Ariel's Undersea Adventure is based on the beloved animated film The Little Mermaid, about a lovely mermaid who longs to become human.
The ride vehicles look like colorful versions of the clamshell style used in the Haunted Mansion, but the story is all Ariel's, told through colorful scenes from the film.
It's shown in three acts, starting with Ariel's world and moves through that magical first glance with handsome Prince Eric and on to their wedding celebration. All the expected characters are there: Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian, Flounder, and King Triton. One of its most impressive bits is the animatronic sea witch Ursula, who is more than 7 feet tall and 12 feet wide. She not only moves realistically but squishes and bulges as she sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls” with a mixture of both menace and wit. In spite of the menace part, most kids find her comical and not scary.
What You Need to Know about Ariel's Undersea Adventure
- Location: Pixar Pier
- Rating: ★★★
- Restrictions: None
- Ride Time: 6 minutes
- Recommended for: Everyone, but especially if you're a fan of the film.
- Fun Factor: Moderate. Greater if you like the film.
- Wait Factor: Medium to low. At the busiest times, you can expect to wait 15 minutes or so. Try to avoid the time right after the parade or just before World of Color, when more people are in the area.
- Fear Factor: Low, unless you're scared of a giant-sized Ursula
- Herky-Jerky Factor: Low
- Nausea Factor: Low
- Seating: Ride vehicles look like sea shells. They are attached to a moving sidewalk. You step onto the sidewalk and then take a small step up to get in. Seating is bench style, and each one can hold 2-3 adults or 2 adults and 2 small children
- Accessibility: Ariel's Undersea Adventure is wheelchair and ECV accessible, but you'll have to transfer to the ride vehicle. Hearing disability services are also available. More about visiting Disneyland in a wheelchair or ECV
How to Have More Fun on Ariel's Undersea Adventure
- Rider swap is available for Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Designed for adults accompanying children who don't ride to wait with them while the first adult rides, then get on right away when that adult returns.
- Ariel's Adventure is a great place to go cool off on a hot day, even if you're not a big fan of the film. Moms with toddlers say their kids love all the colorful scenes, too.
- The ride has more than 180 animatronic figures, and most of them are in the "Under the Sea" scene, which makes it extremely lively and entertaining.
- You'll have to be a long-time film buff to notice this, but there's a Warner Bros character in this Disney ride. The cartoon character Mr. Limpet, who was voiced by actor Don Knotts in the 1964 Warner Bros. film shows up just to the right of Ariel in the opening scene. You'll see him in the grass. As it turns out, Mr. Limpet also showed up in a crowd scene in the 1989 version of the Little Mermaid film.
More About California Adventure Rides
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Fun Facts About Ariel's Undersea Adventure
This ride is called an omnimover. It's similar to The Haunted Mansion, with ride vehicles gliding on a constantly moving surface. You can credit that system for the fact that the ride seldom has a long wait. It can handle up to 2,000 guests per hour.
The Little Mermaid's building looks like something that came right out of a Victorian Exposition. It includes an entrance area shaped like the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. In fact, it originally looked just like that iconic building, but now it's painted to match the rest of the facade.
In 2014, the ride got a minor upgrade. Among the things they addressed was Ariel's hair, which some people said looked like a soft-serve ice cream cone. To make her hair look more realistic, it was replaced with a hairdo that looks like it's floating in the water.