Are your children (or perhaps you) a huge fan of Disney’s Ariel, The Little Mermaid? Are you planning a trip to Disney World and want to ensure a photo op with the underwater princess during your stay at this magical theme park and resort? Then you’ve come to just the right place.
Ariel is a classic character that is beloved by many generations of Disney fans; Not only was she my wife’s favorite princess as a child, but now she is my children’s favorite, as well! There are many places in the park you may be able to find Ariel on occasion, there is only one guaranteed place to get her autograph and capture a photograph, Ariel’s Grotto in Fantasyland, located within Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. This location has been set up as a permanent meet-and-greet area for The Little Mermaid. Here, you can get Ariel’s autograph; Disney’s PhotoPass photographers are readily available to take pictures using their own cameras, or yours. You can use the stand-by entrance, or even get a FastPass reservation for Ariel’s Grotto.
Ariel’s Grotto is open in the morning, and in the evening during Extra Magic Hours. If you are not planning to visit the Magic Kingdom during these times on your trip to Disney World, there is still a chance you can still meet Ariel.
The Little Mermaid has been known to make occasional appearances at several locations within the park:
- Ariel’s Grotto Is the Only Guaranteed Place In the Park to Meet Ariel
- The BonVoyage Adventure Breakfast
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
- Where Can We See Ariel In Her Other Human-Form Appearances?
- Where Can We See the Film Version of Ariel in a Disney Attraction?
- Where Can We See Ariel’s Likeness?
Ariel’s Grotto Is the Only Guaranteed Place In the Park to Meet Ariel
Ariel’s Grotto, which has become a permanent meet-and-greet location for the famous mermaid is situated within the Fantasyland section of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. This spot is open in the morning, as well as the evening during Extra Magic Hours. Guarantee yourself and your family a meeting with Disney’s Little Mermaid, by visiting this popular spot!
If you do not have your own camera- no worries- PhotoPass photographers are available at this attraction to document this unique event for you! While a stand-by entrance is available, it is highly recommended that you utilize your FastPass (if you have one) for this attraction, as the line tends to move slowly. However, keep in mind the lines move slowly at Ariel’s Grotto because The Little Mermaid likes to take time with each one of her guests.
The potentially long wait is well worth the payoff when your little one gets the opportunity to speak with their favorite princess! Not to mention the photo and autograph you receive during this visit will last a lifetime! If you are hoping to get in and out as quickly as possible, it is best to aim to visit this attraction first thing in the morning, or in the evening just before the park closes.
The BonVoyage Adventure Breakfast
The BonVoyange Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, located on Disney’s Boardwalk boasts Ariel as well as her beloved Prince Eric as two of their regular breakfast guests! They, along with other beloved Disney characters make their way from table to table greeting guests as they dine. While this casual, traditional Italian restaurant is open for lunch and dinner as well, it is only at breakfast that Ariel makes an appearance in human form to take photos and sign autographs for guests!
Here, not only will you find The Little Mermaid, but irresistibly delicious breakfast options with an Italian flair, including ‘King Triton’s Shipwreck al Forno’ featuring scrambled eggs, bell peppers, salami, bacon, sausage, a blend of cheeses and ‘Sunday gravy’ all inside a calzone. For more villainous guests, Trattoria al Forno also offers ‘Ursula’s Cauldron’, breakfast potatoes topped with fennel sausage, fonduta, and crispy onions. For the parents whose adorable children are getting on their last nerve during their Disney World vacation, this restaurant also offers breakfast Mimosas, Sangria, Bloody Mary’s, Bellinis, and Iced Italian (alcoholic) Coffee with breakfast.
It is easy to access any Disney park from Trattoria al Forno using the Disney bus or boat system, however, unless you are staying at a resort in the Epcot area, it will be easier to take a car, Uber, or taxi to get there. This restaurant even accepts some Disney meal plans (check to make sure yours is accepted there!). As with any Disney World Eatery, reserve FAR in advance (around 180 days in advance) for breakfast reservations to ensure your children have the opportunity to meet Ariel (and to make sure you have the opportunity to get an “Italian Coffee” before you begin your long day at the park)!
