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Your Disney Vacation Specialist
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Magic Monday: Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

Under the Sea clammobiles

Board a clammobile for a journey under the sea – this time with Ariel and friends

On our recent trip to Disney World we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the new Fantasyland before the grand opening last week. One of the highlights of the new Fantasyland is a ride inside Prince Eric’s castle that takes you through the story of The Little Mermaid. Aptly named, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, this new attraction will delight the entire family. You approach the queue and notice that there has been a shipwreck.

The queue is spectacular! To me it is reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean in the details and truly setting the story of the ride. You will wind your way through the wreckage and find a mischievous crab that plays interactive games with guests as you pass by.  Once you enter the building you will be greeted by an audio-animatronic Scuttle who finishes up the game that you started playing earlier in the queue with your friendly crab. Once you exit the Scuttle room, the queue is still very well themed and decorated but there are no longer games and characters to entertain your group. Since we had gone during a soft opening the crowd levels were very manageable. Disney anticipates this will be a VERY popular ride and the size of the queue reflects this. There were entire queue rooms that were roped off when we went through, but I imagine if the full queue is open it could take quite a while to get through the whole thing.

 

Under the Sea in Under the Sea

Sebastian leads all the fish in a fantastic version of The Little Mermaid classic

Once you get to the front of the line you will step onto a moving walkway and board your clammobile (much like the ones that Nemo and friends have over at Epcot). The ride uses a combination of video screens and audio-animatronics. You will travel through scenes from the movie, but first you have to travel “under the sea”. Through a combination of video and sound effects, it appears as if you are traveling under the water. To be honest, I am not sure how they do it, to say it is a video effect that shows water bubbling up does not do it justice. This was the first moment that elicited an “oooh” from the whole family! The Under the Sea number featuring Sebastian and all of his friends is a show-stopper! The music you love to sing along to, the bright colors, the amazing audio-animatronics will have you smiling from beginning to end. And of course no trip under the sea would be complete without a visit from the resident sea witch, Ursula. And the Ursula on this ride is no small little cut-out. She is truly larger than life and definitely adds a sense of foreboding to this otherwise bright ride. The ride then takes you through the famous “Kiss the Girl” scene and what would a Disney fairytale ride be without a Happily Ever After to end it?

Ursula the Sea Witch

Ursula is larger than life in Under the Sea

All in all, this is a very cute ride and definitely worth a trip to the new Fantasyland. I can’t say it didn’t have its flaws though. One of the major issues I had with the ride is that if you are not familiar with the story, don’t expect to gleam many of the details from the ride. This ride gets its wow from the familiar songs and characters. And while it does follow the path of the story told in the movie, the fact that Ariel loses her voice is omitted (except for the line in Kiss the Girl). And while you can’t expect the whole movie to be portrayed, it did seem to me that there were some key plot points left out.

Kiss the Girl

Prince Eric and Ariel in the iconic Kiss the Girl scene as it is recreated in Under the Sea

Our ride was during the soft opening, so I am hoping that some of the issues that we encountered during our ride have been fixed. There were only two that come to mind. The first is that every garbage can in the queue was overfilled with trash; to the point of overflowing onto the walkway of the queue. I am hoping that this was just a staffing issue on the day that we were there. This is not indicative of most areas of the parks and I was quite disturbed to see a brand new (not even technically open yet) attraction covered in trash. And for those of us that had a drink in hand when we entered the queue, it left us with the sticky situation of what to do with our trash! The other issue that we noted occurred in the clammobile in front of us. The clammobiles are supposed to turn to face the scenes. This one particular clammobile was stuck in a straightforward position so the family riding in it didn’t get to see any of the ride. While it was only one clammobile (and the family was immediately reboarded, into our clammobile as we exited) it must have been a disappointment on the brand new ride. Hopefully it was just a kink in getting everything working.

Stop by the new Fantasyland and take a spin under the sea – it is well worth the visit!

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One Comment

  1. This is such a wonderful ride and you did a great job of describing it for others who have not gone

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