Where is the Ariel ride in Disney World? (2023)

Standing outside the Little Mermaid ride dressed in an Ariel Disney Bounding, complete with ears and Little Mermaid Loungefly.
Standing outside the Little Mermaid ride dressed in an Ariel Disney Bounding, complete with ears and Little Mermaid Loungefly.

The Little Mermaid is a popular Disney movie and one many children look for when they are on a trip to Disney World. Disney’s The Little Mermaid movie is a favorite for many kids, adults and myself. When planning a trip to Disney, many guests want to make sure they have a chance to see Princess Ariel.

The Little Mermaid has had many rides, shows, and attractions over the years at Walt Disney World. It can be challenging to know where to find which Ariel ride Disney World has you can currently visit.

Here is everything you need to know if you want to see The Little Mermaid, Ariel, and her friends at Disney World.

Is The Little Mermaid ride in Disney World?

Look for Ariel being displayed outside to identify where her ride is in Disney World.
Look for Ariel being displayed outside to identify where her ride is in Disney World.

Yes! You can find the Ariel ride Disney World has at the new Fantasyland area behind Cinderella’s Castle. Set beside Ariel’s Grotto you will find Under The Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid. This is the only Ariel ride Disney World offers for guests.

Under The Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid is a magical ride for guests of all ages to experience this classic “tail” for themselves. Riders will start beneath the waves. Then you’ll join Ariel, Sabastian, Flounder, and many friends singing and dancing underwater. The ride vehicles are even clam mobiles, so you feel like you are a part of their world.

Then Ariel will meet Ursula and transforms from a mermaid, where she will get her new legs and meet Prince Eric. In one scene you find Ariel and Prince Eric on the iconic “kiss the girl” boat ride. Then the final scene with King Triton saving Princess Ariel and the “poor unfortunate souls” from an Ursula. Celebrate with Prince Eric and Princess Ariel in their happily-ever after fairytale ending.

This enchanting ride is 7 minutes and perfect on a hot day. It is a great place to rest and cool off in the air-conditioned indoors.

Disney fans of all ages can enjoy this attraction as it hosts all their favorite characters from the movie. The ride system here is a continuous loop, like haunted mansion. This is a reason this ride usually has shorter wait times to get on.

Can You Use Genie+ Lightning Lane on Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid?

You can use Genie+ to book the Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid ride, but I wouldn't recommend it.
You can use Genie+ to book the Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid ride, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

You can skip the standby line and use the Genie+ Lightning Lane on the Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid ride. This line is short, but on crowded days at Disney, you can skip the line if you have purchased Genie+. If you are traveling with small children, this ride is an excellent choice because it has no height requirements.

I usually skip using Genie+ here, and the standby queue has never been more than 20 minutes of waiting.

Is Ariel’s Grotto Still at Disney World?

Meeting Ariel in her Grotto in Magic Kingdom prior to the shutdown in 2020.
Meeting Ariel in her Grotto in Magic Kingdom prior to the shutdown in 2020.

Opened in 2005, Ariel’s Grotto is a meet-and-greet area where guests can come and meet Ariel. She is better known as The Little Mermaid. Since its opening, it has opened and closed many times.

Ariel’s Grotto closed in 2010 for the expansion of New Fantasyland behind Cinderella’s Castle.

It reopened along with the New Fantasyland, but in 2020 closed due to the pandemic and never reopened. I’m so excited to announce that Ariel’s Grotto has reopened in 2023!

Which Park at Disney World Has Ariel?

Meet and Greets for Ariel the Little Mermaid has returned in 2023 at Ariel's Grotto inside of Magic Kingdom.
Meet and Greets for Ariel the Little Mermaid has returned in 2023 at Ariel’s Grotto inside of Magic Kingdom.

If you are looking for the best Disney Park to meet Ariel, The Mermaid, head to Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is where you will have the most opportunities to see Princess Ariel. There are many other great places throughout Walt Disney World where you can see her. Here is a list of where at Walt Disney World you have the chance to see Princess Ariel and her friends from The Little Mermaid.

