- “A girl rescued me. She was singing. She had the most beautiful voice.”
- ―Prince Eric talking about Ariel
Ariel is the protagonist of Disney's classic 1989 animated feature film, The Little Mermaid. She is the seventh and youngest daughter of King Triton and Queen Athena, rulers of the undersea kingdom of Atlantica. She lived through much of her young life with a longstanding - yet forbidden - admiration of the human world, and longed to someday experience life on the surface.
Ariel is loosely based on the nameless protagonist of Hans Christian Andersen's Danish fairy tale "The Little Mermaid". However, unlike Andersen's fairy tale in which the nameless protagonist dies, the Disney animated feature film has a happy ending.
Ariel is the fourth official member of the Disney Princess line-up.
- Ariel is an independent, headstrong and determined young mermaid. She is the youngest and prettiest princess of the sea but spends most of her time outside the palace walls of Atlantica singing, daydreaming, and adventuring with her best friend Flounder the guppy fish, and sometimes Sebastian the crab who is also the royal adviser to Ariel's father. At the age of 16, she unexpectedly becomes deeply infatuated with a young and handsome human prince named Eric and sacrifices all things dear to her for the chance of being with her one true love.
Walt Disney himself and artist Kay Nielsen began work on the story of The Little Mermaid in the 1930's and early 40's. The feature was to be a very faithful adaption to Hans Christian Andersen's tale with the Mermaid dying and turning into sea foam in the end. However, after writing the script and illustrating the storyboard the project was shelved to focus on other projects also in the works such as Dumbo, Bambi, and Fantasia. There have been alternate statements, however, that indicated that Disney may have intended to go for the happy ending route.
In the mid-1980s, the project was finally reopened, yet Disney decided to disregard the dark and grimy aspects of Andersen's story and make the film a more child-friendly version with a much happier ending which worked better for the company's brand. The development team, however, indicated that the changes given for the film coincidentally matched up with the changes Walt Disney made during his attempted take on the film. During development, the studio officially gave their Little Mermaid the aquatic-like name of "Ariel".
Ariel's original design was developed by animator Glen Keane, who had reportedly said in an animation lecture that she was based on his own wife. Her appearance was also based on model Sherri Stoner, who provided live-action references for the animators during the development of the film and also inspired the look for Belle. A challenge in animating her for the film was the color required to show her in the changing environments, both under the sea and on land, for which the animators required 32-color models, not including costume changes. The sea-green color of her fin was a hue specially mixed by the Disney paint lab; the color was named "Ariel" after the character. She has been compared to past Disney Heroines, but is more physically similar to Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast, as they all have big eyes, a broad forehead and a small mouth and chin.
Jodi Benson, who was predominantly a stage actress when she was cast, was chosen to voice Ariel because the directors felt "it was really important to have the same person doing the singing and speaking voice." Co-director Ron Clements remarked that her voice had "sweetness" and "youthfulness" that was unique. When recording the vocals for Ariel's theme song "Part of Your World", she consented to Howard Ashman's suggestion that the lights in the studio be dimmed, so as to "feel a little bit more enclosed" and create the feeling of being deep under the sea. She was also encouraged to soften her singing voice almost to the point of speaking so that the song would feel more intimate.
Voice actress Melissa Fahn auditioned for the role and was called back many times, but was turned down because she sounded a little too young.
Ariel is a bright, spirited and headstrong mermaid with a strong passion for adventure and exploration. Her tendency to explore the more mysterious depths of the ocean (or more importantly, the world beyond the ocean) can lead to an array of problems to both herself, her friends, and in the confines of her personal life - as seen through her constant confrontations with her protective father, King Triton. Despite this, Ariel's selflessness, compassion and intuitive way of thinking often resolve such problems, as she always takes full responsibility for her actions.
At the start of the original film, Ariel is shown to have a burning obsession with the human world, and a desire to learn more about their culture. Unlike her father at first, she views humans as aspiring creatures, astonished by their ability to constantly create, and heavily goes against the idea of them being "barbaric" and selfish as a result of this. This passion is revealed to have been prominent throughout Ariel's life years before the events of the film, as seen in the television series. By the point of the film, as shown through her lament, "Part of Your World", Ariel's obsession with the human world has reached unimaginable heights, as she spends most of her time focusing on finding, observing, and collecting various human objects that have sunk into the sea. Her obsession has also taken a toll on her emotionally, as the song begins with a sense of wonder and enchantment, ultimately climaxing in a soft end, filled with hopelessness and despair, representing Ariel's dying hopes of ever experiencing life upon the surface. These factors of desperation and despair are the prime motive behind Ariel's eventual deal with the sea witch, Ursula, to become human and experience the world above the surface. Despite not having the best relationship with her father especially in regards to their respective views on humanity, she nonetheless was very loyal to him as well as her sisters, as after Ursula explained the deal to her, Ariel expressed some hesitance as she realized that if she succeeded in the deal (never mind if she failed her end of the bargain), she won't be able to see Triton or her sisters again, and later when Ursula cursed Triton, Ariel's first action was to attack Ursula to avenge him, even calling the Sea Witch a monster for what she did.
Ariel is also shown to be extremely compassionate and loving towards almost all living things; more so platonically than romantically. This is most notably seen through her friendship with her closest companion, Flounder, and even her father's court composer, Sebastian who, despite being against Ariel's recklessness and overly adventurous nature, is given a considerably large amount of love and respect from the princess, which is often reciprocated. With Flounder, she is comforting and patient, as well as protective, with the tendency to risk her own life for the guppies on various occasions. Her ability to befriend all various creatures, be they an abandoned killer whale, an irrationally feared sea creature and even the son of one of her nemesis is displayed throughout the franchise. Before she met Eric, she was rarely interested in romantic relationships, not even with any of the merman princes that Triton tried to get her to marry. The only known exception was Prince Waverly of the Pacifica Kingdom, with whom she was infatuated. However, after meeting Eric, Ariel is revealed to be a romantic, willing to make daring sacrifices for the sake of true love. Her love for him is validated by Eric's returned selflessness and sacrificial actions for the sake of love; notably seen during the climax of the film.
Like her father, Ariel has a bad temper if she ever is provoked, although hers is not as bad as his. Although spirited, even she has had some degree of self-doubts about herself, as she actually at one point considered her father might have been correct and that she may have been a freak for having any fascination for humanity. She also had a degree of seeing the good in things, as she also doubted that humans could have been pure evil from their tools and artworks.
