As you may or may not know, I am not the greatest fan of Ariel. However, I was VERY excited to try out the new Little Mermaid dark ride that is in DCA (and also coming to new Fantasyland).
The queue was meh. It was pretty and detailed and themed-well but not really immersive. Kind of like a well-themed hotel lobby more than feeling like you are going under the sea. I understand that WDW's version of the queue will be different - more immersive, of which I approve.
The queue was also fast moving and relatively short. I went on the ride 3 times I think and each time I waited 5 minutes max. I sadly didn't get in one of the pink clamshells, but I did get a peachy orange one twice which was okay (and a green one once).
Close up of the light "bubbles" trick:
So the actual ride was fine. I suppose if I was a child it would be super magical. I just felt like it was REALLY obvious that we are in a giant warehouse. It wasn't like Peter Pan where you feel like you might actually be flying through a bedroom. The big show stopping part with the "Under the Sea" song was my least favorite part because you couldn't help but notice the "bones" of the attraction which Imagineering is usually so great at hiding. I think if the room was darker it would have helped a lot.
The audioanimatronics also freaked me out a little. Ariel with the vertical hair looks a LEETLE crazy. The movements are more realistic but not by much.
But the WORST PART. OMG THE WORST PART you guys. The part that ruined the entire ride for me. EVERY SINGLE RIDER (except me) was taking FLASH PHOTOS. I have never ridden a ride with so much flash photography going on. No wonder I couldn't feel immersed in the attraction when I had flashes going off in my peripheral vision at all times! I complained to a cast member twice (not that they could do much about it). It was SO RUDE and distracting and destroyed the mirage of the ride.
You may note that I took some pictures myself here. I would like to point out that none of them were flash photos and only taken when the ride had paused/stopped/temporarily broken down. Sigh. Here's hoping the rules at the WDW version are better enforced.