Disney fans living in southern California, many of whom hold annual passes which allow entrance to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, are eagerly awaiting the opening of the Little Mermaid dark ride which park executives have hyped up as an immersive experience worthy of the Disney name. Though many believe that the ride will be done on a scale similar to long time favorites such as “Pirates of the Carribean”, some have noticed that the show building, which houses the ride, isn’t that big.
This may due in part to the fact that the ride will be constructed in Disney California Adventure, the beleaguered sister park of Disneyland which recently experienced a much need revival with the opening of the World of Color Show. Disney California Adventure isn’t that big as precious real estate was used to build a gigantic folk art hotel and shopping district.
Recently, the LA times leaked a synopsis of the Little Mermaid attraction’s scenes online, and not surprisingly for the author of this article anyway, some of the “scenes” appear to be quite short. For example:
Scene 3 – A blast of cold air and a visual illusion make riders feel as if they are submerging underwater as the clam shell vehicle descends into the heart of the dark ride.
Uh, OK. I had read about the transition to the underwater world elsewhere, but I never figured that it was a whole “scene.” Considering that the loading area is also considered a scene, I wonder just how long (or short) this ride will be.
By looking at Google maps of the show building of the ride, I have estimated that it will be about ½ as long as the Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyland. Depending on which source you use, the length of the actual ride part of the haunted mansion is about 6.5 to 7 minutes. The Little Mermaid ride also uses the same omnimover ride technology as the Haunted Mansion, meaning this new ride currently under construction may only be 3.5 to 4 minutes long!
Assuming that they don’t slow the omnimover down to something even slower than a snail’s pace, this means that the ride will be perhaps a minute longer than the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction in Disneyland. Will this mean that the attraction won’t be the spectacular E-Ticket that it has been touted as being?
If young children love the ride, then their parents will doubtlessly appreciate it as an addition to California Adventure which had few quality attractions for young children.
However, will it accomplish the goal of creating an attraction which creates “re-rideability” for all the demographic groups that visit the park?
Re-rideability is a characteristic which certain classic Disney attractions have, such as the Pirates of the Carribean ride in Disneyland which brings back guests time and time again. Despite being older than many guests who visit Disneyland (the attraction is over four decades old), Pirates of the Caribbean often has long lines during peak park operating hours. How does it accomplish this? Despite having changed little over the years, beside the notable addition of “Captain Jack Sparrow”, the attraction utilizes a gigantic show building which recreates fantastically large scenes which include a burning Spanish port sacked by merry pirates. And the ride is about 14.5 minutes long. The ever popular boat ride “It’s a Small World” is even longer.
Does ride length matter?
Perhaps, the longer ride time in many E-ticket attractions such as the Haunted Mansion allow guests to become emotionally acclimated to being in a surreal environment. However, much shorter rides such as Peter Pan’s Flight in Disneyland are also quite popular due to their ability to instantly connect with guests on a emotional level while retelling a beloved story.
Will the Little Mermaid Attraction in Disney California Adventure be a hit like Peter Pan’s Flight, or will it become a “been there done that” type of ride like the much advertised, and 4 minute long, Monster’s Inc ride in Disney California Adventure which often has little of a line?
Though the Walt Disney Studios (located in Paris France) could have built a Little Mermaid attraction to help draw in crowds to this underperforming theme park, the opted instead for a ride based on rat who became a chef.
Will the Little Mermaid Attraction be a roaring success? Only time will tell.