Thrifty Thursday: Voyage of the Little Mermaid

One of my favorite attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is The Voyage of the Little Mermaid. We used to enjoy this show as a family but now my macho big boys have outgrown it for more thrills. So, it has evolved into one of the special mother-daughter activities that Kristen and I share at the parks. This indoor show is Disney at its best!

This 17-minute show is presented every 20 minutes beginning at 9:45am. Located in Animation Courtyard, which is typically a high-traffic area, the crowds start to develop after the first or second showing. So, try to see the show before lunch as the crowds get bigger as the day goes on. VOLM does have Fast Pass service, but you will notice that, unlike most FP attractions that have 1-hour windows, the Voyage of the Little Mermaid has a 10 minute return window. Be sure to look at your FP ticket closely so you will not miss your return time.The line for this show gathers outside under the shade of the building. Roughly the front third of the guests in the queuing area will be allowed in for the next show (sometimes it is more like half). Guests in the back half of the queuing area will likely have to wait through two showings before being allowed into the theater.

Once inside, you will be waiting again in the lobby before the doors to the auditorium open. The nautical theme in the lobby displays a cute undersea exhibit. The waiting can seem pretty long when everyone is crammed in there, but the theater holds a lot of people so once you are inside the lobby area, you are guaranteed a seat.

You will notice that once the doors open, many visitors rush on in. Don’t be in a huge hurry as everyone will be expected to move all the way to the end of their selected row. We usually take our time then pick a row that looks like we might end up toward the middle.

Hints on seat location: The stage is elevated, so small children will not be able to see well in the front rows. The middle and rear sections of the theater offer the best viewing of the entire stage, as well as all the special effects. If your child is very small, his or her best vantage point will be on your lap. This might help in several other ways, as the theater gets quite dark and the scene with Ursula gets pretty intense for very young ones.

Once you are comfortably seated, you will hear a familiar announcement about no flash photography, silencing cell phones, no eating or drinking in the theater, etc. Then, you will be ready for the show. Right at the beginning, you will be transported to an underwater adventure when a curtain of water showers from the stage and you are sprayed with a light mist to create the illusion of being under the sea.

This show uses a unique combination of dynamic puppetry, live performance, film clips and special effects, all combined to provide an abbreviated version of The Little Mermaid movie. In my opinion, the show has been brilliantly constructed by the imagineers. They have used glow-in-the-dark puppets and great music. They have also incorporated lasers, projectors, and awesome water effects, in addition to the mist at the beginning. The puppetry is excellent and the acting and singing are quite good as well.

The show opens with Sebastian, along with 100 black-light ocean friend puppets who perform the familiar and upbeat tune, “Under the Sea.” This opening is really well done and the kids in the audience really seem to enjoy it; as do I. You are soon introduced to Ariel and her human love, Eric. Like the movie, the storyline follows their meeting and falling in love, as well as the evil sea witch, Ursula, who hopes to steal Ariel’s voice. During the show, this gigantic puppet Ursula, who is 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls” with a loud, thunderous voice. I have seen a few little ones frightened by this, so the lap seat is helpful here.

After Ursula steals Ariel’s voice, clips from the movie show in sequence as to what happened to this giant sea witch, and Ariel is transformed into a human girl to live happily ever after with Eric.

The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a great show! If you like Mickey’s Philharmagic at MK and It’s Tough To Be a Bug at AK, then you will enjoy this one as well. It is nice to take a rest, enjoy the air conditioning, and see a well done, musical feast for the senses. Children love it, and so do my grown-up daughter and I. It is a must-do on our trips to Walt Disney World.  I hope you will enjoy it too!

Special Needs Notes:

  • Wheelchair and ECV accessible (you will not have to transfer)
  • Service Animals Allowed
  • Assistive listening devices and reflective captioning devices are available for this show from Guest Services.

Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.

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