Also, despite her usual naivety and impulsiveness, Ariel has shown on many occasions to be serious, careful, and very intuitive. One example of her occasionally showing intuitiveness was just before exploring the sunken ship, where she suggested that Flounder stay outside and be on the lookout for sharks in the area when the latter tried to fake illness.
In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel matures after becoming a mother. Due to the threat of Morgana at the time, she becomes very overprotective of Melody in a similar manner to how she was treated by Triton in the first film. She is shown to long for the sea, but keeps this hidden from Melody for the latter's own safety; even though it would've been easier if she had explained everything to her, she even points this out in a later scene and at the film's climax. At one point, however, she does subtly allude to her true heritage as she mentioned to Melody when sympathizing with her about not fitting in that she was "a fish out of water", with Melody not quite believing her. Regardless of her few flaws, Ariel is very much selfless, sweet-natured and inspirational. However, her most notable trait, was her deep love and fascination for humans, having desired to become human during the events of the first film, even prior to meeting her future husband, Eric. However, she did not always have this trait; until she was 15 years of age, she expressed a deep fear of humans similar to Triton's prejudiced of humans, although her witnessing some humans saving a beached dolphin changed her views on the matter. Ironically, one of the people responsible for saving the dolphin was Eric, although she never knew it.
Ariel is a young mermaid teenager with a slim figure, fair skin, and large, deep aqua blue eyes. From childhood to her teenage years, she wore a lavender seashell bra. As a child, her lips were the same color as her skin and as a teenager, they are bright red. Ariel's most defining feature is her long, thick red hair. From the waist down, she has a green horizontal fish-like tail with sea green scales and light green fins. She most likely has the reproductive organs of a tropical fish. In Little Mermaid's Island, her seashell bra looks more like a strapless top that covers her belly.
When Ariel becomes a human, the only article of clothing she wore was her seashell bra, but wears an old sail from a shipwreck with some rope to keep it closed, fashioned by her friend, Scuttle. Being prepared for dinner, she wears a pink and white gown, silver barrettes in her hair, and pearl white earrings. Getting ready for bedtime, she wears a pink nightgown. After being taken in by Prince Eric, she wears a dress with long light blue sleeves, a dark blue bodice, and a blue shirt (sometimes white), along with black heels. She wears a big royal blue bow in her hair. After she's turned into a human once again, she wears a light blue glittering dress. After she kisses Eric, during their wedding, she wears a white wedding dress with a sparkling golden tiara on her veil. During and after her daughter Melody's christening, she wears a gold and white dress, and a low ponytail decorated with a white bow. She also wears a periwinkle gown with an up-do decorated with a golden tiara with green and white gems on her necklace and earrings during Melody's 12th birthday party with her hair being a bit shorter due to it being adjusted. She still wears the same up-do with a green peasant dress when she's on Eric's ship and a blue and white dress with light blue earrings in the song "Here on the Land and Sea" in the second movie. In one of the video games, she wears an aqua-colored gown with a matching flower on the side of her hair.
Powers and abilities
- Superhuman Strength: Ariel is known to have at least a very certain degree of superhuman strength, as she was able to move away from an underwater boulder blocking her grotto with relative ease in the original film. Ariel likely retains her superhuman strength, even in her human form.
- Superhuman Speed: Ariel is known to have a great degree of superhuman speed, as she can move amazingly fast in the water, even for a mermaid; according to Sebastian, Ariel is the fastest mermaid in all of Atlantica. Ariel likely retains her superhuman speed, even in her human form.
- Superhuman Durability: Ariel has superhuman durability, as, during the final battle with Ursula in the film, she was at one point knocked into a whirlpool that is several miles deep and survived with barely any injuries. Such a feat would kill a normal human, if not completely destroy the body of that said human. Ariel retains her superhuman durability, even in her human form.
- Underwater Breathing: As a mermaid, Ariel is able to metabolize oxygen from the water, which negates the need to surface, though she is certainly more than capable of breathing on land. Ariel does not retain her ability to breathe underwater, while she is in her human form.
- Speed Swimming: As a mermaid, Ariel is capable of swimming at a much faster rate than normal humans and even certain marine creatures in terms of undersea travel, or sea travel as a whole due to her half-marine status. For example, she was able to get to King Triton's palace from Prince Eric's kingdom in less than a day, as well as getting from Atlantica to Norway in the episode "Metal Fish" in a similar time fashion.
- Aquapathy: As a mermaid, Ariel is capable of speaking with aquatic fauna. Ariel retains her ability to understand and communicate with aquatic/marine creatures, even in her human form.
- Aquakinesis: As a mermaid, Ariel possesses the power of aquakinesis, as demonstrated in the first film, and its sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, she caused a wave to form behind her from a nearby rock from which she was watching Eric at a distance (shortly after Ariel had saved him from drowning and he had regained consciousness). Ariel retains her aquakinesis even in her human form; as she and Melody both were able to cause unusual wave-forms.
- Thermoendurance: As a mermaid, Ariel has demonstrated the ability to endure temperatures far more extreme than would be survivable for a normal human (especially one of her build). This is demonstrated in the films and the TV series, where she went to the arctic with minimal ill effects other than feeling a bit cold, as well as in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, where she traveled to Morgana's lair, which was located inside an iceberg, and when visiting Ursula's, which was located in a volcanic region. Ariel likely retains her thermoendurance, even in her human form.
- Rapid Adaptability: As a mermaid, Ariel is capable of rapid adaptability; for example, after she becoming human, Ariel was able to learned how to walk in a few minutes, and move in the same timespan; she also figured out how to run, when Max the sheepdog, unintentionally scared her, as she try (in a failed attempt) to get away from him.
- Magic: In the episode "T'ank You For Dat, Ariel", Ariel briefly became a sea witch and learned how to use magic; she used her new-found talents to grant Sebastian's wish of being bigger but unfortunately, it continuously worked, making him continue to grow to the point where he surfaced while standing, and it was fueled by the light of the full moon. She lost her magic and status as a sea witch when she wished the whole entire mess never happened, and her magic did just that, erasing the entire event and influencing her so it wouldn't happen in the reset timeline.
- Singing: As demonstrated in the first film, the TV series and the prequel film The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, Ariel is an excellent singer; a talent that she inherited from her mother, the late Athena. According to Sebastian, she has the most beautiful voice in all of Atlantica; her voice is so beautiful, that even Eric had fallen in love with Ariel, after only hearing her sing to him once when she drew him to consciousness with her incredible voice after rescuing him from drowning at sea.
