Princess Ariel is the star of Disney’s classic animated film, The Little Mermaid. She’s one of the most popular of Disney’s fleet of young royals. Like many other favorite Disney characters, you can meet her in person at some of the company’s theme parks.
If you or your kiddos have their hearts set on meeting Ariel, you can make it a priority by learning the best places to meet her at Walt Disney World, located outside Orlando, Florida.
Below, discover everywhere in the parks and throughout the property to meet Princess Ariel (and some of her friends!).
The Best Place to Meet Ariel: Ariel’s Grotto
Without a doubt, the best place to meet Ariel in Walt Disney World is Ariel’s Grotto. You’ll find Ariel’s Grotto in the Magic Kingdom theme park in Fantasyland, next to the attraction Under the Sea: Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
Ariel is in the grotto most of the day, from the park open to close. Disney employs multiple actors to play Ariel and interact with guests in character.
The nice thing about meeting Ariel in her grotto is that she’s in her mermaid costume. At the restaurants, she’s usually in her human form, which can make it more challenging for little kids to recognize.
Ariel’s grotto is covered, as is much of the line area. That way, it’s not too uncomfortable if it’s hot and sunny or rainy, as it often is in central Florida.
There are two ways to get into the grotto. You can wait in the standby line or make a Lightning Lane reservation with Genie+.
It’s difficult to gauge the wait time if you choose to queue. Check your My Disney Experience App or ask a cast member how long you can expect to wait.
Can you use Genie+ for Ariel’s Grotto?
Yes, you can use Genie+ to make a Lightning Lane reservation for Ariel’s Grotto. If you have a child in your party whose heart is set on meeting Ariel, it’s well worth it to go ahead and make the reservation.
Lightning Lane reservations for the grotto usually don’t sell out until later, so you don’t necessarily have to use your first one. But keep an eye on how late the reservation times creep, so you don’t miss the window you want.
Character Dining with Ariel
Another way to guarantee some face time with Princess Ariel is to reserve character dining at one of the venues she attends.
FYI: Ariel and Prince Eric used to join diners at Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno at the Boardwalk Inn. That event has not returned, but it still might.
Cinderella’s Royal Table: Magic Kingdom
In the Magic Kingdom, eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table. This elegant restaurant sits inside Cinderella’s iconic castle at the park’s center. Once you enter the restaurant, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale.
In addition to Ariel, you can meet Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White, and Aurora.
Cinderella’s Royal Table serves a price fixe menu. Adults choose an appetizer, entree, and dessert. The fixed price is on the steep side (over $60 for adults, not including alcohol), but worth it for the experience. The food is also excellent!
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: Epcot
Princess Ariel is also one of the hosts at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot theme park. This venue is open for dinner (starting at 2:45 PM) in the Norway Pavilion in the World Showcase section of the park.
You won’t just meet Princess Ariel at Akershus but several other members of Disney’s royal entourage. You can also expect to meet Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, and sometimes Princess Jasmine.
Seeing Ariel in the Parks
While you’re unlikely to run into a cast member dressed as Ariel on your adventures through the other parks, Ariel and her story are visible throughout them. If you have a Little Mermaid lover in your family, you’ll need these on your list of must-dos.
Ariel’s Grotto is next to the attraction, Under the Sea: Voyage of the Little Mermaid. You’ll go through Prince Eric’s coastal castle to experience Ariel’s story in your clam car.
You should also watch Mickey’s Philharmagic. In this 3D show, Donald Duck embarks on an enchanted adventure through some of Disney’s classic musical scenes. One of them includes our favorite mermaid and some of her pals.
Magic Kingdom also does parades almost daily, weather permitting. Many favorite characters make appearances on their floats. Ariel usually has one.
Lastly, the Magic Kingdom does special seasonal ticketed events with extra characters, often including Princess Ariel and Prince Eric. Check out Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
There’s one more attraction that features Princess Ariel prominently. You can watch the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, a 17-minute live show with modified scenes and songs from the film.
Also, in Hollywood Studios, there’s an evening show called Fantasmic! Both Ariel and Prince Eric appear in this spectacular event.
Other Ariel Citings
There are a few other places to check out if you love The Little Mermaid:
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has an entire wing dedicated to the film. There are enormous character statues outside by one of the pools that are perfect for a photo opportunity.
- The Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A., often has a Little Mermaid window display.
- There’s a statue of Ariel at the Piano Pool at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort.
- Ariel’s bronze statue is in the courtyard at the Beach Club Villas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Check out these answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about meeting Ariel at Disney World.
Will Ariel talk to you when you meet her?
Yes! She interacts with guests.
Can you take pictures or videos with Ariel?
It’s encouraged. Disney wants you to capture the moment.
Which other princesses can you meet in Walt Disney World?
You can meet many princesses in Disney World: Jasmin, Bella, Snow White, and Mulan, among others.
Does Ariel ever do surprise or unscheduled meet and greets?
It’s rare, but it can happen. Look for special events or days when Disney might staff extra face characters.
Meet Your Favorite Characters in Walt Disney World
A lot of the magic of visiting Walt Disney World is seeing your favorite characters come to life in their worlds and ours. If Ariel is at the top of your list, you know exactly where to meet her!
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
Featured in Travel articles such as Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy and SFGate, you know you're reading some of the best vacation tips online.