The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure.
The ride transports guests under the sea and focuses on many of the major scenes and musical numbers from the movie. Guests ride in cars themed to resemble large clam-shells while two cars designed for use by wheelchair guests are themed to resemble Triton’s chariot.
Characters include Ariel, Prince Eric, King Triton, Sebastian, Flounder, and Ursula. Scuttle narrates the story of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. The music has been composed by the original film’s composer, Alan Menken.
The indoor queue of the attraction features a mural along the back wall of the loading area, featuring Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder, as well as many of the other characters from the film. At the loading area, guests board an Omnimover-style vehicle in the shape of a clam-shell. After leaving the loading area, your clam-shells proceed through a large opening of the broken hull of Prince Eric’s ship.
The vehicles enter the shipwreck where a large opening in the wooden structure reveals Scuttle perched atop a set of rocks, the sun setting along the shoreline behind him. Scuttle, who is surrounded by some of the shipwreck’s lost cargo, greets the guests and begins to tell them the story of Ariel and her dreams of trying to become a human. Your clam-shells begin to rotate backwards as they make their way out of the shipwreck’s hull. then your clam-shells briefly travel along the shorelines of a beach, strewn with lost artifacts from the shipwreck.
With a splash, your clam-shells proceed to travel underwater, utilizing an effect of a projected ocean wave passing over your clam-shell in front of the rider to simulate the feeling of traveling under the ocean. While your clam-shells travel along the curve of the underwater passage, they take a slight descent to further simulate the illusion of traveling under the sea. After passing under the ocean wave, projected bubbles and waves cover the rocky walls of the underwater passage as seaweed and coral come into view. The “Fathoms Below” score from the movie is heard as the descent continues. Then your clam-shells pass under an opening in the passage, revealing an image of Ariel and Flounder near the ocean’s surface.
The underwater passage opens to reveal Ariel in her grotto, surrounded by all of the treasures that she has collected from the human world. Throughout the scene, Ariel sings “Part of Your World” while holding a chest filled with many of her gadgets and gizmos. The scene features a completely animated Audio-Animatronic of Ariel that has animated fins, hair and facial expressions. Next to Ariel, Flounder floats along the walls of the grotto. A statue of Prince Eric is located in the corner of the grotto, implying that the scene takes place after Ariel had saved Prince Eric from the wreckage of his ship. Throughout the scene, Sebastian occasionally appears, secretly spying on Ariel by popping up behind a treasure box or by appearing behind a magnifying glass in some instances. The ride went through a change last year, as Ariel’s underwater hair went from an ice-cream look to a more natural look.
Next your clam-shells leave the grotto and proceed through an underwater passage where Sebastian tells Ariel about the wonders of being under the sea. The scene opens up to a large undersea garden where the undersea life join in singing “Under the Sea”. Sebastian conducts the number from a clam-shell overlooking the garden. Many of the creatures seen in the attraction are also found in the film, such as a spinning octopus, a dancing turtle, a group of lobsters, twirling starfish, and a huge blowfish, amongst many other sea creatures playing instruments and singing along. The vehicles encircle the scene, passing by Ariel who is dancing to the music.
The celebration fades as your clam-shells pass into a dark canyon filled with smoking geysers. The canyon leads into the mouth of a skeleton of a giant sea dragon, the entrance to Ursula’s lair. Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula’s pet eels, welcome you into the sea witch’s lair, exclaiming that they told Ariel that Ursula would help her in reaching her dreams of becoming a human. Your clam-shells then enter Ursula’s lair as the sea witch stands before her cauldron, singing “Poor, Unfortunate Souls”. In a misty orb floating above the cauldron, images of Ariel nurturing Eric and signing Ursula’s contract appear from within, as Ursula continues to sing. Ariel has made her agreement to give her voice to Ursula in exchange for legs. You then proceed past the sea witch and encounter walls adorned with many of the lost souls that Ursula has collected. The bright yellow eyes of the lost souls glow brightly in the passage. Then your clam-shells proceed through a cavernous passage adorned with lost souls, leading past an image of Ariel with a swirling vortex around her, revealing her new legs.
Your clam-shells slightly ascend through a rocky chamber as projected bubbles cover the walls, simulating the illusion of rising above the ocean’s surface. You then proceed to enter a tranquil, romantic lagoon, as a human Ariel and Eric are seen floating in a boat along the lagoon’s surface. Sebastian sings “Kiss the Girl” as Flounder and other fishes encircle the boat, fountains of water rising out of their mouths. Low, dangling moss is suspended over the lagoon. Fireflies twinkle throughout the scene as the moon brightly shines on the scene from the distance. Throughout the scene, Eric and Ariel lean in to kiss each other, only to have Eric back away sheepishly, leaving Ariel disappointed.
After leaving the lagoon, your clam-shells pass before the silhouette of a giant Ursula who is seen in the distant ocean. Smoke rises around the sea witch as her plans to rule the ocean went askew and she has been defeated. Next to the silhouette of the sea witch, you pass in front of a doorway to Prince Eric’s castle. Seen within the doorway of the castle, a silhouette of Ariel and Eric are seen kissing. A golden orb glows from within Ariel’s neck, signifying that she has regained her voice. The orb proceeds to encircle the two, creating a heart shape as Ariel and Eric kiss.
Then your clam-shells proceed into the final scene of the attraction, where the kingdom celebrates the wedding of Ariel and Eric. Several sea creatures, Ariel’s father and the king of the sea, King Triton, Sebastian, and Flounder are seen in the ocean celebrating as a married Ariel and Eric wave good-bye from a gazebo on the ocean’s edge. Prince Eric’s castle lies just in the distance. Fireworks explode in the sky above the scene. As your clam-shells proceed back into the load/unload area, Scuttle closes off the attraction by exclaiming that Ariel had received her dream and all worked out in the end. Your clam-shells arrive back in the load/unload area where the guests exit the clam-shells and proceed out of the attraction building.
This is the full ride-through!