- Dancing: As demonstrated in the first film, the TV series and the prequel film The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, Ariel is an excellent dancer; a talent inherent in most merpeople. After Ariel became human and when Eric took her out on a tour of his kingdom, during which she capably danced with him - as if she had been a human for many years (this is partly due to her rapid adaptability). In her mermaid form with her stunning emerald green tail, Ariel is capable of dancing in a similar fashion.
- Expert Swimmer: As a mermaid, Ariel is an excellent swimmer as seen in the first film, the TV series and the prequel film The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. However, as demonstrated in the first film, Ariel as a human (initially) was not very good at swimming. When Ariel became human (due to her inability to breathe underwater or swim without her tail that she was accustomed to) Flounder and Sebastian was forced to help her get to the surface, otherwise she would have drowned. However, by the time of the events of The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel has regained her swimming skills, as seen in the ending of the second film.
- Expert Animal Rider: As demonstrated in the first film and the TV series, Ariel is an excellent animal rider, she can ride giant seahorses (the equivalent of horses) like Stormy and Seabiscuit as well as command the reigns of a carriage controlled by Triton's dolphins relatively easily. In her human form, she is able to ride horses in a similar fashion; when Eric took her out on a tour of his kingdom, he attempted to teach her how to ride a carriage controlled by his horses. Initially, Ariel lost control of the horses, as it turned into a wild ride to the point where Eric (a brave and daring adventurer in his own right) became terrified. However, she soon gained control of the horses (this is partly due to her rapid adaptability) to the point that Eric became relaxed again. In the storybook of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Baby Beau, sometime after her marriage to Eric, the latter gave Ariel a foal (a baby horse) as a gift, who she named Beau, and once Beau grew into a mature stallion, she began to riding him very often, with skill and enthusiasm in a similar fashion to her riding giant seahorses.
- Expert Musician: As demonstrated in the TV series and the prequel film The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, Ariel is an excellent musician, as she is capable of playing a guitar, piano, bongo drums and the harp respectively with admirable skill. However, as seen in the episode "Calliope Dreams", the only musical instrument that she is not proficient at, is the sea calliope (the equivalent of the organ). Even when Sebastian tries his best to teach her how to play the calliope, Ariel's skills with calliope did not improve. Her lack of skill with this musical instrument is, infact, so bad - that it not only woke up the Seaclops, but it also annoyed the sea monster; to the point that it tried to annihilate her.
- Oxygen: As demonstrated in the first film, Ariel cannot breathe underwater while in human form; if she remains underwater for too long, she will lose consciousness and eventually drown.
As depicted in the film, Ariel is the youngest of Triton's seven daughters and is 16 years old. She has a vast fascination with the world of humans, despite such contact being forbidden by Triton, who is xenophobic and forbids contact between humans and her species.
At the beginning of the film, Ariel, and her fish friend, Flounder, swim through a shipwreck where they salvage human items. During their adventure, they are chased out of the sunken ship by a shark, but Ariel manages to outwit him. After escaping him, Ariel and Flounder swim up to the surface, where they speak to Scuttle to identify human objects. He misidentifies a fork as a "dinglehopper" used to straighten their hair and a pipe as a "snarfblatt" used to make music. The identification of the latter reminds her about the concert she was initially supposed to be a part of. After she is watched by two eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula watches from her crystal ball bubble and wants them to keep an extra close watch on her.
Ariel hurries home to Triton and Sebastian, who both rebuke her for missing the concert. Hearing from Flounder about her encounter with a seagull, Triton reprimands her for swimming up to the surface, telling her how she could have been spotted by what he calls "barbarians" who could have snared her with a fishhook. After being demanded by him to obey his every rule and not do that again, she tearfully swims off to her secret grotto, where her collection of human objects, from books to other regular objects such as globes, mugs, and chests of jewels, is kept. She feels that collecting them isn't enough and gets more curious about the human world, even expressing her desire to actually live in it.
Later, Ariel spots a ship passing above. Excited, she quickly swims up to the surface and toward it, where she watches the party on board. She then spots a male human named Eric, and remarks to Scuttle how she has never seen a human this close before. Just then, a storm moves in and destroys the ship. She looks around for Eric and finds him floating unconscious in the sea. She carries him to the shore, where she sings to him about how she longs to be with him in his world but is forced to leave when a search team looking for Eric approach. She falls in love with him and becomes even more determined to accomplish her dreams of living alongside humanity.
Back at Atlantica, Ariel's other sisters notice her humming dreamily, giving them a notion that she is in love. She comes up with a plan to somehow see Eric again, but Sebastian tries to talk her out of it, telling her how life under the sea is better than the world up above through the song "Under the Sea". While he tries to entertain her with a band of crustaceans producing music, Flounder comes over to her, whispers something in her ear, and they both swim off.
Flounder takes Ariel to her grotto, where he surprises her with a statue of Eric that he has somehow salvaged from the destroyed ship and added into her collection. She thanks him, but then faces the stern Triton, who is very upset to learn from Sebastian that she has rescued a human being from drowning. Shocked and enraged that she is in love with that human, he loses his temper and in a blind rage, proceeds to destroy all the human objects in her grotto with his trident, including the statue of Eric. She tries pleading for him to stop, but to no avail. Devastated, she breaks down in tears, and an ashamed Triton leaves regretting what he has done. Sebastian, who has accompanied him, tries to console her, only for her to tell him to leave. After he and Flounder exit, Flotsam and Jetsam appear to convince her to see their mistress, Ursula, who may have the power to make her dream come true. She, after initially attempting to refuse, reluctantly follows them to Ursula's fortress after the eels subtly flicked what remained of Eric's statue toward her while taking their leave.
While Sebastian and Flounder followed, Ariel nervously and fearfully enters the fortress, and Ursula calls for her. Ursula, who knows that she is in love with a human through spying on her via Flotsam and Jetsam, tells her that she must become a human herself to be with Eric. Ursula explains the deal to her: she will become a human for three days, during which she must get a kiss of true love from him before the sun sets on the third day in order to stay human; otherwise, she will turn back into a mermaid and will belong to Ursula forever. Ursula further states that as part of the deal, she must give up her voice in order to become a human. (Unbeknownst to her, the deal is simply a part of Ursula's sinister plot to take Triton's throne.) She, thinking that is her only chance to be with Prince Eric, accepts the deal as she signs a contract conjured by Ursula, then orders Ariel to sing for her and summons magical hands to take her voice (represented by a glowing ball of golden light), which is then sealed into a seashell on Ursula's necklace. Ariel is then turned into a human and is helped to the surface by Flounder and Sebastian due to her now having the inability to swim and breathe in water.
