It feels like every day, something amazing has happened in Disney history! On June 2, 2011, The Little Mermaid - Ariel’s Undersea Adventure was ceremoniously unveiled at Disney California Adventure Park
Jodi Benson, the original Ariel from the animated film, sings in front of the Little Mermaid Ride for the opening ceremony. | © Disney
Until 2011, Disney Imagineers had been developing a Fantasyland-style dark ride for “The Little Mermaid” since the early 90s. Imagineer Tony Baxter, who worked on attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, designed a concept that was turned into a virtual ride through published on “The Little Mermaid” Platinum release. The ride would eventually inhabit the space previously home to the film “Golden Dreams,” featuring Whoopi Goldberg.
Little Mermaid - Undersea Adventure concept art | © Disney
Fun Facts about the Little Mermaid - Undersea Adventure!
During the ride, guests board colorful clam shells and move through scenes from the animated film.
The ride features 183 animatronics, including one eight-foot-tall Ursula.
Imagineers on the project described the Ariel animatronic as one of the most complicated they’ve ever built, due to her waif-like stature which didn’t allow much room for wiring.
Both Jodi Benson and Pat Carroll, the original voices of Ariel and Ursula, reprised their roles for the ride's musical sequences.
Guests would get a chance to be up close and personal to their favorite film scenes. | © Disney
The ride proved to be a hit, and a similar version of the ride would open in Florida’s Magic Kingdom. Make sure you check it out on your next Disney trip!