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The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure reviews

Theme Park Insider readers offer their ratings and reviews for The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, a dark ride in Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure.

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Written by
Theme Park Insider Editor
Posted: June 29, 2011

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure is a new dark ride that debuted at California Adventure officially on June 3, 2011. The old "Palace of Fine Arts" entryway to the now-gone Golden Dreams show remains, and will be part of The Little Mermaid building's facade. But once inside, this is a, well, "whole new world."

You'll travel "underwater" in clam-shell ride vehicles to visit Ariel's grotto, see Sebastien conduct a sea-creature orchestra and encounter Ursula's lair.

Readers' rating:

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45 votes, so far

I like the ride a lot. It's a fun, musical adventure. The emphasis is more on the music of the Little Mermaid than the plot, and as a result there isn't really a climax to the ride. But given it's emphasis on music, the ride is what a 21st century dark ride SHOULD be - stocked with animatronics, a sense of escape (the recent black light refurb to the Under the Sea scene made you feel like you were really under the Sea!), and great music. Since it has really high capacity, the lines are rarely long. - Jonathan Guire

The Little Mermaid movie was a lot of fun. But the attraction based on that movie is just okay. The ride itself is too short, the narrative is stilted, and while the animatronics may be superb, to me they just look a little bit creepy. Maybe the inclusion of another scene or two would really help things out, but as it is, I can see why some folks are disappointed in this attraction. The Little Mermaid is definitely not an E-Ticket, and probably not much more than a C-Ticket in my humble opinion. - James Rao

I just wish it included the crazy chief who wants to cook Sebastian. - Rob McCullough

Not especially amazing, but complements DCA very well and very fun. Something that was missing from the park on opening day. - E G

Mermaid is a good ride, but it should/could have been a great one. The main thing that's lacking is underwater effects; aside from the initial "plunge", you get very little feeling of being actually underwater. Also, the show-stopping "under the sea" segment is good, but is not as breathtaking as it could be -- it's also too brightly lit. The AAs are very good, but there are only a few true animatronics in the ride. As for the "story", this ride was meant as a showcase for the movie's musical numbers, so it doesn't bother me that it doesn't tell the full story. - Sylvain Comeau

This is a great dark ride, something that DCA was missing since the day it open. This attraction has great details, wonderful music and some nice animatronics. Due to its ride system it allows the attraction to take in many guest. This means that you're more likely to find short lines. I find this attraction to be a bit short, it's still an amazing & fun attraction for the whole family. - Erik Avila

It's okay at its best. I think the space isn't budgeted right, the story is way too glossed and the highlight is Ursula but you don't get to see her for too long. I hope the WDW version is better. - Skipper Adam

I was there for opening day and feel in love with the ride. The music, the colors, the overall feel of it is amazaing. This was a good addition to California Adventure. - Brett Angwin

This ride is amazing down to the last detail. The AAs are stunning, there are so many details, the omnimover system keeps lines short, the building is beautiful; everything about it is great. Though some complain of the rushed disjointed feel of this ride, they are missing the main story point. The ride begins with Scuttle the seagull telling you the story and getting lost and confused as he tells it... and the rest of the ride reflects this. He even appears at the end to wrap the story up. If one recalls the movie you'll remember how scuttle never quite gets everything right, so it makes sense that as he tells the story of Ariel that he'd get everything a little confused. - Victoria Jurkowski

The audio animatronics were great, especially Ursula. The only complaint I have is the story felt a little rushed. But it's still a great addition to the park. - Jeff Moon

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure is a nice addition to the park. It is a ride that gives a punch of traditional Disneyland flavour to the arguably less Disney-y CA Adventure Park. Although a traditional Disney dark ride, The Little Mermaid has all the little touches of newer technology. There are actually some real animatronic, even for Flaunder, a fish would usually be a generic motor-powered model, but in this case he actually dances along to the music. Ursula is also one of the biggest show stealer. She's the biggest character in size of the whole ride, and the texture of her skin is done to the smallest detail. On the other hand, Disney's little detail are sometimes just astonishing. When in the que line, they actually blend in seashells to the cement that paves the walk way. Although many may agree Little Mermaid is one of the best rides at DCA, as a Disney fan who's seen the ride simulation video that comes with the DVD I was a little disappointed how disjointed the story is on this ride. I came in expecting a dramatic defeat of Ursula, a opening set piece of the ship that got destroyed by lighting, which none of them appeared in this ride. However these little disappointment can't really diminish the overall quality of the attraction. So, 8 out of 10. Good job, Disney! Now I can't wait for Cars Land to open in 2012. - Jeremy Hu

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