  • Magic Kingdom: At Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park, there are many great ways to see Princess Ariel and her friends. They have Under The Sea- Journey of The Little Mermaid, the Ariel ride at Disney World. Magic Kingdom also has Ariel’s Grotto, which is currently OPEN as of 2023. Guests also have a chance to see Princess Ariel in the iconic Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade each day.

Plan to visit during the holidays? You’ll see Princess Ariel and Prince Eric in the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. This parade takes place during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

If you are looking for a meet-and-greet with Princess Ariel, you can see her at Cinderella’s Royal Table dining experience. The Little Mermaid also has a small part in Mickey’s PhilharMagic show in Fantasyland.

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Hollywood Studios’ nighttime show Fantasmic. You can see Princess Ariel and Prince Eric singing and dancing. Voyage of The Little Mermaid show is also at Hollywood Studios but is currently closed for refurbishments and is set to open in 2023.
  • Disney’s EPCOT: If you are visiting EPCOT and want the chance to dine with Princess Ariel, stop by Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavilion. Guests can enjoy a fun meet-and-greet with the Disney princesses at the Princess Story Book Dining.
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: If The Little Mermaid is your favorite Disney movie and make sure to book your stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. This Disney Resort has a whole section dedicated to The Little Mermaid movie. It’s complete with themed The Little Mermaid rooms recently renovated. There is also a big pool with Ariel, Flounder, and her friends.

Read More: The Best Disney World Value Resort

  • The Electric Water Pageant: Disney’s longest-running original parade. The Electric Water Pageant, has an electric light float where you can see King Triton and hear the music from The Little Mermaid movie. 

Can You Still Meet Ariel at Disney World?

During the pandemic, Disney closed its meet and greets with its Disney characters. Over the last year, many characters’ meet and greets have started to come back. Currently, the location where you would be able to have a meet and greet with Ariel, Ariel’s Grotto has re-opened. You can now meet Princess Ariel at one of the Disney character dining experiences and at her Grotto.

You must make a reservation in advance to attend the character dining, and Ariel is not guaranteed to attend during your reservation.

You can currently meet Princess Ariel at these three locations:

  • Ariel’s Grotto – Disney’s Magic Kingdom

If you are an Ariel fan or have one in your group, this is going to be where you want to flock. Ride Under The Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid ride, and then get in line to meet Ariel in her mermaid form. This will be the ultimate Little Mermaid experience.

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table – Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Cinderella’s Royal Table is a character dining experience at Cinderella’s Castle in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. This dining experience has Cinderella, and four of her Disney Princess friends visit dining guests. Allowing each guest to meet and greet with the princesses. You should note that Disney will not guarantee which princess will be there during your dining experience.

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – EPCOT

This Princess Story Book Dining is a character dining experience located at the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT. This character dining allows guests to dine with several Disney Princesses, including Ariel. You will also enjoy indulgent Norway-inspired dishes.

The Disney princess does change out during the evening. It is not guarantee that you will see Ariel during your reservation.

  • Sebastian’s Bistro – Caribbean Beach Resort

This Little Mermaid themed restaurant features a number of friends to Ariel. You will be disappointed as she is no where to be found in this all-you-care to enjoy Latin and Caribbean inspired bistro. At roughly $35 per adult, this is one of the best deals for dining on property. They addressed my sulfite-allergy with care, and the food is absolutely delicious.

The dining room at Sebastian's Bistro where the food is cooked fresh daily with some of the best ingredients on property.
The dining room at Sebastian’s Bistro where the food is cooked fresh daily with some of the best ingredients on property.

I would highly recommend coming to Sebastian’s Bistro in spite of no Princess Ariel character dining.

Can You Meet Ariel at After-Hours Parties?

Disney has many after-hours parties and events guests can visit to enjoy extra magic on their Disney vacation. You cannot meet Ariel during regular park hours currently. You can meet her during the after-hours parades and ride Under The Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid ride.

During Mickey’s No So Scary Halloween Party, my husband and I dressed up in Little Mermaid getups. We stumbled across a short line forming, where a friendly cast member informed of who was coming. My husband dressed as a handsome Prince Eric, and I dawned on the Ariel costume. The meeting location was across from Ariel’s Grotto.