At the shore, Scuttle arrives and witnesses Ariel's new legs for the first time. However, Sebastian is beyond furious, going into a nervous panic at what would happen if she failed to kiss Eric, as well as if King Triton were to find out about the entire event. Frustrated, he begins trotting home, only to have her convince him to stay and help, knowing if they reversed the curse and went back home, she would be miserable once again. Now that the mission is set in motion, Scuttle provides some "clothing" for her in the meantime, just as they are found by Eric's dog, Max, who leads his master to her. When he sees her, he finds her familiar, but when he sees that she is unable to talk, he gets the feeling that she can't be the girl he is looking for. Nevertheless, he takes her to his castle, where she takes a bath and gets dressed for dinner. As he, his manservant Grimsby, and maid Carlotta, join her, she notices a fork and uses it to comb her hair, making them dumbfounded, which makes her embarrassed. Noticing Grimsby's pipe, she takes it and, thinking it as a musical instrument, blows the contents into his face, and Eric laughs at him covered with ashes. After he wipes it off and dinner is served, he suggests that Eric takes her out on a tour of his kingdom, which she accepts.
The next day, Eric takes Ariel out to show her his kingdom, while Sebastian, Flounder, and Scuttle watch on, anxiously awaiting the moment they finally share the kiss of true love. During the tour, he teaches her to dance and ride a carriage. For her, finally exploring the human world freely, it was the best day of her life, with a constant smile beaming on her face as she curiously experiences the sights and sounds of the kingdom. That evening, they spend time in a lagoon, riding in a rowboat rowed by him. In order to get them to kiss, Scuttle tries to provide some romantic stimulation. However, his terrible squawking (mistaken for singing) prompts Sebastian to lead some animals in the lagoon to create the mood with music and his song "Kiss the Girl". Ariel and Eric enjoy the sights and draw closer to a kiss, but before they can, Flotsam and Jetsam purposely tip the boat over by order of the scheming Ursula (who's been watching their development from her fortress), prompting him to help her out of the water, and thus ruining the kiss.
The next day (which is the third and last of Ariel's human days), Scuttle wakes her up and delivers the news that Eric is getting hitched. She excitedly runs downstairs, only to see him with a dark-haired girl named Vanessa, whom he intends to marry. She breaks down in tears and runs off, devastated that he is not marrying her. Later that afternoon, the wedding ship departs with him, Vanessa, and the wedding guests on board, leaving a heartbroken Ariel to mourn the loss of him. Just then, Scuttle comes over to tell her shocking news: Vanessa is Ursula in disguise, and Eric is marrying Ursula while entranced by her. Recalling Ursula's deal, she jumps into the sea, but has to grab onto one of the barrels released by Sebastian to stay afloat, and Flounder helps her to the wedding ship by pulling it. Just as she reaches the ship and climbs aboard, the seashell on Ursula's necklace that Vanessa has been wearing shatters in front of her, freeing her voice, which is then restored to her. Eric, who has come out of a spell placed on him by Vanessa, realizes that she is the girl he is looking for. He dumps Vanessa and runs over to her. But just as they are about to kiss, the sun sets and Ariel turns back into a mermaid and collapses.
Vanessa transforms back into Ursula, takes Ariel as her prisoner, and dives back into the sea with her. As Ursula thinks of her next move, Triton, having been alerted by Sebastian, confronts and orders her to release Ariel, to which she refuses. Ariel apologizes to Triton as he attempts to destroy the contract, to no avail. Ursula proceeds to wither the princess and turn her into a polyp like all her other victims, proclaiming the contract to be legally unbreakable, but offers her freedom should Triton be willing to take her place. Triton accepts, and though Ariel is released, she is forced to watch as her father is withered and transformed into a polyp faster than when Ursula tried to do it to her. Ursula then takes his crown and trident, becoming queen of the seas, moments before an enraged Ariel tries to fight her off, though she is quickly restrained. Eric arrives to help her, striking Ursula with a harpoon. She prepares to destroy him with the trident, but Ariel pulls on her hair just as it shoots, causing the shot to miss Eric and hit Flotsam and Jetsam instead, killing them.
After Ursula shortly mourns her pets' loss, she enlarges herself as an even more evil, nastier, monstrous version of herself. Ariel and Eric try to escape, but then face a towering, gigantic Ursula. She declares herself as ruler of the ocean who has the power to control the waves and creates a rainstorm and whirlpool. Ariel is separated from Eric, and Ursula causes her to become trapped at the bottom of the whirlpool. She aims the trident at Ariel and fires bolts of pure destruction, who barely manages to avoid her painful destruction each time. Just as Ursula prepares to use the trident to vaporize her with an unavoidable blast and taunting that she will never kiss Eric, he plunges the splintered bow of one of the shipwrecks (that have surfaced as a result of the whirlpool) through her abdomen, killing her and saving Ariel in the nick of time.
With Ursula defeated, her spells upon the unfortunate merpeople are broken, including the spell cast upon Triton, who transforms back into a merman. At the surface, Eric manages to swim to shore, breaking down out of exhaustion as a saddened Ariel watches on from a nearby rock. Triton and Sebastian look on from a distance; the former finally softening up toward humans upon realizing Eric risked his own life to save Ariel. Knowing the love between them is pure and true, despite their differences as species, Triton uses the power of the trident to permanently transform Ariel into a human, allowing her to be with the one she loves, at long last. After the transformation, she walks up to the shore, where she is happily reunited with Eric as he embraces her, and they share their first kiss. Soon, they have their wedding on the wedding ship attended by his loyal subjects on-board and her family and friends in the sea around the ship. She silently bids farewell to Scuttle and Flounder and gives Triton a heartwarming hug before happily sailing away with Eric. Triton then casts a beautiful rainbow over the sky to wish the couple well as they start their new future together. Thanks to Ariel's courage, Triton understands that humans weren't bad and accepts Eric, her new husband, as his new son-in-law.
