Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trip Report: Disney Construction Adventure, Pt .2

The main reason I stopped by Disney California Adventure on Thursday was to get some interior shots of The Little Mermaid attraction.

When I went during the cast member preview, cameras were not allowed. I know, I know...when has that ever stopped me before? There actually are times when I pay attention to the rules and respect what's being asked. Of course that didn't stop me from being steamed when I saw others with their iPhones shooting away; a quick reprimand from a cast member to them made it all better though! Enough of the griping; here are some shots that I got from my 2 ride throughs (count 'em, two...right in a waiting at all).

It is really nice that Imagineering has followed through with the tradition of murals in the attraction as an introduction and teaser to what lies within.

It appears that the gull serves as somewhat of a bookend storyteller on this attraction:

And then the clamshell takes you under the sea; or at least this attractions attempts to make it seem that way with a bubble projection on the clamshells in front of you.

Ariel herself makes many appearances in the attraction:

There are many whimsical characters throughout as well, making it fun to notice different ones each time you ride:

The Imagineering Marketing video breathlessly described how they labored to achieve the effect of Ariel's hair actually looking like it was floating in the water. In person, it just looks like a mass of rubber sticking straight up on her head.

Now we approach my very favorite scene; Evil Ursula and her crystal ball. Call me dark, but I love this menacing part of the show. Walt himself knew that kids actually enjoyed having the living crap scared out of them, and thus had Mr. Toad & Hell, and Snow White and the scary forest. C'mon Imagineers...bring on a storm...bring on more evil Ursula! Help wake this attraction up from its boredom.

Those poor unfortunate souls!

A happy ending quickly rolls out to bring us back from the depths of despair:

Poor Ursula is foiled again.

The attraction ends with a bang; a joyful celebration by all the main characters from the film amidst fireworks.

Our storyteller gull makes his final appearance as we exit.

After I exited the attraction the first time, cast members were polling guests about their opinion on the attraction. I have a feeling that Imagineering knows something isn't quite right as the lines are almost nonexistent. The publicity machine is attempting to say it's because of the attraction's ability to handle high capacity ridership; personally, I think it's because it's kind of blah. Pirates of the Caribbean has many interesting scenes that bear repeat viewing because they feature interesting tableaus with multiple story lines going on. The Little Mermaid attraction features large scenes, but the stories being told do not bear repeat viewing.

Elsewhere in the park, the Condor Flats sign is now rotating again (trust me, even if you can't see the movement in my photo!).

The Redwood Creek Challenge area has now taken on a new theming layer by inserting the characters from the Pixar classic, "Up."

For only an hour, it was definitely worth my visit!

See more vintage & current Disney California Adventure photos at my regular website.


Major Pepperidge said...

Ariel's "soft serve" hairdo was in the movie, a result of some small fish swirling around her head. But it looks very odd taken out of context.

Is the "foiled again" Ursula just a static silhouette? THAT'S the scene that they should have knocked out of the park... your vehicle could approach a HUGE Ursula. They could have achieved the effect in a similar way to the old King Kong attraction, in which Kong was basically a fur-covered balloon with some mouth animation. But it worked great!

TokyoMagic! said...

Yeah, I think it's the "giant Ursula" scene that everyone is waiting for and hoping to see, but instead you just get "small plywood Ursula" at the end. The attraction really needs more Ursula. Do you think there is any chance they would ever change that scene? I wouldn't even care if it went right from a confrontation with "giant Ursula" to the "happy ending" scene at the end. After all, over in Fantasyland, the Seven Dwarfs are about to be crushed by a large boulder and then the very next thing you see are the words, "And they lived happily ever after."

Mike said...

To be fair, I don't know if Pirates of the Caribbean is the right comparison to make with Little Mermaid. If the standard is "many interesting scenes that bear repeat viewing because they feature interesting tableaus with multiple story lines going on," I think all of Fantasyland would fall short (except its a small world). I don't disagree with you that it could have been better, I think the ending is ridiculously rushed, as is the beginning--I'd much rather spend more time in Ariel's hideaway and less in Under the Sea--but I find the ride basically satisfactory for me, an adult who loves the music from Little Mermaid but is otherwise indifferent to the property, and am sure when my Niece makes it to the park, she'll love it.

The Dole Whip Hair on Ariel, though, is beyond stupid, no question there. But if you can turn your eyes away from that monstrosity and look behind your clamshell at that point in the ride, you'll see Mr. Limpet!

Daveland said...

Mike - I am sure Imagineers would cringe to hear "basically satisfactory." If I wanted to "basically satisfactory," my blog would be about Magic Mountain or Universal instead. Even the originals like Peter Pan, Snow White, and Mr. Toad are worth riding over and over again.

Tara said...

I'm so glad you feel the same about her hair. The first time I saw that, I was unimpressed and didn't really like it at all.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the "Dole Whip/Dairy Queen soft-serve hair. I know it appeared in the film, but here it simply looks ridiculous. I hope they change it fast.

Connie Moreno said...

OK, I have donned my flame retardant suit so shoot me with your flame throwers if you must...I think the entire attraction is delightful! They've captured moments in the film that make you smile. And guess what? I like the hair!

Chiana_Chat said...

What year is this?

What I noticed from here is that the faces of the Ariel figures look um... too little a mermaid, as in down-aged a rather important bracket. Wasn't Ariel being a teenager kind of important to the story? Triton looks good and them stretchy clams are the cutest, but overall it looks like a Pressler-era ride, cheaper plush-toy synth-Disney.

...can see Connie's pov though, capturing fav moments and being happy about that. That's a great way to go from our side, enjoy what you got while you can and all. No flames Connie, but you may be a bit toasty from the envy hehe And fortunately Mermaid has a terrific score.

Methinks that's great on Connie's side but that they should have done better on their side, then we all could enjoy it more.

Thanks none the less to Dave for taking and sharing these pics and commentary.

Daveland said...

Connie - Next time I see you, I expect to see you sporting a Dole-Whip Hairdo! I will definitely agree that the music to LM helps the attraction; hard not to walk out of there not humming the songs heard on the attraction!

Melissa said...

I may be was off-base, but I can;t help wondering if the short lines have anything to do with location. Surely the target audience for this ride is hanging out in Fantasyland, riding Snow White and Peter Pan. I know there wasn't room to put TLM over there, but I suspect that the Florida version being in Fantasyland will give it more traffic. It's a nice ride, but is it enough of a "destination" to pull its audience where it needs to be?

Daveland said...

Excellent point, Melissa; if it were with the other Fantasyland attractions, there probably would not have been as much pressure for it to deliver.

JG said...

At least they didn't add the little mermaid to the Submarine ride...

Thanks Dave, I'm looking forward to this, since my daughter grew up with the movie, it's a staple around our house for many years.

Recently, I added the music to my playlist and was surprised at how well it has survived. Unlike the Lion King...gack.


P.T. said...

Great pics of the Little Mermaid ride! While you were in the queue, did you happen to find the Hidden Mickey in the lamps? :-)

Daveland said...

PT: I have to admit, I'm not huge into the Hidden Mickeys; however, I did shoot a few more photos of the attraction this weekend - hopefully I caught them!