It’s not every day that we hear rumors of a mold infestation at Disney attractions, but this could be the reason why one classic experience has remained closed at Walt Disney World.
When the Walt Disney World Resort first reopened earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, several attractions, restaurants, and unique experiences remained closed. Since 2020, most areas of the Walt Disney World Resort have reopened, while sadly a couple have stayed closed (perhaps permanently as some have been removed from Disney’s website).
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At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Voyage of the Little Mermaid is one of the attractions that never reopened along with the rest of the Disney Park in 2020. The stage show, which opened in 1992 as an adaptation of The Little Mermaid (1989) was admittedly showing its age when Disney World shut down at the onset of the pandemic, but it was still a popular experience for Guests as it was something the whole family could do forever (perhaps save for little ones who were not especially excited to see Ursula, the story’s villain.)
The live musical performance was a 17-minute experience located in the Animation Courtyard featuring all of the iconic characters from the film including Ariel, Prince Eric, King Triton, Sebastian, Flounder, Scuttle, and of course, Ursula with her rendition of “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” The show used singers, dancers, and puppeteers along with brightly colored sets and lighting effects, along with water effects (that ultimately may have led to the show’s…decay…but more on that soon.)
In the months and now years since the Park reopened, benches that appear to be permanent have been placed in what used to be the exterior queue for the attraction, and Disney has taken all mentions of Voyage of the Little Mermaid off of its official website. All this to say, fans have begun to realize that the show may be permanently closed, but they may be surprised to learn one possible reason why….
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According to several reports on social media, the real reason for the prolonged closure of Voyage of the Little Mermaid is not as simple as the show was losing popularity or that it was dated and in need of an overhaul (which at least subjectively was very true.) Rather, the buzz online from users who may be (anonymous) current or former Cast Members indicates that the theater has a serious mold infestation, resulting in its prolonged closure.
In a recent TikTok by @helenjp1313, Disney fan Helen Jane noted that the current fin used in Fantasmic once belonged to Ariel in Voyage of the Little Mermaid. In the video, she speculates that this could indicate Voyage of the Little Mermaid is closed permanently. Those commenting on the video, however, were quick to point out other issues with the stage show.
Replying to @jaytasmic that fin looks familiar… #ariel #thelittlemermaid #fantasmic #fantasmicreturns #voyageofthelittlemermaid #partofyourworld #dhs #disneyhollywoodstudios #hollywoodstudios #hallebailey #hallebaileyismyariel #recycling
♬ Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid) – Shirtless Violinist
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@juulbeans replied, “The urban legend is that the theatre is covered in mold and in order to clean it they’d have to condemn the building and build it again which they’ll never do.”
@georgetown_college noted, “Not speaking as a studios cm but as a ~private citizen~… that shows building is full of mold it was damp pre COVID.”
And @nickbeitz2 commented, “The building flooded during the pandemic and the only way for them to get the show back is to rebuild the building due to lots of mold.”
While Disney of course would never confirm whether mold is the issue, it is certainly possible that the building flooded unbeknownst to us while the theme parks were closed, or that water damage from the show’s effects over the years has finally taken its toll.
In any case, we do not expect to see Voyage of the Little Mermaid return anytime soon, but will keep you updated if new developments come out on this classic Disney’s Hollywood Studios attraction here on Disney Tips.