The prequel series, which first debuted in 1992, takes place during an indeterminate time chronologically before the 1989 film and revolves around Ariel's adventures as a 15 to 16-year old mermaid living under the sea. Most of her adventures involve her meeting various creatures, getting into trouble and usually getting out of it successfully. Her friends, Flounder and Sebastian, are also featured prominently. She is also shown to have a friend named Urchin, an orphaned merboy. It also has her meeting Hans Christian Andersen, which also hints at both her possible birth year (ie. during his lifetime, yet at least 16 years before the writing of The Little Mermaid) and the possible chronological events of the series, due to her being a direct influence on the creation of the story. She also gets along well with Sebastian's young Crab Scouts, as she is shown cradling one of them when they're tired in "Tail of Two Crabs".
Ariel continues to be fascinated with human objects in the series and is shown collecting them for her grotto; she gives them strange names such as calling an ordinary telescope a "thingamabob." Many episodes show her working to foil enemies who would do harm to Atlantica. Eric is sometimes shown, but she always just misses seeing him, preserving the continuity that she sees him first in the 1989 film.
In this 2000 direct-to-video sequel, Ariel serves as the deuteragonist. It is shown that she has given birth to a daughter named Melody (the new protagonist) prior to the start of the film. When we first see her playing with the beautiful newborn Melody, many toys of Flounder, Sebastian, and other fish can be seen in the room, showing that she misses her old friends and family. When Melody's safety is threatened by a sea witch named Morgana (younger sister of Ursula, who died in the first film), Ariel, and her husband Eric, decide they must keep Melody away from the sea, and to this effect, they build a large wall separating the castle from it.
As a consequence, this also meant Ariel could not visit her ancestral home. Melody's love of the sea proves too strong, however, and when she falls into Morgana's clutches, Ariel is forced to temporarily resume her mermaid form in order to rescue and save Melody from Morgana's scheme.
In this time, she briefly returns to her grotto as seen in the first film, and studies the objects, (which we are left to presume survived Triton's anger in the first film) and keeps looking for Melody. This features Ariel becoming an over-protective parent for Melody, effectively taking over the role of Triton in the first film.
She is the first and so far only mother of the Disney Princesses.
Ariel appears as a regular guest in the animated television series House of Mouse and its specials, usually sitting with Sebastian and Scuttle. Her appearance alternates irregularly between her human form and mermaid form, depending on what the situation requires. Daisy Duck seems to be a big fan of her and her films, as shown in "Daisy's Debut" and "House of Genius". In the show's opening song, she is seen combing her hair with a fork, like in the original film.
In the episode "Jiminy Cricket", while Jiminy Cricket is sharing his wisdom, he states, "Never sell your voice to a giant sea witch just because you have a crush on some guy, it's just not worth it." Ariel sits there looking embarrassed and ashamed, and upon hearing this, she snatches the necklace containing her voice away from Ursula, much to her anger.
Also in "Everybody Loves Mickey", Ariel wishes that Mickey could live under the sea with her.
In "House of Scrooge", she was one of many Disney characters shoved at one table as Scrooge was trying to save money.
In "Salute to Sports", she is sitting next to Triton when he creates a literal wave after Mickey told the crowd to do the "wave".
In "The Mouse Who Came to Dinner", she is sitting next to Sebastian before Goofy takes him to cook for Mortimer, who was pretending to be a critic. She is later seen laughing with the rest of the audience after the crew call him out and insult him.
In "Pluto vs. Figaro", she tried to sing on stage, although the set ended up falling on top of her due to Pluto and Figaro's antics.
In "Suddenly Hades", Pete attempted to flood the club to run out the customers, as he could shut down the club if there were no guests. Though he succeeded in flooding the club, he was stopped from closing the club as Ariel was still present.
Ariel was also briefly seen in "Pete's House of Villains" where she held up a sign that read "Somebody stole my voice again" since she lost her voice.
In "Ask Von Drake", Ariel is seen in Professor Von Drake's song, sitting next to a giant seashell where Ursula is hiding.
Ariel also appears in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse. In the film, Ariel, along with Eric and other characters, are snowed in and trapped inside the club. Ariel is the first to openly have faith in Mickey Mouse, who she believes will have a plan.
Years before the events of the original film, Ariel, and her sisters enjoy a music-filled life in Atlantica, with Triton and their mother, Queen Athena. The merpeople are shown relaxing in a lagoon above water, and Triton gives Athena a music box. Suddenly, a big pirate ship approaches. Everyone escapes except Athena, who is crushed by it when she tries to save the music box and the pirates lose control and run it aground. Devastated by her death, Triton throws it into the ocean and bans music from the kingdom.
Ten years later, Ariel and her sisters live under a strict routine maintained by their governess Marina Del Rey and her assistant Benjamin. Marina hates being the girls' governess and longs to be Triton's attaché, a job currently filled by Sebastian. Ariel is frustrated by their current lifestyle, which brings her into conflict with her father. One day, Ariel encounters Flounder, whom she later follows to an underground music club. She is overjoyed by the presence of music and is shocked when she sees Sebastian performing there. When her presence is revealed, the entire band stops playing and hides, believing Ariel will tell her father about them. Ariel sings a song explaining her love of music and the remembrance of her mother and she joins the club with an oath.
Ariel returns to the palace, and sisters confront her over her disappearance. She explains where she was, and the following night all seven girls go to the club to have fun. Marina secretly finds them, and she later reports their activities to Triton. Sebastian, Flounder, and the band are sent to jail, while Marina gets the job she wants.
Triton confines his daughters to the palace, which results in Ariel asking him why music isn't allowed. Triton refuses to answer and shouts that he won't have music in his kingdom. Distraught, Ariel confronts Triton and says that Athena wouldn't have wanted music to be forbidden and angrily swims to the girls' bedroom, her saddened sisters soon following, while Marina, who is not the girls' governess anymore, is now Triton's new attaché. That night, she decides to leave Atlantica and frees the jailbirds. Sebastian leads them to a deserted place far from the palace where Ariel finds Athena's music box, as Sebastian hoped. Ariel and Sebastian decide to return to Atlantica to bring the music box to Triton, hoping that it will change his mind, as he has forgotten how to be happy after Athena's death.
