We're going under the sea, down where it's better and wetter! This secret history of Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid covers some of your favorite songs, characters and scenes from Disney's "The Little Mermaid." Did you know Disney originally planned on opening a dark ride based on this film back in the 90s? We'll discuss this and more, so hop on your clamshell and get ready for a voyage under the sea!
The Secret History of Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
Back to this dark ride plan for the 90s: The ride was to be based on "The Little Mermaid" and open at Disneyland Paris and Magic Kingdom! Imagineer Tony Baxter was head of this design and had plans to feature a ride system similar to Peter Pan's Flight. However, obviously the dark ride never opened and instead later down the road, plans were put into place for Disney California Adventure Park.
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure opened at the park on June 3, 2011, in the Golden Dreams theater. The theater was completely torn down and renovated in order to host the new dark ride! Before the California version opened, Disney announced that Fantasyland area in Magic Kingdom Park was going to be completely expanded; in this expansion, a ride based on "The Little Mermaid" was planned, as well!
Disney Imagineers designed and created models of the attraction before actually building the dark ride. They started small with a one-quarter inch model, then built a one-inch scale model to include more details! Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid opened on December 6, 2012, at Magic Kingdom and is very similar to California's version.
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid Fun Facts
- Tokyo DisneySea and Hong Kong Disneyland were also rumored to have a ride based on "The Little Mermaid" back in the 90s!
- You can see Tony Baxter's concept of the original unbuilt attraction in the Platinum Edition of "The Little Mermaid."
- Magic Kingdom's version actually sits atop the original site of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction!
- The animatronic Ursula is gigantic! She's a whopping 12 feet wide and 7.5 feet tall.
- There are a TON of characters on this ride, around 183 of them! Most of these are featured in the "Under the Sea" scene.
- Imagineers had to put a lot of thought into the way Ursula's, Ariel's and King Triton's skin would look. They had to create special skin technology in order for them to look more realistic!
Did this secret history leave you with the desire to re-watch "The Little Mermaid?" Lily is watching it now, as we speak! Let us know your questions or thoughts in the comments below and don't forget to check out our Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid wait times and more!