by Joe Kleiman, IPM Online News Editor
Saturday January 7, 2012 will mark twenty years of operation for a key Disney Hollywood Studios attraction, “Voyage of the Little Mermaid,” at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA. The attraction, which replaced a live action Muppet stage show in 1992, utilizes a combination of live action, filmed animation, and puppetry to tell a truncated version of the 1989 animated film “The Little Mermaid.”
Since then, Ariel, the “Little Mermaid” of the film’s title, and her companions have become one of the few Disney franchises to have presence in all Disney theme parks worldwide, including an entire “Little Mermaid” themed land at Tokyo DisneySea in Urayasu, Japan, as well as within numerous resorts, restaurants, and cruise ships.
Her presence continues to grow at stateside Disney parks on both coasts. In June 2010, a “Little Mermaid” segment became one of the centerpieces to Disney California Adventure’s “World of Color” show at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, USA. The show was awarded a Thea Award in March 2011 from the TEA and a Rock Our World Award from PLASA in October of the same year.
On June 3, 2011, a year after “World of Color” debuted, Ariel received her own ride in the form of “The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure,” which combined sophisticated animatronics with digital lighting and projection effects in a dark ride environment (click here for IPM’s visit to the attraction). The successful attraction will soon see an almost identical version, this one with an interactive queue, opening as part of the New Fantasyland development at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park later this year.