On the way back, Marina and her electric eels confront Ariel, Flounder, and Sebastian. Before music is restored back into the kingdom, the final battle begins when Marina bans Ariel from going back to Atlantica. Marina wants to stop them so she will retain her position of "power", and a struggle ensues. It ends when Marina barrels towards Sebastian, but Ariel pushes her away, getting hit in the process. Triton arrives in time to witness this, and he is remorseful for his actions. He sings the lyrics of "Athena's Song", and Ariel wakes up. The film ends with Triton restoring music to Atlantica and appointing Sebastian as the new court composer, much to everyone's glee with Ariel and Flounder. Everyone, including Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder, and six older sisters, rejoices except Marina, who has been sent to prison.
In the original concept for Ariel's Beginning, then known as The Little Mermaid III, Ariel, alongside Sebastian, were supposed to accompany Eric in locating a white whale.
Ariel appeared in the special "The Floating Palace". She was the first princess to be seen twice in an episode, and the fourth princess to appear in the series, overall.
She is summoned to help Sofia with her trouble of saving her mermaid friend and her family's ship in danger and sings "The Love We Share" to encourage Sofia to enlist Cora to help her save Oona. She is later seen at the end of the special by the floating palace jumping into the water.
"Ariel" made a cameo during in The Return of Jafar. Genie makes himself look like Ariel and appears on the top of the treasure ship of Coeur du Mer to take Jafar's Lamp and hide it from Abis Mal and Jafar.
In A Goofy Movie, Ariel is seen twice: once as a prop in Max's school auditorium and also a lamp in Goofy and Max's hotel room with her iconic colors.
In a special trailer promoting the film Lilo & Stitch, Ariel was seen performing the reprise of "Part of Your World", when Stitch surfs a giant wave towards her, ruining the song. In anger, Ariel throws a starfish at Stitch, exclaiming "I was singing here!". Jodi Benson reprises her role in this teaser and some new animation is used.
Ariel appears on the cover of a Little Mermaid book in the village scene in Tangled.
Ariel was also set to appear in the canceled short, Princess Academy, alongside various other Disney heroines. In one piece of concept art, Ariel can be seen in the form of a silhouette, dancing alongside Hyacinth Hippo and Cinderella.
Ariel is a recurring character on the hit show Once Upon a Time. She is portrayed by Joanna García.
In her debut episode, she saves Snow White from drowning after Snow jumps off a cliff to avoid the Evil Queen Regina's guards. Ariel tells Snow that once a year a mermaid can walk on land, though only for the twelve hours between high tides. She then tells Snow she saved Eric (played by Gil McKinney) a year before and has been in love with him ever since. Snow, knowing what love at first sight is like, understands the mermaid and convinces her to go to Eric's ball. At the ball, he is immediately drawn to Ariel and he asks her to dance with him. While they dance he tells Ariel that he will be leaving the next morning on an adventure to see the world and asks Ariel to go with him. Ariel relays this information back to Snow, who tells Ariel to be honest with the prince. However, Ariel is reluctant as she does not want to be rejected by the prince by telling him she is a mermaid. Ariel is later seen at the sea shore asking the Sea Goddess Ursula for guidance. After she seems to have given up, Ursula appears in front of Ariel.
However, this is not the true Ursula; this is Queen Regina in disguise. Regina gives Ariel a magical bracelet that will trade her tail to whomever she gives it to. Ariel gives the bracelet to Snow White, thinking that if Snow is a mermaid, she could escape into the sea and be free from the Queen. Regina then appears and reveals her deception. The Queen gives Ariel an ultimatum: either go and find her prince and let the Queen kill Snow White, or die along with her. Ariel, not willing to let her friend die, attacks the Queen with a fork, distracting her long enough for Ariel and Snow to get away. After Ariel and Snow have escaped to a nearby beach, Snow tells Ariel to go back to the Prince and tell him the truth. Ariel happily listens to Snow and returns to the dock by Eric's palace as she is about to yell Eric's name her voice vanishes. Regina appears on the dock and reveals that she took Ariel's voice so that she could never tell Eric how she felt, as vengeance for the mermaid's siding with Snow White against her. In tears, a muted Ariel heads back to the sea.
Twenty-eight years later in Neverland, Regina, working with Rumplestiltskin, returns Ariel's voice in exchange for her help. Ariel agrees to return to Storybrooke and retrieve a weapon from Rumplestiltskin's shop that will be strong enough to stop Peter Pan. If the mission succeeds, the Queen promises to make Ariel human permanently and be with Eric.
Ariel's next appearance in Once Upon a Time is titled "Dark Hollow". This episode immediately picks up after the events of "Ariel". Gold shows Ariel how to get to Storybrooke and tells her to find Belle and give her a sand dollar with a message from him. Though Regina chooses not to tell Ariel where to find Eric, she does warn her that she only has one hour. When Ariel arrives in Storybrooke, she meets who Grumpy, who takes her to Belle.
After learning that Ariel was sent by Rumplestiltskin, Belle takes her to Gold's shop, where Belle deciphers Gold's coded message and retrieves the item of which he requires: Pandora's Box. However, before they can do anything, they are ambushed by John and Michael Darling, who are now working for Peter Pan. John and Michael the two of them up and take the item to destroy it. In order to get out of the ropes, Belle removes Ariel's bracelet, which allows Ariel to wiggle free from the ropes and undo Belle's bindings. Ariel then puts the bracelet back on and goes after John and Michael.
Belle and Ariel find John and Michael just before they destroy the box. Belle is able to stop them by activating a mine cart on the tracks, which throws Michael and John off their feet. Using the time to her advantage, she grabs the box and kicks their gun away. John and Michael reveal that the only reason they are working for Pan is because he has been holding their sister Wendy hostage. Belle manages to convince them, however, that if they help her, the ones in Neverland will be able to use Pandora's box to defeat Pan.
Ariel returns to Neverland and gives Pandora's box to Gold. As a reward, Regina enchants the bracelet, so that Ariel can become a human whenever she wishes. Before Ariel departs, she tells Regina and Gold about Wendy's situation. Regina exhibits no concern about Wendy, since she only cares about Henry. However, Ariel manages to convince her and Gold to do what they can to help Wendy. Upon returning to Storybrooke, Ariel finds Eric working as a fisherman. The two of them are then reunited and reconcile.
After the fairy-tale characters are sent back to the Enchanted Forest, Eric is captured by the pirate Blackbeard. Ariel, however, believes that Captain Hook was responsible and tracks him down. Upon learning that Blackbeard also has his ship, Ariel and Hook agree to work together. In order to take his ship back, Hook throws Blackbeard over the edge without learning where Eric is. Ariel is forced to rescue Blackbeard so that she can rescue Eric. She eventually relocates with Eric to Hangman's Island.
