Take a trip under the sea to revisit one of Disney’s most beloved animated classics, The Little Mermaid at Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid.
Your underwater adventure takes you “down where it’s wetter” on a tour of Ariel’s gadget-filled grotto. See Sebastian the Crab, Flounder, even the sea witch, Ursula, before watching Ariel and Prince Eric fall in love.
Just a note: while this kid-friendly adventure takes you “under the sea,” there is no actual water involved so you won’t get wet!
Keep reading for our complete guide to Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid.
Before we get too far into it, make sure you check out our guide on the Best Rides at Magic Kingdom for information on every attraction and show at Magic Kingdom.
Journey of The Little Mermaid Quick Facts
Journey of The Little Mermaid is located in Fantasyland to the right of Gaston’s Tavern and to the left of Ariel’s Grotto.
Here is the location on the map:
How to Ride Journey of The Little Mermaid
Journey of The Little Mermaid has a Standby Line and a Lightning Lane. There is no Single Rider Line.
Do I need to use Genie+ at Journey of The Little Mermaid?
Genie+ is available at Journey of The Little Mermaid, but it wouldn’t be a priority since Genie+ availability rarely runs out and waits here are typically never that long.
If you really want to make sure you ride Journey of The Little Mermaid, you can always grab your Genie+ reservations later in the day.
Be sure to check out our touring strategies for Magic Kingdom for more Genie+ advice.
Rider Switch/Child Swap
As there is no height requirement for Journey of The Little Mermaid, this attraction does not offer Rider Switch.
Rider Switch is Disney’s system that allows guests with small children to take turns riding bigger rides, while another person/people wait with the little one.
What to Expect When You Ride
Right away, you step inside Ariel’s world when you enter the queue at Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid.
This is one queue at Magic Kingdom that’s perfectly themed and makes you feel as if you’re part of the movie we all know so well.
At first sight, you’ll stroll through stunning cavern views and pass by a beautiful waterfall outside.
Once you enter the covered part of the queue, there’s an interactive game with crabs that sort Ariel’s thingamabobs. All you have to do is point out the items on the screens that don’t belong and the crabs will take them away!
Then you’ll enter a grotto, where you’ll see Scuttle, the friendly seagull, who tells stories and jokes. Finally, you’ll step onto a moving sidewalk before boarding your clamshell.
Fun fact: there is a Hidden Mickey you can see in the queue, but only for a select amount of time on a specific day each year. At exactly 12 p.m. ET on November 18 (Mickey’s birthday), some of the rock formations in the queue line up with the position of the sun to project a Hidden Mickey on the wall.
The ride vehicles at Journey of The Little Mermaid are large colorful clamshells that can seat up to 2 adults and a small child.
A safety bar is lowered over guests’ laps to keep them secure within their shells.
Wheelchairs and ECVs are permitted in the queue. For those in ECVs, you must transfer to a wheelchair in order to ride.
There is a wheelchair-equipped clamshell, so those in wheelchairs may remain in them.
Make sure to ask a Cast Member for assistance if you need them to slow down the moving sidewalk or stop completely in order to board.
Handheld captioning is available for those who need it.
On the Ride
If you prefer to experience Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid without any spoilers, you may want to skip this part.
Journey under the sea with the Little Mermaid and all of her friends!
The ride begins as you sneak through a hole in Prince Eric’s ship where Scuttle is recounting the story of Ariel.
Then you’ll descend “underwater,” as your clamshell ride vehicle slowly moves backward. But don’t worry, even though you’ll see the illusion of water, you will not get wet!
As the clamshells travel through a rocky passage, guests can see Ariel and Flounder performing “Part of Your World.”
Enter into Ariel’s grotto where she displays her collection of treasures from the human world, before joining in with Sebastian and dozens of underwater creatures for “Under the Sea.”
As the underwater jamboree ends, the ride’s tone changes as you find yourself in a foreboding cavern with Flotsam and Jetsam, the pet eels of the sea witch Ursula, who can be seen performing “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
Surrounded by her collection of lost souls, she agrees to turn Ariel into a human in exchange for her voice.
As you witness Ariel transform, you’ll make your way above the waves into a romantic lagoon where Sebastian serenades Prince Eric and Ariel with “Kiss the Girl.”
Pass by Prince Eric’s castle where silhouettes show that Ariel and Eric have finally kissed, breaking the spell and returning Ariel’s voice to her. In the distance, you’ll spot a smoking silhouette of a defeated Ursula.
Then you become part of the finale, where Sebastian, Flounder, King Triton and all of their friends celebrate the marriage of Ariel and Prince Eric. From a gazebo, the newlyweds wave, as fireworks go off overhead.
Is Journey of The Little Mermaid Kid-Friendly?
While there are some darker moments on Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid involving Ursula, overall, it’s a fun attraction that is perfect for all ages.
Strollers are not allowed in most queues at Walt Disney World, including for Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid. They can be left at the designated stroller parking area across from the entrance to the queue.
Imagineers wanted to create a Little Mermaid ride in the ’90s following the success of the 1989 animated film, but it would take another three decades to have those dreams realized.
However, Ariel’s presence in the parks has been a constant thanks to parades, meet and greets, and character meals, as well as the Voyage of The Little Mermaid show at Hollywood Studios (which closed in 2020).
That all changed in 2007 when Disney announced that a Little Mermaid-themed ride would be included as part of the refurbishment of Paradise Pier in Disney’s California Adventure. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure opened in 2011.
In 2009 at the D23 Expo, Disney unveiled plans to include a nearly identical Little Mermaid attraction as part of the expansion of Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom. Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid opened on December 6, 2012.
In 2015, the ride closed for a month for refurbishment. Amongst the changes made were the addition of several more animatronic fish, Ariel and Prince Eric’s hair was upgraded from plastic to a more realistic-looking material for the land scenes, and many of the show’s scenes had their lighting dimmed.
Other Fun Details
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid is based on the Disney animated classic, The Little Mermaid (1989).
- The ride is housed inside of Prince Eric’s castle which looks just like it did in the movie.
- There are 183 characters found within the attraction. Of these, 128 of them are found in the “Under the Sea” scene. There are also over 20,000 live and artificial plants.
- The Ursula audio animatronic stands at 7 1/2 feet tall and 12 feet wide!
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid has a few unique connections to one of the Magic Kingdom’s former attractions. Before the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride was dismantled in 1994, Imagineers saved some of the attraction’s water. At a dedication ceremony for Journey of the Little Mermaid, this water was dumped into the new attraction. Also in the queue, guests can find the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea carved into the rock work.
- Imagineers applied a new special skin technology to the Ariel, Ursula, and King Triton animatronics featured in the attraction due to the amount of skin that they showed.
Other Attractions in Fantasyland
- Cinderella Castle
- “it’s a small world”
- Mad Tea Party
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Ariel’s Grotto
- Enchanted Tales With Belle
- Princess Fairytale Hall
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
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