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Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid

Board a clamshell and become part of Ariel’s world on a musical adventure filled with scenes from the animated classic

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Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is a beloved dark ride that immerses guests in the enchanting underwater world of Ariel and her friends from the classic Disney animated film. This attraction offers a delightful blend of cutting-edge technology, stunning animatronics, and timeless storytelling, making it a must-visit for fans of The Little Mermaid and Disney enthusiasts alike.

Little Mermaid Ride Information

  • Average Wait Times: Wait times can vary significantly throughout the day, with shorter queues typically found in the morning and evening hours. During peak seasons and busy periods, the standby line can become quite lengthy.
  • Height Requirement: There is no height requirement for this attraction.
  • Single Rider Line: Unfortunately, there is no Single Rider Line.
  • Ride Duration: Approximately 7 minutes.
  • Genie+ and Lightning Lane: Genie+ and Lightning Lane are available for this ride!
  • Rider Switch: Rider Switch is not available on this attraction.
  • Disability Access Service (DAS): DAS is available for those with disabilities.
  • Location: Located in the Fantasyland area of Magic Kingdom, nestled between Gaston’s Tavern and Ariel’s Grotto
  • Early Entry Ride: Yes, available during Early Theme Park Entry.
  • Best Times to Ride: Early in the morning, late at night, or during peak hours when lines for other attractions are long.
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Ride History and Design

Origins and Development

The concept for a Little Mermaid-themed dark ride dates back to the early-to-mid 1990s when Walt Disney Imagineering explored the idea for Disneyland Paris, Little Mermaid ride Magic Kingdom, Tokyo DisneySea, and Hong Kong Disneyland. However, none of these early versions came to fruition. 


It wasn’t until the late 2000s, as part of the efforts to revitalize Disney California Adventure, that the current iteration of the attraction was greenlit. The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure opened at Disney California Adventure on June 3, 2011, followed by the Magic Kingdom version, titled Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, on December 6, 2012.

Architectural Theming

The Magic Kingdom Little Mermaid ride is themed around Prince Eric’s castle, with the exterior featuring towering cliffs and a cavern entrance that guests pass through during low tide. This immersive theming continues into the queue area, where guests can participate in an interactive scavenger hunt with Scuttle.

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The Ride Experience

The Queue

The queue for Little Mermaid Magic Kingdom ride is a highlight in itself, featuring beautiful waterfalls, shells, and an interactive game where guests can point out valuable “thingamabobs” to the crabs on the screens. As guests approach the loading area, they encounter Scuttle, who entertains with stories and jokes.

Ride System and Vehicles

Little Mermaid Magic Kingdom utilizes an Omnimover ride system, similar to attractions like Haunted Mansion and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot. Guests board colorful clamshell vehicles that can accommodate up to 4 riders, depending on size.

Show Scenes and Animatronics

As the clamshells embark on their journey, guests are greeted by Scuttle, who attempts to recount Ariel’s story. The vehicles then rotate backwards, simulating a descent underwater, where guests encounter a series of show scenes featuring impressive animatronics and special effects.Highlights include Ariel’s treasure-filled grotto, the vibrant “Under the Sea” sequence with blacklight effects, and the iconic “Kiss the Girl” scene with Ariel and Prince Eric. The massive 7.5-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide Ursula animatronic is a standout, towering over guests menacingly.

Music and Soundtrack

The attraction’s soundtrack features beloved songs from the film, including “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” and “Kiss the Girl,” composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman. The music adds an extra layer of nostalgia and immersion to the ride experience.

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Tips for Riders

  • Visit Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid Magic Kingdom during the first two or last two hours of park operation for shorter wait times.
  • Consider utilizing Genie+ Lightning Lane access, especially during busier periods.
  • Take your time in the queue to appreciate the intricate details and interactive elements.
  • Temper expectations for motion sickness, as the ride features gentle movements.
  • Arrive early for Early Theme Park Entry or stay late for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours to experience the attraction with smaller crowds.
The Little Mermaid picture of Ariel dancing to music

Comparison to Other Little Mermaid Rides

While the Magic Kingdom’s Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid shares many similarities with its counterpart at Disney California Adventure, there are notable differences in the exterior theming, queue design, and mural artwork in the loading area. Additionally, Tokyo DisneySea features a different Little Mermaid attraction called The Whiting, which is a short musical show featuring puppetry and special effects. 

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FAQ's About Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid

1. How long is the ride duration?
The ride duration for The Little Mermaid Magic Kingdom is approximately 7 minutes.

2. Is there a height requirement?
No, there is no height requirement for this attraction, making it suitable for guests of all ages.

3. Does the ride have a single rider line?
No, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid does not offer a single rider line.

4. Is it included in Genie+ Lightning Lane?
Yes, Under the Sea is one of the attractions included in the paid Genie+ Lightning Lane service at Magic Kingdom.

5. Is it eligible for Rider Switch?
No, the ride does not offer a Rider Switch option.

6. Is it included in Early Theme Park Entry?
Yes, Magic Kingdom Little Mermaid is one of the attractions available during Early Theme Park Entry for eligible guests.

7. What is the typical wait time?
Wait times can vary, but typically range from 20–40 minutes during regular park hours. Lines are shorter early in the morning or late evening.

8. Is the ride indoors or outdoors?
Journey of the Little Mermaid Magic Kingdom is an indoor dark ride attraction, so it is not affected by weather. However, the outdoor queue is exposed to the elements.

The Little Mermaid Prince Eric and Ariel in a boat under the moon

Final Thoughts

Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom is a captivating dark ride that transports guests into the enchanting world of Ariel and her undersea friends. With its impressive animatronics, immersive theming, and nostalgic soundtrack, this attraction is a must-visit for fans of The Little Mermaid and Disney enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Disney veteran, this ride offers a delightful and memorable experience that will leave you humming its iconic tunes long after your visit.

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Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid Ride Review
The Final Word
Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom immerses guests in Ariel's enchanting undersea world through impressive animatronics, vibrant special effects, and beloved songs. This classic dark ride offers a nostalgic, family-friendly experience that transports visitors into the heart of the iconic Disney film.
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