The guilt Hook still feels for his nearly sacrificing any attempt to rescue Eric is later exploited by the Wicked Witch of the West. She impersonates Ariel, so that she can get Hook to admit he loves Emma Swan in a "plea for redemption." Using this, she is able to curse his lips. She also reveals that Ariel and Eric are alive on Hangman's Island.
It is later revealed that after Hook sold the Jolly Roger back to Blackbeard, he used it to terrorize people, including Princess Anna and her fiancé Kristoff, of Arendelle. After her return to Arendelle, Queen Elsa trapped it in a bottle and Ariel accidentally becomes trapped inside as well. She is freed after Hook restores his ship in Storybrooke. After Ursula throws Hook overboard, Ariel saves his life and helps him discover a new plan to help restore Ursula's happy ending. She later helps contact Ursula's father, Poseidon, and bring him to Storybrooke so he can reconcile with his daughter.
After this, Ariel returns to Hangman's Island. A while later, she enters her hut to discover Hook, Jasmine and Aladdin have broken in and triggered a trap. She is pleased to see Hook and Jasmine again and soon also becomes acquainted with Aladdin. After learning of their plight and that they were led to her hut while tracking Jafar, she brings out a lamp which she believes to be Agrabahn. Jasmine takes the lamp and, assured by the presence of Ariel, Hook and Aladdin, who she believes to be heroes, prepares to face her fears and Jafar. However, when Jafar emerges, he is easily able to break the genie curse, much to Ariel's surprise, and proceeds to freeze Ariel, Aladdin and Hook in place, before he faces Jasmine alone. After Jasmine has used magical dust to transform Jafar into a staff, the trio are freed from the sorcerer's magic and regain mobility. Jamine then reveals that Agrabah is inside the ring she has been wearing and she now knows how to bring it back with true love's kiss, and proceeds to kiss Aladdin, magically transporting Agrabah back to its proper place and the four heroes with it. Now that the ring no longer contains the kingdom, Ariel asks for permission to keep it as a trinket. Afterward, Hook asks Ariel if she can get back home and she states that she will be able to use her mermaid powers by swimming in the nearby Agrabah Gulf. Realizing that she can help with Hook's problem of being separated from Emma, Ariel offers a magic conch shell that Hook can use to communicate into as long as there's someone on the other end. Hook begins to speak into it, telling Emma the truth of what happened, though he is unsure if she is on the other end.
The Little Mermaid Disney Comics serial
Ariel was the main character in a few of the comic stories in the four-issue serial. The timeframe takes place at least a year prior to the film, due to Ariel being referred to as 15. The first and second issues had her disposing of a creature called the Serpentine in a failed negotiation with the Moray people. She also ended up abducted by a metallic fish in the final issue.
The Little Mermaid Marvel serial comics
She was the main character in the 12-issue Marvel serial comics that, like the TV series, took place prior to the events of the first film. One of the issues also had her acting as a knight. She also saved Flounder from petrification in the penultimate issue. In the final issue, after a fight with Triton, she managed to learn the history of Atlantica and Atlantis from a wizard fish. She eventually told Triton this, but when she tried to find the wizard fish, he disappeared, although not before leaving a note.
Besides the main storyline, Ariel also featured in the 12th Issue of the anthology series Disney Comic Hits!, which had been a previously unpublished story.
Ariel also appeared in several novelizations, both in human form and in mermaid form:
In Reflections of Arsulu, Ariel was suspicious of the newcomer mermaid named Arsulu, and eventually uncovered that the latter was actually Ursula in disguise. She proceeded to expose Arsulu's true identity with a flock of reflecting scaled fish.
In Ariel and the Aquamarine Jewel, she, after becoming human, was requested by Triton to find several of Atlantica's treasures after a storm cast them out to sea, also necessitating that she return to mermaid form. She managed to retrieve them all, and Triton rewarded her by letting her keep one of the treasures and aquamarine necklace. It's implied in this story that she became much more well-versed in the knowledge of human behaviors and items, as she managed to politely correct Scuttle about what a human item was with some amusement.
Another story had her having a picnic with her sisters (herself sitting on an offshore rock, due to her being human during that time).
Another story, Ariel's Dolphin Adventure, had Ariel and Eric creating a wall so her old friends could be with her due to her missing them, but unintentionally trapped a baby dolphin inside. The wall was eventually destroyed by Triton after Ariel requested his assistance.
In the manga series Kilala Princess, Ariel plays a prominent role in Kilala's adventure to become a princess. She is the second Disney Princess to be visited. While mistaking Kilala to be a fish, she helps her look for a young prince named Rei, who separated from her in a storm. After finding the prince and providing medicine, she becomes curious with love and hopes to find her own true love someday. It inspires her to sing.
After Rei was captured by Ursula, Flounder comes to inform Ariel. On their way to Ursula's lair, Flounder collapses due to exhaustion and injury. Ariel then inspires Kilala to fight using her singing voice to remind her of the strength of love. After Ursula is defeated, Ariel gives Kilala an aquamarine gem. Ariel is last seen handing an emerald to Kilala's Magic Tiara.
The mermaid first appears in Power Play when she helps Willa escape Claude Frollo. She then teams up with the Keepers to defeat The Overtakers. It is revealed at the end of the book that she is friends with the captain of the Disney Magic.
In the second book Disney at Dawn, Willa approaches a cast member of the park who's dressed up as Ariel for autographs. She tells Willa that Captain Hook was acting strange and leaving his usual meet and greet spot.
Ariel appears in the novel written by Serena Valentino, in a significantly reduced role, as Ursula's backstory is the main focus. She appears only in the events that are canon to the original film.
Within the novel she appear officially three times, but is mostly seen briefly or mention during the storyline. The three times she does officially debut take on a interesting view of both the character in view point (Ariel's perspective) and observation (Ursula's perspective).
The first time begins when she comes to Ursula to solve her problem of being a mermaid, as the scene unfolds through the chapter. It is revealed that Ariel was fully aware after signing the contract that she had made a serious mistake along with how terrified she was of the uncertain fate she placed herself in, and what the experience it was for Ariel to lose her voice, which turned out to be excruciatingly painful.
Second time in the story she appear on the third day and unveils her thoughts during and after Eric is going to marry the mysterious girl of his dreams, Vanessa (Ursula in disguise). Showing how much Ariel wished she could undo the damage she cause, yet knowing and willing to face the consequences of her actions. Until it is reveal by Scuttle that she has been deceived all along by Ursula.