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Cinderella’s Royal Table, located within Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World is a wonderful eatery destination for your trip. with unsurpassed ambiance. Having the unique opportunity of entering Cinderella’s Castle for a meal is a wonderful experience for any child or adult. Due to this, advance reservations are highly encouraged! During your visit, you will meet three to four Disney characters, however, there is absolutely no guarantee that one of these characters will be Ariel. While she has been known to make appearances in the castle, if meeting Ariel is at the top of your family’s to-do list, you are better off scheduling a visit to Ariel’s Grotto or the BonVoyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
The Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot (Norway) is designed as a Medieval Castle with cathedral ceilings and archways that are larger-than-life. It’s Princess Storybook Dining experience, features either Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, or Ariel, who will make their rounds greeting guests, posing for photographs, and signing autographs. Again, there is no guarantee your party will be graced with The Little Mermaid’s presence and advanced reservations are highly recommended. While staff may be able to give you a guess at which princess will be in attendance on the day of your reservation, all appearances are subject to change; After all, these princesses must attend to their kingdoms, sometimes at very short notice.
Where Can We See Ariel In Her Other Human-Form Appearances?
Ariel makes appearances in her human-form in many other areas of the park; however, at these locations and events, she is not available for photo ops, autographs, or personal interactions. But, if you are looking to see her again, from a further distance, make sure to check out:
- Voyage of The Little Mermaid (live show)
- Festival of Fantasy Parade
- Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
Voyage of The Little Mermaid (live show)
This 17-minute show incorporating both live performers and large, colorful puppets is available in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park and features favorite scenes from the film, performed live. This is a wonderful show for both children and adults. Of the adult’s “favorite features” with this show is the fact that the venue is well-air conditioned. During the busy season, FastPasses are also available for this attraction.
Festival of Fantasy Parade
Every day at 3:00 PM (Disney World-Time, of course), you can see Ariel in her own float at the Festival of Fantasy Parade in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!
Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
Although this parade is only seasonal (over Christmas Break), if you find yourself in Disney World during this time, don’t miss Ariel’s limited engagement in Disney World’s magical Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!
Where Can We See the Film Version of Ariel in a Disney Attraction?
Under The Sea, Journey of The Little Mermaid
This 7-minute, slow-moving ride which is appropriate for all ages (including the hearing impaired and guests with special needs) is located in Prince Eric’s Castle in the Fantasyland section of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The interactive queue for this ride resembles a sea cavern and features digital screens with various activities to keep everyone waiting occupied, or get a FastPass for this ride so you don’t have to wait! Ride in a clamshell to view 183 characters from ‘The Little Mermaid’, an ‘Under the Sea’ sequence, and even a 7.5 ft tall, 12 ft. wide Ursula animatronic! Just make sure she doesn’t steal your voice!
This enchanting 12-minute, 3D movie features many Disney scenes, music, and characters, including ‘Part Of Your World’ as seen in Disney’s The Little Mermaid! View Ariel’s Grotto in this one-of-a-kind visual experience available in The Magic Kingdom!
Where Can We See Ariel’s Likeness?
- Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A.
- In Disney Springs (Formerly Downtown Disney)
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A.
Located in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park, the Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A. is home to a ‘The Little Mermaid’ window display, featuring Ariel.
In Disney Springs (Formerly Downtown Disney)
The World of Disney Store at Disney Springs has a beautiful Ariel sculpture suspended from its ceiling.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort at Disney World has an entire Little Mermaid Section, making it the perfect place to stay on vacation for families who love ‘The Little Mermaid’. The rooms in this part of the resort hold two double beds and are able to accommodate up to four guests, plus one baby crib.
Additionally, the food court in this resort has a Little Mermaid area. The women’s restroom in the resort’s lobby is even occupied by a large portrait of Ariel, herself!
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
At Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, a statue of Ariel can always be found lounging by the hotel pool’s piano.
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
The courtyard of Disney’s Beach Club Villas is home to yet another statue of The Little Mermaid.
Make sure you have every chance to catch the elusive Disney Mermaid Princess during your trip, by reading this guide! We will help you spot her everywhere you go within Disney World, even in the most unlikely of places!