like the DHS version.

Published: January 28, 2013 at 9:31 AM

I loved this area of DisneySea. Sure, it consists of some flat rides and another version of the Gadget Go-Coaster. But the theming is just spectacular. There's also a great walk-through portion in there with interactive elements. I miss Tokyo.
James Trexen

Published: January 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Looks neat. I just worked the Disney on Ice show this weekend in Chicago and the acrobatics reminded me of a scene where Ariel does the same.

Published: January 28, 2013 at 10:23 AM

I would have paid to go see this. The Broadway version was horrible!

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