The character’s meet and greet only lasted about 30 minutes before Ariel and Eric headed off to return bout 45 minutes later. So waiting around for the Ariel meet and greet ate into a good amount of the party.

My husband and I standing with Ariel and Prince Eric during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
My husband and I standing with Ariel and Prince Eric during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Interacting with both Ariel and Prince Eric was a much better experience than the previous meeting we had at Ariel’s Grotto Meet. My husband’s interaction included an invitation to join them sailing around the harbor of Prince Eric’s Castle. Ariel seemed interested in my dress design tastes, and if I’d like to borrow some of her clothes under the sea.

Is Meet Ariel in Her Grotto Open in Magic Kingdom?

Ariel’s Grotto is still at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom but is currently closed. Ariel’s Grotto closed in 2020 because of the pandemic and has since not reopened. Ariel’s Grotto does not have a reopening date set, but we are all waiting. I hope it will reopen so we can meet Princess Ariel again soon.

Is the Bon Voyage Breakfast back yet?

Located on the Boardwalk next to AbracadaBar is where the Bon Voyage breakfast is held. Let's hope it returns soon!
Located on the Boardwalk next to AbracadaBar is where the Bon Voyage breakfast is held. Let’s hope it returns soon!

Disney has not announced a return date for the Bon Voyage Breakfast. Trattoria al Forno hosts breakfast at the Boardwalk Resort. During the breakfast expected visits from Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider.

Can you meet Jodi Benson at Magic Kingdom?

Jodi Benson does come to Disney World often. You will find her in EPCOT for different events, such as the Candlelight Processional. For the 2022 Festival of the Holidays at EPCOT she is not on the list of celebrities. I hope she returns again, as she’s one of my favorite speakers.

Read More: Is the Candlelight Processional and Festival of Holidays Free?

Is Voyage of The Little Mermaid Open 2022?

The Voyage of the Little Mermaid has been shuttered since 2020 in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The Voyage of the Little Mermaid has been shuttered since 2020 in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Voyage of The Little Mermaid is currently closed to guests in 2022. One of the most iconic shows, Voyage of The Little Mermaid, is a fun show that follows the story of The Little Mermaid. This show includes live actors, puppets, water features, and laser light projections. Guests have a chance to see Princess Ariel, Prince Eric, King Triton, and many of Ariel’s undersea friends. Ursula even makes an appearance to sing “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”

Voyage of The Little Mermaid opened in 1992 in the Animation Courtyard Theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Voyage of The Little Mermaid closed at the start of the pandemic. After Hollywood Studios theme park reopened, the show continued to stay closed. The Walt Disney World Parks said the continued closure was due to the update to the live show.

The show was set to reopen in 2023, but there are rumors of it closing. This is due to the Disney website removing all mentions of the Voyage of The Little Mermaid. Many guests and cast members are hoping for the majestic show’s return.

The Vera Bradley store inside of Disney Springs displays Little Mermaid collection.
The Vera Bradley store inside of Disney Springs displays Little Mermaid collection.

Parents and kids alike share a love for the classical tale of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. If you are planning a trip to Disney, make sure to check out the Princess Ariel ride, Under The Sea-Journey of The Little Mermaid. This fun ride is perfect for all ages and a ride you won’t want to skip on your magical day. I hope an announcement for the meet-and-greet with Ariel and the Voyage of The Little Mermaid show returns.

Do you love Disney’s The Little Mermaid? Tell us who your favorite character is from the classic “tail.”

I have to go listen to the sound track now. Ursala’s “poor unfortunate souls” and Ariel singing “Part of your world” are stuck in my head now. That’s the down side sometimes of writing a blog about this great ride. Please don’t ask me to write about It’s a Small World, I can’t take that song getting stuck in my head.

Photo of author

Bayley Clark

An elementary teacher taking every opportunity to go to Florida and explore Disney, Universal, and Orlando. Happy to share the secrets and guides to help make your next trip magical.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment