Ariel's Grotto - Home of the Little Mermaid
Would you like to meet the Little Mermaid? Ariel's Grotto is the place. This is the place to see, talk to, and even get an autograph from the Little Mermaid herself.
Ariel now has her own digs. Right in Prince Eric's beautiful castle and right next to The Little Mermaid ride. Take the ride then come next door and see her live and in color.
Time to go under the sea
Photo by Joe Shiabotnik
Ariel's playground is located in the brand new Enchanted Forest section of Fantasyland called the Enchanted Forest. It's right behind Cinderella Castle as you walk down Main Street. You can't miss Prince Eric's Castle and the grotto is as far down the path as you can go just past Under the Sea - Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
Ariel - The Little Mermaid
Photo by wbeem
Ariel's Grotto, what is it?
Several years ago Disney noticed that people were clamoring for autographs, pictures with, and time with Disney characters. So someone came up with the bright idea to make a specific are where guests could come and meet the characters. Ariel presented a problem for Disney. There was no way for her to appear in her mermaid form. So they created an area where Ariel could be seen and made it look like she had a tail.
Here is a whole new world for the Little Mermaid. This is where everyone can come see, talk to, take pictures with, get autographs from, the Little Mermaid herself. Each group is given a short time (about 5 minutes) to spend with Ariel. You can take your own pictures, or a handy dandy Photopass photographer will be there to gladly assist you.
The old waiting area used to be a wet playground. Now in Ariel's Grotto, you wait for your turn in a dark (not too dark) cool cave.
The Entrance to Ariel's Grotto
Dad's Ride Information Table
|Description: Character Greeting Area|
|Height Requirement - none||FASTPASS:no||Length of Ride: about 5 minutes|
|Type of ride: Character greeting|
Avoiding the lines
Ariel's Grotto will have long lines. That's a fact of life. A great way to find out how to avoid lines at the Magic Kingdom attractions is to check out the latest from Touringplans.com. They literally wrote the book on lines at Disney World (their Lines app is great).
The Old Playground
Photo by The Consortium
Ariel's Grotto first opened in 1996 as a place to meet Ariel in her mermaid form. It was complete with a water playground (the only part of the old attraction that might be missed). It closed in 2010 to make room for the New Fantasyland (it was located around where the Beast's Castle is now.)
The new Enchanted Forest section of Fantasyland where Ariel's Grotto is located reopened officially on December 6, 2012 (soft opening October 12). The current location is smack dab in the middle of where the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride used to be.
- Those lines continue to be long throughout the day. Usually, the best time to visit is late in the evening or during one of the parades.
- If you happen to be at Disney World during a slow time, you might still encounter a little crowd here. Sometimes even when the rest of the park is slow Ariel backs up.
- This area is accessible by wheelchair.
Book your trip today
You won't want to miss this. In fact, you might just want to jump in your jet and fly down to Disney World and see Ariel today. Don't have a jet? Sorry. You could always just check out Dad's Destinations to Travel page and get started on a Perfect Vacation today.
Dad's Bottom Line
The New Fantasyland is awesome. Prince Eric's Castle looks amazing and it's great that Ariel has a place to call her own. Little (and not so little) girls will flock to this place. Get there early to get great pictures and an autograph.