Saturday, October 13, 2012

Journey of the Little Mermaid Opens at WDW Magic Kingdom !

Journey of the Little Mermaid is now open in soft openings at WDW Magic Kingdom New Fantasyland and guests can now discover why this new version is the best one, thanks to its amazing exterior decor and queue theming. No one is to blame to don't have done the same queue at the DCA version, for two very simple reasons: they didn't had the room at DCA to build a queue of the same size and, two, it wouldn't have fit with the Paradise Pier theme. That said, WDI Imagineers outdone themselves once again and created what is probably the best themed queue since the one for Indiana Jones Adventure at DL or TDS.

As usual, WDI renderings released last year were very accurate with the final result, and in some scenes, like the entrance, the real thing is even better than the one designed on the artwork. As you can see below on the artwork Ariel was just standing on a rock and now she is a figurehead of a ship.

Inside, the queue decor is stunning and you'll find the best pictorial report on it on the Disney at Works website. All what we can be seen on the rendering below is there...

...including a great audio-animatronic of Scuttle and plenty of visual effects with fun crabs that appear here and there in different decor elements. 

As you will see in the embedded video below, the boarding room is also very faithful to the original artwork, with a wrecked galleon and a great giant mural painting.

However, there is one scene which was envisioned for the queue and which apparently have been partly cancelled. The scene was called "Captive Lobsters" and was showing an audio-animatronic Max - Prince Eric's english sheepdog - with, close to him, fishes inside baskets and "captive" lobsters - some of them probably animated too. And, up the stairs leading to the castle kitchen, you would have seen the cook's shadow apparently ready to cut in half one of these lobsters. 

Although Max, the fishes and the captive lobsters have disappeared, the room with the staircase and plenty of props and barrels is still part of the queue decor as you can see on the picture below coming from the excellent review of Disney at Works. And you can even always hear voices coming from the kitchen, not sure though that it's still the cook voice.

Now, why Max and the lobsters have been cancelled? There can be many reasons for this, and the first one, as usual, might be a budget reason. May be the visual effects with the crabs were added to the original project and may be WDI Imagineers had to make a choice to stay in the budget allowed for the attraction. Or may be a WDC corporate thought that the animals defense association would have been outraged with the captive lobsters and the cook shadow? I know, it would be stupid as the lobsters would have been fake or audio-animatronics but corporate people can think like this. They are thinking in terms of image for the company, and they're quick to become paranoid with anything that could eventually bring a bad image. Most of the time it's over exaggerated but considering the number of people also always fast to sue Disney for any reason, i can understand that the corporate guys try to be cautious. That said, it's probably not the right reason here as the scene was more funny than cruel, and i would rather bet on a budget reason for the disappearing of Max and the lobsters. Nevermind, as even without this scene the queue theming is literally amazing and WDI Imagineers deserves our congrats for the fantastic work they did, and i mean it, really!

If you haven't seen yet a video showing this wonderfully themed queue, and the ride itself, there is already a few of them on Youtube and one of the best, embedded below, is coming from Inside the Magic. The video is very intelligently filmed and you will see everything including the crabs visual effects, and of course Scutlle AA. Oh, and the ride itself, you ask? Well, it's exactly the same version than at DCA - and i still miss a big scene at the end with the defeat of Ursula - but it seems that the lighting has been improved. And this time they got right from the start Ariel's hairs in the "Under the Sea" sequence!
So, go ahead, watch the video, and make sure to visit Inside the Magic for more great reports on WDW New Fantasyland.

Artwork: copyright Disney

Video: copyright Inside the Magic


danielz6 said...

Alain you are right, the ride is sorely missing the Ursula and the ship scene from the movie. Every other Disney dark ride shows the climax of the movie...captain hook in the mouth of the gator, Pinocchio escaping monstro, and even the snow whites queen falling off the cliff. That's the climax! That's the giant ball of Indians Jones, or the plunge into the brier patch of splash mountain. It really bothers me they didn't include that in some way. 50 bucks says the ride opens in Tokyo Sea soon with that scene!
Also yes the cue is beautiful but why so much interactivity? In a few months this ride will have a 5 minute wait time on average as it is an omnimover people eater. All the interactive cues should be put on rides that move slowly, those are the lines that are hard to wait in.

Anonymous said...

Just rode it Saturday an was distracted the whole ride by a safty issue in the car. Rode with my very excited 5 year old. The safey bar came down and was activated and locked into place. it was a little lower/tighter than i liked but my daughter is small.
the problem was everytime she got nervous or excited she'd pull on th bar and rather than the bar return to the 1st snug stationary position, it would lock down even tighter than before. By the end of the trip i was pinned in and i could not feel my toes.
Way dangerous in a fire or if a pregnant mother were riding with a small child. Spoke to some MOD's felt a bit dissmissed buy them but is thier nightmare if it ever happened,

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

It's a great new Fantasyland dark ride!

The exterior and the line really do look great, and the ride itself is a great addition to FL, to "accompany" Peter Pan.

Nevertheless, I also agree that a great climatic scene is missing from it, and I also agree that due to the high capacity, probably the line won't be nearly as big as the one from Peter Pan's flight (I hope so). On the other hand, sometimes the HM that uses the same ride system have very big lines, but it's a MUCH better, iconic E-Ticket attraction also.

In general, I can't complain about the attraction itself, but IMO it shouldn't be the main attraction of the MK expansion, but a supporting one like it was in CA Adventure, as FL dark rides are always fun, cute, quintessentially Disney and a must see in any MK, but not really a very big deal...

Anonymous said...

The lighting in the "Under the Sea" scene is a lot better.