Friday, June 5, 2015

Theme Parking: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

  • I was under the mistaken impression that Disney didn't make rides like this any more.

  • For several years, it looks like Disney was only interested in thrill rides and more active experiences. Rides like Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, Indiana Jones Adventure, and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters showed that Imagineering was interested in building something more than the standard dark ride. The Fantasyland dark rides finally received a modern take in 2003 with the opening of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. But grander rides on the scale of Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion were unique for decades.
  • Actually, let me stop for a moment to talk about this beautiful poster. I love Disney's attraction posters. We have several hanging in our home. This poster, like many of the DCA posters by artist Greg Maletic, is thoroughly modern while invoking the styles of Disney artists of the past. It is simultaneously reverent and refreshing, much like the park it advertises. I'm so happy that Disney made that choice when commissioning the new posters.

  • From the outside, Ariel's Undersea Adventure resembles an old-fashioned aquarium, one you might visit while on vacation at the seaside. Inside, you climb into a clamshell vehicle and enter the wreck of Prince Eric's ship. This may be my favorite effect of the ride, where the water and bubbles are projected on the vehicle you are facing as you slide underwater. Above, you spy upon Ariel and Flounder swimming above you. The ride continues through Ariel's grotto, then into the large Under The Sea section. Beyond, you enter Ursula's cavern and witness Ariel's transformation from mermaid to human. As you climb back to the surface, you witness Prince Eric and Ariel's romantic rowboat outing. Finally, with Ursula defeated, everyone comes out to celebrate the couple's wedding.

  • Any impression I had that Disney lost the ability to work magic was completely banished by Ariel's Undersea Adventure. I left the ride astonished. As I said at the beginning, I thought that Disney didn't make rides like this any more. The ride, like the poster above and the park they represent, honors the Disney tradition even as it grows beyond the constraints of history.

  • Rating: D Ticket

  • Theme Parking is a new category for posts related to my lifelong obsession with Disneyland.


  1. I've never been to Disney world, but I agree that the post looks stunning! :)

    1. *poster, I can't type. :(

    2. I think I need to post a bunch of others. Also, I would kill for an edit option. No worries. :)