José María Sandoval

Published: June 2, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Great note, just in time
Albino Pygmy

Published: June 2, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Looks like a really well themed dark ride, however as you have mentioned Robert, it is missing a huge chunk of the story. I was hoping they'd follow the scenes as featured in the older animated version of this dark ride, (the one where the vehicles were suspended.) In that version, they had Ursula as her giant scary self and a couple tiny ships around her surrounded by thunderclouds. I was sooo looking forward to seeing that, and then have that "wow" moment where you came to save the day and everything's back to normal. With just having a little silhouette of the sea witch doesn't help build up to that "wow" moment in the ride, and the whole thing just seems like a party under the sea. I love the bit in the beginning about how "this is a story about legs." I wonder how long that'll stay there without someone complaining about how that's inappropriate. Overall, I like the addition of a brand new dark ride. I'd love to see them tackle Sleeping Beauty next so we can see Maleficent as a giant fire-breathing dragon!
Daniel Etcheberry

Published: June 2, 2011 at 6:38 PM

It looks great. The projection of water on the back of the clamshells vehicles is pure magic. The "Under the Sea" scene captures perfectly the movie's energetic set piece (I always loved that song). On the other hand, you are right Robert about the plot hole; it looks awkward to see Ursula give something precious to the mermaid without asking anything in return. Maybe they didn't have more space to add the missing parts.

I will have to wait until 2012 or 2013 to experience the ride. The facade that Disney will build in Magic Kingdom looks more impressive though.

Your video stopped before the ride ended. What happened? Was your camera what Ursula wanted in return?

Jeffrey H

Published: June 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM

The ride looks like a lot of fun, but I kind of think they went and blew 90% of the budget on the "Under the Sea" segment. I am duly impressed with the detail and craftsmanship, but I assumed it would be fairly close to the "virtual ride-through" video from the Little Mermaid DVD. I was really looking forward to an epically huge Ursula getting rammed by a boat. They probably skipped it to avoid scaring small children.
Rod Whitenack

Published: June 3, 2011 at 8:12 AM

What's there is an amazing achievement; a classic Disney style darkride updated with the latest technology in video and animatronics. Everything really looks like it's floating. The lights and colors are fantastic, and as someone else commented above, I love how they use lights projected on the clam in front of you as part of the experience.

However, Disney has always been best known for its storytelling, and in that department they really dropped the ball. The ride is a wonderful visual experience, but the story still needs to make sense, and here it seems like they ran out money in the third act. What's the point of even introducing Ursula if your not going to bother following the conflict of the story? The ride seems to be missing a couple of scenes that would complete the story, and as it is, the story HAS NO CLIMAX. It just has a pat resolution that makes no sense. I agree with everyone that the ride needs one more big scene to match the big "Under the Sea" scene with a big storm at sea as the heroes face a giant Ursula before transitioning to the big happy ending.

This is a great technological achievement with color and fancy for the kids and the kids at heart, but it fails as a complete story.

Sylvain Comeau

Published: June 3, 2011 at 12:41 PM

From the start, Disney has stated that the ride is a showcase for the music of the movie; it's not intended to retell the story.
Rod Whitenack

Published: June 3, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Well, it certainly does tell the story, in chronological order, right up until Act III when it skips the point, conflict, moral and lesson of the entire story and jumps right to the end. If it was only supposed to focus on the music, it might have included "Fathoms Below" at the beginning. I know not every darkride tells a complete story. The Haunted Mansion doesn't. Pirates doesn't. This is based on a film that has a story, however, like "Peter Pan" which tells the story of the entire film in a minute and a half. "The Cat in the Hat" at Universal does an amazing job of playing out the entire children's book. As an ex-English major and lover of storytelling, this just befuddles me. Robert's comments are right on target. You'd think this would have come up in story and planning meetings.
Terri Pierce

Published: June 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Does anyone know how similar the one in WDW is supposed to be? Most rides are slightly different but I feel as though since they're making them around the same exact time and with the major overhaul of fantasyland they may make it identical? Not that that is an issue, just curious.
Joshua Counsil

Published: June 3, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Regarding the plot, this feels like a "Greatest Hits Album" equivalent of The Little Mermaid, i.e., you get everything it's famous for, but not its heart.

Regarding the look, I didn't find it impressive. Ursula's animatronic is excellent, but even the dated Pirates of the Caribbean have a broader range of movements. Perhaps it's because they allow you to get too close to the animatronics, revealing too much detail. Then again, I'm sure the video doesn't do it justice.

Regarding the above comments, I completely agree that they should have included Ursula's epic battle with the ship. That scene in the movie still gets me fired up.

Published: June 4, 2011 at 8:48 AM

I just saw footage of this ride today and think certain aspects are real achievements but other things are somehow poor.

General theming and musical scoring are excellent.

The pacing of the piece is a little odd throughout, but not least with the last appearance of ursula.

People say that 'Under the Sea' is alive with movement but I feel the somewhat simple movements some of the animals make is pretty dated and basic - like 4 lobsters all moving on the same mechanism and as a result looking mechanical. I would forgive this more if they didn't then use identical versions of these creatures in the final scene.

Finally, I know it it a high art, but I don't think Ariel looks much like Ariel, rather a toy of Ariel. Her hair in the Under the Sea scene seems misjudged. And Eric is arguably the most handsome of all Disney princes but this doesn't translate well in this ride.

Sorry it sounds negative, but children are more perceptive that we think and they know when something they are seeing doesn't quite match the image they have in their heads.

Nick M, UK

Blake Nieman

Published: June 4, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Completely agree with Robert's comments on the story (or lack thereof...). It seems very un-Disney to stop short of telling the complete story.

On a different note, why does King Triton only make an appearance at the end? This would have to be chalked up to the lack of a climax as well, IMO. And is it just me, or does Triton's beard look really out of place? Like they tried to make him look more realistic than any other character. From what I can tell in the video, it looks like they used real "hair" for his hair and beard as opposed to Ariel and Eric's cartoony, plastic hair (which fits the theme better). To me, Triton looks like Harry from "Harry and the Hendersons"...just real goofy looking.

It seems like I'm complaining. Overall, it seems like a great ride--great energy, state of the art technology, and everything in between. Just seems like with all that effort, they would have patched up the holes in the story.