Wednesday, March 18, 2009
A looong time ago, i.e at the opening of Disneyland Paris, back in 1992, when one bought a map of the park, you could see a Little Mermaid attraction in the Fantasyland area with these words "future attraction". Well, this "future" attraction never opened but we know now that it will open at DCA in 2011.
One year later, in 2012, it will be Disneyland Paris 20th Anniversary and there is little doubt that the park will build a major attraction - like they did with the Tower of Terror for the 15th anniversary.
The big question that all DLP fans try to answer on all forums is: which one? Indiana Jones Adventure and Splash Mountain are of course long time favorites, but personally, i rather will put all my bets on the long awaited Little Mermaid attraction.
Why? First, it will be a new E-Ticket for Fantasyland, and at DLP Fantasyland have until now only one real E-Ticket : It's a Small World. A new one in this land often very crowded will be totally welcome, specially considering that it will be a high capacity per hour attraction.
Two, as i've said in previous articles the Little Mermaid is not only a "family attraction" but also a perfect ride for young girls. And it has been a long time since DLP opened an attraction perfectly designed for young girls.
Three, strong rumors keep saying that the Fantasyland Festival Stage destruction should begin at the end of this year. And we know almost for sure that imagineers should build the Little Mermaid behind Fantasyland Train Station where there is plenty of room available - and probably not in front of the Pizzeria Bella Notte where it was envisioned back in 1992. I re-post below this Google Earth view where you can see all the room available behind the train station.
Four, and for DLP management it should be the most important point: scale economy. If DLP build the Little Mermaid ride almost at the same time than the one at DCA they can expect important scale economies and lot of money can be save.
Five, it will be not only a real E-Ticket - if DLP get the same version than DCA - but a fantastic dark ride, full of great theming, special effects and audio-animatronics. The kind of attraction that guests will ride forever. Not to mention all the great songs that we all know by heart.
For all these reasons, i put my bets on the Little Memaid ride as DLP 20th anniversary attraction. Of course, if DLP attendance dramatically fall this year because of the world economy crisis things could change, but if everything goes well we all should be "under the sea" in three years from now.
In the meantime i suggest we have a look back at the original concept. Legendary Imagineer Tony Baxter designed the Little Mermaid attraction as a dark ride, and i should say: a GREAT dark ride.
At the origin the vehicles were designed like a shell and hold by the top , just like those of Peter Pan's flight. We know now that it is an omni-mover system which is finally chosen for the DCA version - no doubt that it will be the same for DLP.
Two , the ride will bring you under water AND over the water, and back again, thanks to the incredible "dry for wet" WDI technology, a mix of lighting, lasers and smoke effects which will give you the feeling you're under water, even if you're not really.
In DLP's original plans the great design was beginning with the outside decor - the Little Mermaid "castle", a wonderful theming. It would have been a great addition for DLP's Fantasyland in front of the Pizzeria Bella notte restaurant. DCA's version will have a building with a totally different architecture. May be they will keep the original concept for DLP, who knows?
The first scene of the original concept was over the water with the Little Mermaid meeting Eric for the first time.
Then, as you hear the Sebastian character singing "under the sea" the vehicle was "diving" under water for a great "under the sea" concert scene. You can expect plenty of audio-animatronics in that scene, so magical that guests will remember it forever .
Always in the original concept, we then meet Ariel in her grotto, before entering Ursula's threatening cave , the famous scene where she try to steal Ariel's voice. In the final version that is currently build at DCA, expect a little bit frightening atmosphere in that scene with the "unfortunate souls" welcoming you at the entrance of Ursula's cavern or rising from a bubbling cauldron thanks to WDI wizards special effects...
The next sequence of the original concept was the "kiss the girl" scene. Although it looks peaceful, Ursula's marine eels were there to remember us that something dramatic is on its way to happen, as the creatures will try to stop the first kiss between Ariel and Eric...
And, as the vehicle was supposed to come "out" of the water again, guests would have discover that the surface of the sea was now under a frightening storm. The "giant" Ursula was there, soon to be defeated, just like in the movie. A really powerful scene in terms of sound and lighting effects...
The last scene shows Ariel and Eric living happily, a typical fairy-tale ending.
It looks like a great dark ride, doesn't it? The final DCA version will have nine main "scenes" and most of what was envisioned in the original concept should be there.
Now, those of you who bought the Platinum edition of the Little Mermaid dvd may have seen the special feature about the original attraction project - the images you've seen on this article are screen capture done by the former dlrp.fr web site. In that special feature it was possible to see a video of a "virtual creation" of the ride, and now it's time to have a better look to this original Little Mermaid attraction concept. You won't get closer to this highly awaited ride until its opening at Disney's California Adventure and, hopefully, at Disneyland Paris in 2012.
Photos and video: copyright Disney.
Screen capture by www.dlrp.fr