Exclusive: Chat with Imagineers behind-the-scenes, under the sea, and on board The Little Mermaid dark ride

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Mermaid Interview

We’ve taken you to the grand opening of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and on a trip through the ride itself, but now it’s time to learn more about how this long-awaited experience came to be.

Just after the new dark ride’s grand opening at Disney California Adventure, I spoke to Walt Disney Imagineering Project Manager Frank Antonides about how a ride based on The Little Mermaid finally moved from concept to completion after more than two decades of planning:

Then I hopped into a clamshell and journeyed under the sea with Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Show Programmer Ethan Reed to find out more about how Ariel, Ursula, Sebastian, and all the other characters come to life:

Reed is now working on the upcoming Orlando version of the ride and Mystic Manor for Hong Kong Disneyland. He also offered that there will be a “few surprises” in the Walt Disney World version of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

Later, I sat down with Walt Disney Imagineers Larry Nikolai and Lisa Girolami to further chat about why the ride ended up at Disney California Adventure instead of Disneyland Park and what’s in store for the Walt Disney World version of the attraction in Florida:

And now that you’ve learned all about the creation of the new ride based on The Little Mermaid, hop in a clamshell and take a spin around the attraction:

The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure is now officially open at Disney California Adventure. A similar attraction will open sometime in 2012/2013 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., as part of the New Fantasyland expansion.

Related : What is Disney Doing to the ‘Little Mermaid’ Attraction at DCA?

For THe Little Mermaid Merchandise, Click here to shop.

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