Apr 11, 2023 - Things to Do

A whole new world of animation arrives in Columbus

A digital projection of Mufasa and pride rock from "The Lion King" on two walls

"Circle of Life" from "The Lion King" at the Disney Immersive Experience. Photo: Alissa Widman Neese/Axios

๐Ÿ‘‹ Alissa here. As a kid, I pretended to be a mermaid during swimming lessons because I so badly wanted to be part of Ariel's world.

  • I finally got to dive under the sea this weekend at Columbus' new Disney Immersive Experience, highlighting scenes from "The Little Mermaid," "Frozen II," "Encanto" and many more animated classics.

How it works: Projectors beam movie scenes synced to hit songs onto the walls of a massive room.

  • Some animations are shot-for-shot, like the jaw-dropping "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King." Others are abstract montages, surrounding you with the glowing paper lanterns from โ€œTangled,โ€ or taking you on Aladdin's magic carpet ride while "A Whole New World" plays.
  • The carpeted floor is part of the show, with projected pixie dust, leaves and more circling your feet.
  • ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Plus: Bubble machines! โ€ฆ for the kids, of course.

What's more: The waiting area features a mini animation museum with photo ops.

My take: The show is breathtaking Disney magic โ€” a great blend of '90s nostalgia and modern favorites.

Yes, but: Costing $46 at peak times, it also boasts a Disney price tag.

  • I still felt I got my money's worth with a 50-minute presentation.

The bottom line: Yes, I was fairly critical of Immersive Van Gogh last year at the same location.

  • I guess this Disney Adult is now eating crow. I loved this one.

If you go: 940 Polaris Parkway through June 18. Tickets: $28-46.

Sebastian from "The Little Mermaid" projected on a screen in a seashell
A psychedelic recreation of "Under the Sea" from "The Little Mermaid," with scenes popping out of seashells.
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