Sign in or Join the Community!

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Theme Park Insider Reader Rating: 7 out of 10

Track Ride

Robert Niles

See all photos | Submit Photo

Published: February 17, 2015

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.

Juan Hamilton
It's a decent dark ride. The animatronics are great, the songs are fun, and the sets are amazing. However, it doesn't have any conflict. According to this ride, the plot of The Little Mermaid is "Ariel want to be human, so she makes a deal with Ursula. This deal states that Ariel can become human if she kisses someone. Then she kisses someone and she becomes a human". So yeah, the story is very weak, however it makes up for it (but not entirely) with great special effects.
David Matecki
One of the best dark rides in both parks. One of my sons favorites as well. Fast loading as well.
Jonathan Guire
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.
James Rao
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.
Rob McCullough
I just wish it included the crazy chief who wants to cook Sebastian.
Not especially amazing, but complements DCA very well and very fun. Something that was missing from the park on opening day.
Sylvain Comeau
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.

Erik Avila
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.
Skipper Adam
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.
Brett Angwin
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.
Victoria Jurkowski
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.

Register and log in to leave a comment, too!

More attraction and restaurant ratings:

Most Popular U.S. Theme Parks

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Hollywood

Popular International Parks

Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo DisneySea
Disneyland Paris
Universal Studios Japan
Hong Kong Disneyland
Europa Park
Walt Disney Studios Paris
Universal Studios Singapore

Features, News and Advice

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Theme Park Insider Awards
What's Under Construction for 2015/6?
How to Stay Safe at a Theme Park

Books and Shirts

Theme Park Insider Visits Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Theme Park Insider Visits The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Stories from a Theme Park Insider Get Theme Park Insider Shirts and Hoodies


2015 · 2014 · 2013 · 2012 · 2011 · 2010 · 2009 · 2008 · 2007 · 2006 · 2005 (Dec 27-31) · 2005 (Jan-Dec 26) · 2004