At the D23 Expo '11, there was a presentation about the making of the Little Mermaid attraction at Disney California Adventure.
Taking place in Stage 28
Imagineers on stage - Larry Nikolai, Lisa Girolami, and Chris Crump
Once upon a time... there was a Little Mermaid
Little Mermaid is the first of the "modern classics" of the Disney Animation
Get the story first and everything else will follow. Decided to hinged the attraction off the musical numbers
"It'd be cool if one of Ursula's tentacles came up and slapped the vehicle and made it spin around"
Starting to get serious with what the the show spaces will look like.
Amazing how much of the rough sketch design was kept almost in tact throughout 3 years of development
For the finale scene, it's hard to do a day time scene in a dark ride. So it was decided to do an evening reception. One of the original animators of "The Little Mermaid" liked the evening reception idea so the Imagineers were happy
1inch to the 1foot scale model. The model is built up on separate section tables at eye level, so the Imagineers can "walk thru" the attraction and see how Guests will see the final result attraction. It's easy to change things during a "ride thru" a model than to wait until it's finally built and see the problems
Sculptures process taking place
The 1inch by the foot model of Eric at the base of the sculpture. In the movie the Eric statue had it's other knee up, but it would be blocking the show scene. So it was modified with the other knee up.
Using Cell Phone projector image technology for Sebastian's eye. Imagineers also had to figure out how to have the mechanism for the mouth and the ribbon that has to go down through for the data not get tangled.
Sebastian has a metal head so that it wouldn't melt due to the heat from the projection and the motor for the mouth
1" to 12" model in color which was scanned
Making sure the characters did not interfere with the steal frame
Make a CGI of Ariel's hair. When the animators were doing research for the film, they used tanks with water with actress swimming and taking notes of the hair moving. But it wasn't until they saw footage of astronaut Sally Ride in space that they saw how the hair moved that the wanted that movement
When Triton's Garden at Disneyland was changed out, the statue was saved. The Imagineers wanted to use the statue, and it was decided to place it on top. But the original bronze statue was too heavy for the building structure, so a replica that looks like bronze was used.
It was nice to finally have the construction wall gone
This production was in "International Production" -
The ride system was built in Osaka, Japan
Sets were built in Calgary, Canada
All the little pieces come to together in the end
No eyes are painted on the pieces until they are brought into the attraction building so they know where they are looking to the Guests
Lots of Lips in the shot
Working at the W.D.I. facility in North Hollywood. W.D.I. wanted some more detail on Ariel's dress because in the movie there wasn't much. Next time you go on the attraction, look at her dress and you will see some great detail of seahorses and seashell patterns
King Triton is a funny character. Seeing him without his hair and beard, he has a massive torso and hands, but his head is too small.
An 86 foot mural for the attraction in the tradition of the dark rides over in Fantasyland at Disneyland. Larry painted a 1" to 12' model piece ( or 86 inches) at the studio and he painted every little bit of that. One of his paint brushes had one hair which was dipped in paint and used for Ariel's eyelash, which was pretty amazing. The 86 foot hand painted canvas was installed at the attraction in one day.
Building the pieces for the attraction in some of the coldest places
All the production work finally gets shipped to Anaheim
This fish looks like something from "The Simpsons". The particular fish was painted before installation, and he was not looking where he should be. So they had to fix it.
King Triton without the facial hair
The Grotto was studied from the film and many significant props that relate to the movie and song are incorporated into the show scene.
Thanks for stopping by
Until Next Time...