Yesterday, I finally got to see the new rides at Disneyland: the highly enjoyable, though motion sickening Star Tours update and the Little Mermaid dark ride. There’s a lot to like about the new Little Mermaid ride, from the sophisticated modeling used for animatronic Ursula to Ariel making the face in the header above. I imagine her saying, “you fish sure like to break into calypso songs… for some reason?”
However, in telling the story of The Little Mermaid in theme park ride form, they removed a very important piece of the story. No, I’m not referring to the part of the film where Sabastian runs in terror from a French chef, though that was awesome. I’m speaking about the cutting of most of the second and third acts. Now, I realize that cutting down a feature film to a few scenes/rooms must be extremely difficult, but the cuts they made radically affect the story in a hilarious way.
A brief summary of how the ride’s story goes: we open with Scuttle the seagull, animation’s most remembered character, beginning to tell Ariel’s story. We jump to Ariel singing “Part of Your World,” then a sophisticated recreation of “Under The Sea,” one of the best rebuttal songs of all-time. This is quickly followed by “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” Via screens, we see Ariel sign the agreement, then get a pair of hot legs. We jump to the “Kiss The Girl” lake, and then we see this…
The voice in her throat forms a heart around Ariel and Eric. Meanwhile, there’s a giant furious Ursula way in the background, to the right. Uh… huh. (After that, we get the happy ending room where Ariel and Eric are married with Triton’s blessing, and Scuttle has a little more to say. That Scuttle!)
So, according to the Little Mermaid ride, here is Ariel’s story:
- Ariel is a mermaid who wants to be human.
- Sebastian the Crab is all, like, “not a good idea, doll-face.”
- Ursula sells her on the ol’ voice / legs trade.
- Ariel has a romantic moment with Eric.
- Ariel somehow still has her voice, she kisses Eric and Ursula is angry.
- Ariel and Eric get married – the end!
The way the ride tells the story, there are no consequences for making a bad deal with a shady person. Ultimately, Ariel gets exactly what she wants without having suffered the slightest anxiety. I think this story is analogous to a rich, underage girl who gets a boob job. She wants a boob job, a family friend says it’s a bad idea, but she gets one anyway from a shady surgeon. This guy she likes dates her because she got the boob job, she has sex with the dude and let’s say the surgeon maybe gets arrested for working on an underage girl, so the surgeon’s upset. The couple gets married, and there’s a talking seagull. The end!
A quick fix? Add one more room at the end, showing Ariel ultimately went to hell, like in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. There’s no moral ambiguity hellfire can’t solve!
Geoffrey Golden is the Editor in Chief of The Devastator: The Quarterly Comedy Magazine For Humans! Images via wdwphotography and harshlight.