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All in the Details: Head Under the Sea to Visit Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom Park

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Many fans of “The Little Mermaid” have been asking for a mermaid-related update over the past few weeks, so today we’re happy to share the first look inside Ariel’s Grotto, a new character greeting location coming to New Fantasyland.


As you can see, Ariel will greet guests in mermaid form, seated on a giant seashell throne. The grotto will be located within the base of the seaside cliffs upon which Prince Eric’s Castle sits, but is separate from the Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid attraction.

This character greeting will debut with the rest of New Fantasyland for a preview period beginning November 19, and then a grand opening on December 6.

What do you think? Will you visit Ariel when New Fantasyland opens?

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and follow @WaltDisneyWorld on Twitter for the latest on the New Fantasyland expansion. While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #NewFantasyland.

Want to see more of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park? Take a look at the posts below:


  • Any info on that Passholder Preview yet? Will I get an email/letter about it? I just bought my passes in August, so I’m new to this! Super excited though!! 😀

  • I will be there nov 23- dec 2nd any change of me getting to see some of the New Fantasyland in MK

  • Ariel is one of the best character helpers in the Kingdom Keepers so i can’t wait to see her new spot! After all i did stand in line at her old grotto for my sister!

  • This is indeed great news. I always make it a priority to see Ariel before any other character in the Magic Kingdom because she was the one character who gave me the confidence to meet all her other Disney character friends. I would love to be able to share that video memory on the “Share your Disney Memories” part of this site.

  • Waiting to plan the trip for the Passholder’s preview of the new fantasyland. Any idea when the date will be announced? Thank you!

    • No info on this yet…

  • SOOO EXCITED! We have been waiting to see Ariel with her fins:)
    We have also been holding off on booking our next trip so we would get to enjoy the Journey of the Little Mermaid. With the free dining promo in November, I couldn’t wait any longer…so we will be there Nov.23-29. Any chance there will be a preview of the ride then? Please:)

  • This looks great! I can’t wait to meet Ariel in mermaid form again… it’s been a long time! Is there any chance that this meet-and-greet will have a Fastpass like the Mickey Mouse one? I remember the LONG lines at the old Grotto.

    I agree with everyone who wants to keep Prince Eric. Please bring back Flynn Rider too, and keep Naveen out as well! I love meeting the princes. It’s one of my favorite things to do in WDW!

  • Every time you post something new about The Little Mermaid, I am overcome with emotion and start crying. That’s good. Keep going! Maybe we can get me to cry again.:)

    • I’m happy you’re excited, Kyra.

  • I cant wait to visit Ariel during the Princess 1/2 marathon weekend, after I finish the race!

    • Best of luck. Have a great race.

  • Yes! I like the concept drawing for this meet very much and it looks like we wll be heading under the sea to see Ariel! Thanks!

    • Great to hear!

  • i miss this at disneyland!

  • I am really excited for this. The Little Mermaid is my top favorite Disney movie and Princess as well as my all time favorite childhood fairy tale story. She is also my families favorite Princess along with Rapunzel. I really like that they have decided to have her in her mermaid form too. We are all looking forward to seeing her and getting photos taken with her this December!

  • Super excited to introduce my daughters to Ariel and hopefully Eric too!!

  • Any idea as to when they will send out the emails for the pass-holder preview offer?

    • Let me ask for an update.

  • i love disney its beautiful

  • It was always nice when my daughter was able to say hello to Ariel at her grotto at Disneyland. Now that it’s become Pixie Hollow, my daughter loves saying hi to Tink and her fairy friends. But we’re looking forward to the new Ariel’s Grotto at The Magic Kingdom!

  • Can’t wait to see it! Gonna be there on February 2013!

    • Fun!

  • So incredibly exciting! What a wonderful surprise to learn that Ariel will be in her new greeting spot for the December opening, and even more special that she’ll be in her fins! Thanks for making my day!

  • How do you find out about the preview period? we will be in Orlando during that time – thanks!

    • Preview period (for all guests) opens Nov. 19. This just means that the attraction may have limited operating hours.

  • If you look at Disney California Adventure, the ride is going to look just like that one. You can even You tube it. This ride is new to Disney World, not new to Disney

    • You are correct, the interior is very similar.

  • My daughter turned three today and we will be there for our second trip this year Dec 10th cant wait we were excited when we were there in march

  • Wow, I can’t wait for this expansion to open, especially Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and Ariel’s Grotto. Thank you for featuring that section in the post this week.

    I have a similar question to what others have asked. Will we see any other Little Mermaid characters besides Ariel available for Meet and Greets??? Prince Eric would be great, but I would LOVE to see Sebastian in a Meet and Greet. I mean Sebastian’s a part of the Move It, Shake it, Celebrate it Street Party in Magic Kingdom, but I don’t recall him ever being part of a Meet and Greet. Any chance of that happening?

  • Jennifer…Thank you so much for this post. It’s so exciting for us Little Mermaid fans to see new information and details about that area of the expansion. PLEASE keep sharing more information on the Little Mermaid areas of the expansion in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to hear more.

    • Will do. I think I have some fun updates coming for you mermaid fans. 🙂

  • Can we expect to see Prince Eric around the castle?

  • Nice to have Ariel back off her, whatcha call ’em, “feet” after all these years–
    The old Grotto next to the 20K Leagues lake was a small, cozy closeup site for photos, but the art makes this like it’ll be huge for background scenery. Ot at least larger than her old outdoor shell at Disneyland.

  • Oh my god!! This is absolutely fantastic, the pics are fantastic and the expansion is fantastic. I can’t wait to see Ariel in the New Fantasyland. I’m a big fan of the little mermaid , I’ve been dreaming with this news since I was born!! Thank you Jennifer! you’re the best
    Kisses 😉

    • Thank you!

  • This is one thing that I am happy will not yet be opened for our trip in October. I glad we’ll be able to meet Ariel with Prince Eric one last time. The princes really need more representation in the parks besides at the special ticket events.

  • This is so cool. Any chance we’ll meet Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle there too? Thanks for these updates, Jennifer. I really can’t wait to be there.

  • We are going to be at the parks the week of Nov. 15 – 25th. We can’t wait to see all the new additions. Hopefully the Grotto with Ariel will be open when we come.

  • Sounds like an awesome time with Ariel, She is my daughter’s favorite Princess, we will be there. And looking for Prince Eric too..

  • This reminds me a bit of how Ariel greets guests when she’s at Tokyo Disney Sea. The Mermaid Lagoon there is so lovely; it’ll be neat to see how this new area WDW compares!

  • Please keep Prince Eric in the park as a regular daily meet-and-greet character in the Little Mermaid area as well, even if he’s not necessarily in the Grotto with Ariel.

  • Of course. As I said in other post not fail to see anything. It will be great to have a new photo with Ariel. My daughter got one when we went on our first trip and she was 4 years old. The joy and excitement increases every week with the news. Crazy to arrive in December.

  • How exciting! The Ariel attraction is the one our daughter is most excited to see when we are there in December, and this will just make it even more special to her! Since we will be there during the preview period, we will have to make sure to check the times when we are there so we don’t miss this! 🙂

    • Best of luck Amanda!

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