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The Original
Ariel’s Grotto

Visit Ariel’s Fantasyland home
at Yester Magic Kingdom Park.
Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Ariel’s Grotto sign

Get your autograph book and PhotoPass card ready. Ariel, the star of The Little Mermaid (1989), invites you and your family to visit her in her very own Grotto.


Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Bronze mermaid

There’s more to Ariel’s Grotto than just a meet-and-greet. A bronze likeness of the mermaid watches over a play area for children.

Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Sebastian and the sea anemones

Kids might want to play around the bed of giant sea anemones if it’s a hot day. As they run around on foam-like pavement, arcs of water will fly over them—perhaps drenching them.

Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

A bench for the parents while the kids play

Have a seat and stay dry.

Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Wait time

The real attraction here is meeting Ariel. But you might have to wait. Ariel is a popular princess.

Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Shell path to Ariel
 

Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Inside the Grotto

You’ve made it to Ariel. Her cave is decorated with colorful sea stars, seaweed, and assorted found objects.

Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Ariel’s PhotoPass photographer

You can sit next to Ariel or stand next to her. However, she can’t stand next to you.


Ariel’s Grotto opened in 1996 at the edge of a large, clear lagoon, which had been the home of the Magic Kingdom’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea from 1971 to 1994.

Disney likes the name “Ariel’s Grotto.” It’s the name of the restaurant that replaced Avalon Cove at Disney California Adventure and it was one of the features of Triton’s Garden at Disneyland Park.

Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 1998

At the edge of the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea lagoon

A waterfall from the top of Ariel’s Grotto poured into the lagoon. It served as the backdrop for a bronze sculpture of Ariel’s father, King Triton, in the lagoon, with water squirting from his trident.

Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom

Photo by Allen Huffman, 1998

From the Skyway

The defunct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction was removed completely in 2004. Although the lagoon was gone, Ariel’s Grotto remained in place—just without King Triton and the waterfall. At some point, the arcs of water in the play area were turned off.

The original Ariel’s Grotto closed April 12, 2010, in preparation for construction of the New Fantasyland, also known as the Fantasyland Forest.

The new Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom Park

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2012

The new Ariel’s Grotto

The New Fantasyland brought a new Ariel’s Grotto in a new location. Despite an official opening date of December 6, 2012, various previews (or “dress rehearsals”) allowed guests to visit Ariel in her new digs beginning in October 2012.

Ariel in the new Ariel’s Grotto at Magic Kingdom Park

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2012

Ariel in her new Grotto

From its external rock work to its interior design, the new Ariel’s Grotto has a level of detail, quality, and “texture” that far exceeds the original version.

Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom Park

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2012

Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

Best of all, Ariel now also has a ride—Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid—adjacent to her Grotto.


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Updated December 28, 2012.