Magic Kingdom’s Little Mermaid ride has reopened with new figures and improved lighting. (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)
Ever since it originally opened in Disney California Adventure, and then again when it was cloned at Walt Disney World as the first new ride in the Magic Kingdom‘s New Fantasyland, the Little Mermaid dark ride has drawn mixed reviews. Known in Orlando as Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, and as The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Anaheim, this slow-moving Omnimover attraction is a family-friendly people-eater, but has been criticized as lacking in polish and pacing. Now the Florida attraction has been refurbished and upgraded, much as its older sibling had been months earlier, and we have brought you a full POV video of WDW’s Little Mermaid ride with additional figures and enhanced lighting, recorded on March 5, 2015.
As you’ll notice in the below video, the biggest improvement is in the centerpiece “Under the Sea” scene, whose lighting has been reimagined with blacklight. The results are still eye-popping, while better concealing the exposed ceilings, making for a much more immersive experience.
I have a confession to make. I have not always been the perfect theme park traveler. I know it may seem that way but unfortunately I am not. Out of the many different mistakes I have made going to theme parks, the first was thinking I could handle more than I should. It was my first time at Knott’s Berry Farm–maybe when I was around 10 or so–and one of their main attractions was metal roller coaster called Boomerang (which is still there today). It is a short, fast, metal coaster that sends you barreling forwards and backwards at 47 mphs with two quick loops. I remember hearing about this attraction on commercials, and I was hyped to experience it. Even when I was in line, I believed I could handle it. Well, I was wrong.
Right after the ride ended, I was the first one to run off, crying, and not ever wanting to experience any roller coaster again. As a matter of fact, I was not able to go on any other roller coaster again for a few years. When I look back at this incident, I wish there was something that would have given me the ability to know what it was like to encounter this attraction beforehand. Even while standing in line, I did not truly understand what it would feel like to sit in one of those coast seats. This is why my advice to everyone–first timers or not–is to take advantage of ride through videos. It is the only way to truly know what you are going to get yourself into before stepping one foot into any theme park.
Disney California Adventure is home to, in my opinion, the best Christmas entertainment in any Disney park, Viva Navidad. But did you know it’s also home to an annual celebration of Lunar New Year? Starting today and running until Sunday at Paradise Gardens, you can find cultural entertainment, food, activites, and Disney characters all decked out in Lunar New Year gear. The main attraction is the Lunar New Year Procession hosted by Mulan and Mushu. It features a group of performers in elaborate costumes that dance and drum along with the music (listen closely and you’ll notice the music is from the old Mulan parade at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios).
You’re in Disney California Adventure, you’ve spent the day watching the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration stage show, meeting Anna and Elsa at Character Close-Up: Anna & Elsa Royal Welcome, seeing Olaf the friendly snowman, and browsing the variety of Frozen merchandise in the various shops around the resort. But now it’s nighttime, you think to yourself “How do also experience things related to Frozen after the sun is down?” Disney has your back with Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party. It’s a dance party, the fourth one in fact, to hit DCA (after Glow Fest, ElecTRONica, and Mad T Party). But this time it’s a bit more family friendly; that basically means less booze, but there’s still some booze. The show starts daily at 6 PM with an introduction from the hosts C.C. and Feren who assure you, “It’s the coolest place to be.” What else does Freeze the Night feature? Let’s take a look at the pictures and video below:
One of the highlights is the Marshmallow meet and greet. He seemed to be very popular.
Breaking news: Frozen is a popular movie. I know, shocking, right? Disney has added elements from the popular film to one of the most beloved attractions in Disneyland‘s history. Luckily, it turned out really nice. I know some people are suffering from a bit of Frozen overload, but Storybook Land is an all time classic, and it’s nice to see it get a little love. Arendelle did replace the windmills from the 1937 film The Old Mill, and while it is a bummer to lose them, it at least makes the ride a little bit more relevant to younger generations. That will make the ride more popular, which will then cause more people to experience this wonderful attraction. On to the video and pictures:
Arendelle is immediately visible after you exit Monstro at the beginning of the ride.
This year, Epcot’s Hanukkah entertainment includes a storytelling show about the Festival of Lights, staged outside the American Adventure pavilion. This year’s Hanukkah show features new songs, and you can get a free “gelt” chocolate coin at the end!
Celebrate Kwanza and the holidays of Morocco at Epcot from the comfort of your couch. (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)
Happy holidays again from Epcot’sWorld Showcase! During my recent visit to see this year’s Holidays Around the World events — including the Hanukkah show at the American Adventure — I also stopped to see some seasonal celebrations not devoted to Judeo-Christian holy days. As you can see from the videos below, the 2014 Epcot Kwanzaa celebrations and Moroccan holiday performances are every bit as entertaining and educational as their Christian and Jewish counterparts:
Find out how the iPhone 6 Plus holds up at WDW’s Magic Kingdom (images by Seth Kubersky)
It took nearly two months of waiting, but my precious pre-ordered iPhone 6 Plus finally arrived last week. And where was one of the first places I took it? Why, Walt Disney World, of course! When Apple’s supersized smartphone debuted back in September, this Techcrunch article on using the new “phablet” inside Disneyland caught my eye. Since theme park reporting is one of the primary reasons I upgraded my iDevice, I wanted to write this companion piece sharing my initial experiences using the iPhone 6 Plus at WDW’s Magic Kingdom.
Yes, the iPhone 6 Plus is freaking ginormous, especially for the first few hours you hold it. Then it starts to seem normal, and your old phone begins to look puny in comparison. While riding attractions, the phone fit fine in the front pocket of my not-so-skinny jeans, and emerged again afterwards with nary a bend in sight.
Last year’s inaugural Jingle Cruise was criticized for confining the custom scenery largely to the Jungle Cruise’s boathouse queue, and for some jokes that were staler than fruitcake. As you can see in the following Jingle Cruise POV videos, more holiday decor has been installed along the riverbanks, and the spiel has been adjusted appropriately to reflect the additions.
Unfortunately, this new flag-waving act didn't fare any better in my estimation than it did in Daisy's. As a fan of drum and flag corps, I was really looking forward to this show. But while there were a few impressive tricks, overall I was deeply disappointed with this troupe's poor performance quality.
While the lead performer (who executes an amazing foot-juggling solo) was excellent, the rest of the group was sloppy, unenthusiastic, and shockingly unprofessional, chatting casually with each other during the show.
While the show I witnessed gathered and retained a slightly larger audience than when Daisy saw them, it seemed singnficantly smaller than what the Ziti Sisters used to attract. Without some serious improvements to show quality, I can't see it lasting very long.