Where to Find Ariel in Walt Disney World
Of all the articles I’ve written, this one is a bit more near and dear to my heart than all the others. The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney movie. The score of incredible music has frequented my iTunes playlists for 12+ years now, and I could probably perform the movie as a one-woman monologue if the occasion arises. The Little Mermaid plays in my house, my little cousins’ house, my friend’s house (she has a 2-year old), and its buoyancy among generations proves its timelessness!
Honestly though, it’s all about Ariel. It’s always been about Ariel for me. Ariel is the princess who inspired me to believe in my dreams- if I have the courage to pursue them. No one supported Ariel’s dream of becoming human- her sisters thought she was crazy, her friends tried to talk her out of it, and her own father lashed out at her for wanting something other than the life he had planned for her. But none of that mattered to Ariel. She took matters into her own hands and fought- I mean, swam- her way to her future. Each time I visit Walt Disney World Resort I have to fit in as much time as possible with the mermaid who continues to inspire me. Dive under the sea, and you too can swim with the fish and splash with the red-headed mermaid!
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid- Dive under the sea with Ariel and her friends in this musical re-telling of the famous story! The show in Hollywood Studios is great because it utilizes both live performers and puppetry to tell the famous tale. Laser lights, dry ice, and a live rendition of “Part of Your World” are definitely the crowd pleasers here. My favorite is the black light number!
- Mickey’s Philharmagic- Ahh the magic of Disney movies. Mickey, Simba, Aladdin, Donald, and the Fantasia brooms are just a few of the characters you’ll see in the larger-than-life 3D show in Magic Kingdom. Tumbling through Agrabah on a magic carpet and romping through Africa with Simba are in high contention for best scene- but of course my favorite scene happens leagues under the sea in Ariel’s grotto of human stuff! Don’t worry about long wait times here, and especially don’t use one of your Fastpass+ reservations for this attraction; the show runs continually from park open to park close.
- Fantasmic!- End your epic day in Hollywood Studios with a journey into Mickey’s imagination! Being that Ariel and Mickey are such good pals, it’s no surprise that she appears in his vivid, fantastic dream! You’ll spot her floating by on a flowery, sparkling barge with Eric. Pay special attention to the boat in the finale- you just might see the pair make an encore appearance!
- Festival of Fantasy- Away we go! The daytime parade at Magic Kingdom celebrating the characters who call Fantasyland ‘home’ march proudly through the park every day at 3:00pm. There are some absolutely fantastic floats in this parade that never cease to blow me away with their hot, fiery designs (yes I’m talking about Maleficent), and Ariel’s very own personal float ranks right up there with the best of them! One of my favorite memories of this parade is seeing it step off while riding Splash Mountain- Ariel herself waved to me from her while I was on the ride! If you call her name loudly enough you just might catch her attention too!
- Happily Ever After- The new nighttime fireworks spectacular at Magic Kingdom incorporates state of the art digital mapping technology that wraps the castle with moving images of classic Disney movie moments. The Little Mermaid is, of course, a classic, so expect to see Ariel swim her way through the night sky.
- Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid- Dive into the mysterious fathoms below with Ariel, Flounder, Sebastian, Ursula, and the entire cast of beloved characters. The attraction follows Ariel’s famous journey from sea to land in a slow-moving clamshell. You’d better start practicing holding your breath now!
- Ariel’s Grotto- Finally, the be-all, end-all of mermaid experiences. Located in Fantasyland right next to the Under the Sea attraction is where you’ll find her in her grotto that’s filled with her eclectic collection of human stuff. This is your chance to meet Ariel in-person, get her autograph, and pose for a picture. If you have anything you’re dying to say to Ariel, this is your chance! She’s always smiling and more than happy to engage in conversation with humans.
I told you, Ariel is my favorite! My borderline obsession with the mermaid has driven me to seek out additional mermaid experiences that extend beyond the regular park attractions. You can find Ariel at the Bon Voyage character breakfast at Trattoria Al Forno and as one of Cinderella’s royal guests when you dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table! If you’re staying at Yacht and Beach Club, I’ve got a mission for you: find the Ariel statue! It’s located somewhere on the resort property…good luck! Let me know when you find her in the comments below.
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!