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Vintage Walt Disney World: Under the Sea for 20 Years at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

This Saturday, Jan. 7, will mark the 20th anniversary of the opening of Voyage of The Little Mermaid at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This 17-minute show invites guests to travel with Ariel underwater for the retelling of the Walt Disney Pictures classic animated movie, “The Little Mermaid.”

Voyage of The Little Mermaid at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Below is a photograph from the grand opening of the attraction with former Walt Disney World Ambassador Dawn Brogan and then Chief of Walt Disney Attractions Dick Nunis.

Grand Opening of the Voyage of The Little Mermaid at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

No matter how many times I’ve seen this show, I still can’t help but to smile and tap my toes when Sebastian and all his friends perform the Academy Award-winning Best Song “Under the Sea.” Plus, while they sing, the entire auditorium is filled with bubbles. And who doesn’t love bubbles?


  • The show IS incredibly dated and in need of a drastic refurbishment…but it still initially is a magical memory to experience!!

    So great to see a theater performance that incorporates so many effects, lighting, puppetry, etc. With today’s technology- the possibilities are endless.

    Imagine what it would feel like to truly be taken for a theatrical journey “under the sea”!!

  • I’m not ashamed to admit that this show brings tears to my eyes . . . almost as much as Finding Nemo does lol. It is a great show!

  • I agree with Mike and really hope that they don’t close it down after the one at MK is finished.

  • It’s one of the best attraction in Hollywood Studios. I can’t wait to see it again with my family and to be sitting in bubbles.

    Julie from Quebec, Canada

  • Im curious, how many Ariels have there been cast in 20 years?

  • saw it the first time when my oldest grandaughter was 4, we went to see it a couple times when we were there….this summer will be the 5th time we have taken her and I believe we will see it again, (if everyone can drag me away from Toy Story Mania)

  • There used to be an incredibly cool effect with the lasers in this show, where they looked like the surface of water (and we were underneath it). And then the surface RAISED UP, making it seem as if we were descending. Hasn’t worked in years, and it is missed!

  • My family and I just saw this last week for the first time. I must say it was a highlight of our entire Disney experience. I hope it stays an attraction.

  • I watched the show today and have seen in many times before. It’s still a great show. I also agree with the commenter above about the quality of the “film” portions of this show — when will it get the digital projection upgrade that some of the other attractions around the resort have received which all looked great by the way (e.g., Muppets, Living with the Land, France and others).

  • I want to see this show so much (I love the Little Mermaid sooooo much) but it was closed when I went to Disney World. :( Maybe next time?

  • So in that top picture, which one can’t breathe: Eric or Flounder?

    • Hahahahaha. Maybe Eric has on invisible scuba diving gear? Those bubbles clearly indicate we’re under the sea.

  • This show is so wonderful!

    I just wish they’d start using preshow again! In which the voice of a crusty old sailor tells you a tale that sets up the show and Triton’s trident glows in anticipation in that amazing room of artifacts. It was my favorite part of the show…

  • I hope they dont close this attraction when the new one is finished in the Magic Kingdom.

  • I’ll always remember riding this in 1997. There was a young boy sitting next to us crying the whole time. His mom explained to us that the previous day he had been on Alien Encounter and was not terrified of any dark ride. Poor thing, but great show!

  • I love the old Disney Afternoon and Father of the Bride billboards in the background!

    • Pretty great stuff, right?

  • Great music, live effects and the bubbles too, but in comparison to Philharmagic, the film in this show is INCREDIBLY dated.

  • I cant wait to watch it on my next trip!

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