Ariel's Grotto [pinit]
I have to admit that I've never seen the Disney movie called “The Little Mermaid.” Let's be honest, I haven't seen most of the movies that inspire Disney Princesses. So I had no idea what Ariel's Grotto was all about when I entered the line at a Passholder Preview of the new Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. In fact, my only experience with the word “grotto” comes from Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion. I didn't expect to find topless Playmates in a pool, but the line seemed to have a lot more adults than kids. I needed to kill some time while waiting for the sunset, so I got into the line for Ariel's Grotto.
My first though about the new Fantasyland expansion was really very disappointing. I wanted to get an interior shot of the “Be Our Guest” restaurant before it opened. Well, that didn't work. They were already seating people. I still figured I could get my shot and got in line for the folks who just wanted to look at it. Man, what a disappointment! You're led through a line to the side of the restaurant where you have to crane your neck around to get a bad view of the place. I felt like a mouse sneaking a look from a hole in the baseboard. It was very disappointing and I didn't even try to take a photo.
There was a place with a great view of the restaurant under an arch. Unfortunately, the Disney folks put down an edict that no one may pass the velvet rope. I don't blame the castmember, as she's only doing as she was told. It was just a very poor preview of something that I understood was to be a showcase. Guess I was wrong.
Once I got to the end of the line at Ariel's Grotto, that's when I realized that I was in line for a character meet & greet. The folks in front of me were sitting there on her throne getting a picture from the Disney photographer. Apparently you're supposed to chat with her. At least that's what Ariel told me. She kept calling me “Sailor” in this kind of squeaky 1940's movie star voice while slapping her tail around. Very nice girl who talked about things that went right over my head. Perhaps if I'd seen the movie, I'd have done better with our discussion.
Since I was there, I figured I'd get a photo. The environment was bright and colorful, so I decided to do an HDR portrait. The shots fired quickly and I was ready to move out of there, mostly because I didn't want to hold up the folks behind me who probably were more eager to visit in Ariel's Grotto than me. However, she struck up a conversation and kept me there a while longer. Those Disney girls like me.