Put on the Little Mermaid soundtrack, guys, because TODAY we are going to go under the sea and have a look at the bits of New Fantasyland dedicated to Ariel and friends!
You walk through Belle's village (I know! I need to post pics of that soon too!), and you find a GORGEOUS sandcastle-esque palace rising up on your left.
While I think the Ariel on the prow of the ship looks very pretty, and I generally approve of all things Disney princess, I find it a little odd and every so slightly creepy that she's stuck there as the figurehead of a ship that has been wrecked. But this is Disney, so I guess she could swim away if she wanted, she just wants to welcome all her guests...
I absolutely fell in love with this castle...I think I might like it even better than Belle's. You see, the Beast's Castle looks so small perched up there in the mountains, but I feel like they got the size more right with Prince Eric's - it feels more real.
Because Ariel's castle is larger, it's easier to admire all the details! Like that adorable little tower on the left, the balcony in the middle, and a secret staircase you can only see after you've exited the ride, winding up to the castle (that door looked like it was too small for a person...but I wonder...). Also note the waves on the railing just above the door. Doesn't it look like it would be SO fun to have a party on that patio, with Ariel and Eric hosting?
This little tower was so cute. I wish I could live there. It seems to have so much character. If that tower could talk it would have fun things to say, I can just tell.
Don't know if you can tell from this pic, but the little emblem on that balcony railing on the left has an "E." I know it's for Eric, but it could stand for Emma too, right?? ;)
I'm trying not to overwhelm y'all with photos, but it's hard to leave anythign out - it's all so pretty! These two are views from entering the ride (on the right) and leaving the ride (on the left).
You walk beneath the sandstone arches of the castle's walkway as you make your way through the line.
Those masses of people up beyond the waterfall were in the stand-by queue. Just that sight alone will make you sigh with relief that you got a fastpass. We whizzed through the fastpass line, and the stand-by was never less than 60 minutes. It is a continuous loader like Buzz Lightyear or Finding Nemo, so I bet the line will be better when the ride is less new, but for now fastpass is the way to go. Fastpasses for Journey of the Little Mermaid are available in front of Philharmagic, so make sure you stop by there before you head into New Fantasyland.
You may find yourself skipping through the empty fastpass queue. This is perfectly acceptable.
And if, by the time you've entered the seaside castle, the skipping has become dancing and singing along to "Under the Sea," that's perfectly ok too. lol, I was clearly a little excited when I first rode this!
These little fishies atop the columns were dancing along with me, I just know it.
So the idea is that you go through the castle and then go "outside" again when you get on the ride - only this is the magical outside that takes you into the world of the Little Mermaid! Can you spot her sitting on a rock out at sea?
Totally Random Tidbit: Those cliffs from on the left remind me of the cliffs from the movie in the France pavilion. I'm probably only noticing this because I'm going to visit those cliffs (the cliffs of Etretat!), but it made me wonder: what country is the Little Mermaid set in? Eric's Castle does look vaguely French and there's the French cook. But the original Little Mermaid story (written by Hans Christian Anderson) was set in Denmark or some say Croatia. I googled it, but there didn't seem to be much consensus.
LOL. Sorry, that TRT was fairly long. Back to the ride!
Let's hop aboard our shell!
I see Ariel and Flounder!
The Prince Eric statue in Ariel's grotto is rather like the Mona Lisa...he never stops watching you!!
This-a-way to the PAR-tay!
Ariel swinging to that under-the-sea beat! The moving characters in the ride were neat, and I think I'll get used to them, but there was just something a little off about Ariel is certain scenes. Maybe because her eyes were so huge? Still enjoyable, just interesting to notice...
Conga Line! The Under the Sea scene was probably my favorite one!
Ursula was pretty scary.
...and they lived happily ever after!
When you exit Journey of the Little Mermaid, instead of coming out in a dump shop, you find yourself right next to Ariel's Grotto!
Just a few last details to share to wrap up this post. Loved the little sea grass lamps and the seahorse heralding Ariel's meet and greet spot. And take a close look at that piece of rock...it's shaped like a conch shell!