D23 Expo & The Little Mermaid Ride – Behind the Scenes

Check out more pictures after the recap!

On aboard! Next stop – the making of The Little Mermaid ride! The film was 22 years old until it opened at DCA this year. As the creative team says, “It always starts with a story.” How do you get an hour and a half film in five minutes? What the creative group did was focus on the musical numbers. An interactive process that in early concept ideas had some crazy unforeseen adventures.

All of these photos have never been seen by the public before! Blue line drawings are an animators rough draft drawings in these photos. In the attraction they wanted a “dark ride” attraction.

Here is a tidbit. So at the ending of the ride people will realize that it’s at night, with fireworks, and not on a ship like the original film. So when the concept came on the table to do a night time scene instead of in the daylight and on the boat, it actually worked out. So much so, original screen play and artist of the film were saying “We should of done a night time scene.”

Imagineers create a half foot to a foot model constructed on a transportable table. It then can then be placed in the unfinished build of the ride at eye level so Imagineers and designers can physically see where in the ride these unfinished sets will be placed.

A way to get visual production and sculpting production to look the same they used a new technology to scan sculptures to match what the CGI will look like.

Sebastian’s moving eyes are actually cell phone projection screens placed inside a metal framed head! Because his body and eyes are so tiny, the team experimented inevitably discovering that the challenge was successfully accomplished by screens normally found on smartphones.

A way for Imagineers to get the eyes in the correct direction in actual ride-build-setting is to complete a sculpture and leave them unfinsihed, in a zombie state, with just white eyes and no pupils.

Hearing the team talk about how they went from start to finish was awesome. Everyone in the room was in a state of “that is the coolest s***” ever.” No doubt there should have been buckets placed for people to drip the drool draining from open mouths of astonishment. When all was said and done, the crowd erupted in appreciation and thanked the team member panel, along with a few construction crew in the crowd. “To all who come to this happy place: Welcome!”

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