- Now open: Read my review of the Little Mermaid ride.
Unlike its sister ride at Disney California Adventure (and not to be confused with the Voyage of The Little Mermaid stage show at Disney's Hollywood Studios), the New Fantasyland version of the attraction features a vastly different exterior featuring Prince Erik's castle and a lot of carved rock work. It also adds a cute interactive "scavenger hunt" experience in the queue. Guests can help crabs sort Ariel's underwater treasures by pointing at items on screens. An animatronic Scuttle the seagull shows off the booty in one of the pre-show scenes.
The ride itself is essentially the same as its left coast counterpart. It uses an Omnimover system (in which the vehicles move through the scenes on a never-ending conveyor belt) and "clammobile" cars that are similar to the ones found at Epcot's charming The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride. The attraction retells the fairy tale as depicted in Disney's classic animated film, albeit in a greatly condensed -- and somewhat abrupt -- form.
The dazzling animatronics include a diminutive Sebastian the Crab with tiny rear-projected eyes and an Ariel whose red 'do appears to bob and float under the sea. Speaking of "Under the Sea," the rollicking signature song sets the stage for one of the attraction's scenes. Another features an enormous Ursula the Sea Witch undulating to "Poor Unfortunate Souls."
A large red tent behind the ride, which marks the transition between Fantasyland Forest and Storybook Circus, includes a meet and greet area with Ariel. Photos, autographs, and even brief hugs are fine; attempts to go ahead and kiss the girl, however, would likely be met with rebuke.