VIDEO: Little Mermaid Ride at DCA Undergoes Overhaul, Is Magic Kingdom Next?

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After a couple weeks of refurbishment, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure attraction at Disney California Adventure quietly reopened a few days ago with several major changes and additions. This isn’t the first time the attraction has undergone changes since opening in 2011; in 2012 new hand-drawn animation sequences were added to the ride as a copy of the attraction was prepared for Walt Disney World. Now, as Shanghai Disneyland prepares to open their version of the Mermaid attraction, Walt Disney Imagineering has once again decided to make changes to what they felt were problem areas in this new-age dark ride:

For those unfamiliar with the attraction here’s what’s new:

  • A number of static fish figures were added surrounding the first screen with Ariel and as well in the tunnel heading towards the Under the Sea sequence.
  • A picture of King Triton’s Castle now adorns the small ocean scrim before the Under the Sea sequence.
  • The Under the Sea sequence received the most major changes as it now relies heavily on black light like a traditional Disney dark ride (for example, like Peter Pan’s Flight). This was done to make the scene darker and to hide the very visible lighting rigs that more frequent park visitors have complained about.
  • Several other scenes are now relying on black light as well, though it isn’t as noticeable as in Under the Sea. Again, this was to hide infrastructure visible to guests during the ride.

For those of you more interested with Walt Disney World happenings, we fully expect these changes to be made to Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid at the Magic Kingdom. When those changes might happen, well, we don’t know just yet…

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]


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  • I think this is a step backwards. Blacklight is so tacky. It feels like a 70s dorm room thing, not a high quality, disney attraction. I had no issues with ride previously and am disappointed to see the addition of blacklight.

    • I personally think it is tackier (is that even a word?) seeing lighting and electrical fixtures. I want to be immersed in a different world when I’m on a ride at Disney. The ride before brought me back to reality way too fast. I don’t mind it now.

  • Blacklight is “tacky”… works just fine for most other Disney darkrides, particularly the classics at Disneyland. Kind of what gives them their signature glow.

    If anything, this refurb brings this darkride more in line with the classic Disney style in most parks.

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