The last and final time Ariel is seen rising off on her wedding ship with Eric. She is full of joy that things have worked out with her father, and that she will be able to finally be a part of the human world with the man she loves.
Taking place either after Eric skewered Ursula or sometime after Ariel signed her contract in an alternate version of the original story, Ariel and Eric are planning to wed, but the sea-witch Ursula (perhaps somehow resurrected) has taken control of the ocean. So Ariel becomes a mermaid once more and sets off to rescue the sea.
The game takes place from a side view and Ariel (swimming most of the time, but hopping around on the land occasionally) can shoot bubbles to trap her foes and can then throw them at each other or into nooks and crannies (to potentially find treasure). She can also dig through sand to find treasure and pick up sea shells with which to break open chests. Some of her old foes, such as the shark Glut and moray eels Flotsam and Jetsam, have returned as stage bosses, while other bosses are new.
After Ursula is defeated for good, Ariel attempts to return to the surface and become human, but she cannot return to being a human. Much like in the ending of the original film, Triton then attempts to help Ariel out by transforming her back into a human, and their wedding continues as planned.
Although this game is not canon, this exact situation where Ariel had to be turned back into a mermaid would be duplicated in The Little Mermaid II where she leaves a much larger boat (Eric's lead fleet ship) rather than his rowboat as in the NES game. In addition, her bubble attack is later referenced as a spell card in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.
The Genesis game features Ariel, (or Triton) on a quest to save the transformed Atlanteans, (and either Triton or Ariel, depending on whom the player choose to play as) from Ursula's spell. This game most likely takes place before Ariel saved Eric from the shipwreck.
The gameplay allows the player to move in 8 directions, with the goal being to locate and transform Ursula's polyps back into Merfolk. The player is given a "normal attack" and "special attack". During the gameplay, the player can collect treasure, which after finding his icon, can trade with Skuttle for health, special characters, (Like Flounder and Sebastian) and special powers to aid them on their quest. After saving all the Atlicans in a stage, the player must then face a boss, the final encounter being Ursula herself, and the transformed Triton, (or Ariel if the player chose to play as Triton), being the final polyp that must be rescued.
Ariel appears in the Kingdom Hearts series. She is featured in the game, not as one the seven Princesses of Heart (her spot is taken by Alice from "Alice in Wonderland") but as one of two female warriors, along with Mulan, to join Sora, Donald, and Goofy in the fight against the Heartless.
She makes her series debut in Kingdom Hearts, where she encounters Sora, Donald, and Goofy for the first time during her latest phase. The young mermaid expresses her desire to see the mysterious worlds beyond the sea, though her father forbids it. Even so, she's soon manipulated by Ursula into revealing the legendary keyhole of her world in exchange for her dream come true. Fortunately, enough, Sora and friends are able to defeat the sea witch with Ariel's help, restoring peace and unveiling the keyhole, which Sora must lock.
In the sequel Kingdom Hearts II, Ariel's dreams of traveling the worlds were put aside for the simpler dream of living upon the surface. A dream that was only pushed further upon discovering the handsome Prince Eric. With Sora, Donald, Goody, Sebastian, and Flounder by her side, Ariel challenges her struggles and makes her dream a reality, with King Triton eventually giving his blessing, like in the film, after seeing Eric risks his life for Ariel's safety at the hands of a revived Ursula. Before leaving upon opening the keyhole, however, Sora and Ariel vow that they'll see each other again.
Ariel would also appear in the title Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, but as a fragment of Sora's memories and with a much smaller role.
Ariel will appear in Kingdom Hearts III as a Link summon. She has an ability called Lagoon Showtime, involving her summoned through a current of water where Sora will swing her overhead when she enters. Her initial attacks allow Sora to dive through platforms like water, while her final attack consists of Ariel and Sora entering an encore dance as water spouts from the ground akin to waterworks.
In this game, Ariel is first seen sitting on a rock near the harbor awaiting for the blonde-haired heroine of the game who has a bow on her head to befriend her. She convinces her that the land and the sea had lost their music so she took her under the sea to get the singing voices of the merpeople back and keep her human treasures from being broken. Later, they guide all the blue crabs to safety and go to the lagoon to bring in the chorus of animals.
Ariel appears as a meet-and-greet character in front of It's a Small World as well as a participant in the Mickey's Soundsational Parade and Princess Fantasy Faire mini-games. Ariel asks the player to complete several tasks as well. One includes finding seashells for a collection. Another involves finding some decor to decorate her parade float with. At one point, Scuttle loses a load of dinglehoppers and Ariel asks the player to help retrieve them for her so that she can return them to Scuttle.
A costume of Ariel is also available as an add-on feature in Disney Universe.
Ariel appears in Disney INFINITY as a cameo. In the 3DS version, when she appears to the player, she will give you an Emblem.
Ariel appears in Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion where she has been sucked into Wasteland by Mizrabel, trapping her and the Other Toons in the Castle of Illusion.
A stage musical version of the 1989 film had its world premiere in Denver, Colorado in 2007 for its pre-Broadway tryout, and on January 10, 2008 debuted on Broadway. The character of Ariel for the stage adaptation was originated by Sierra Boggess. Jodi Benson, her original voice actor, attended the opening night.
A few new songs were added to the score, accompanying the songs in the film that were moved to the stage. "The World Above" is Ariel's introductory song, and in the revised book after closing on Broadway, the show's opening number, replacing the entire shark-chase sequence in the film. In Act 2, although Ariel has become mute, she sings two songs expressing her thoughts and feelings, these songs being "Beyond My Wildest Dreams", where Ariel explores the human world for the first time, and "If Only", in which Ariel laments that she cannot express her feelings to Eric. Additionally, Ariel's voice can be heard in the extended opening of "Fathoms Below", although she is not seen on-stage.
The stage musical features new plot elements not present in the film. It is explained through dialogue that Ariel inherited her mother's singing voice, adding another layer to Triton's protectiveness of her. Ariel and Eric's romance is expanded from the film, as explored in a musical sequence "One Step Closer" where the pair dance together. In the climatic battle, it is Ariel, not Eric, who destroys Ursula by smashing the magic shell. The reason for this change was that the musical's creative team did not want Ariel to come off as passive. It is to be noted that she also is labeled as Ursula's niece in the musical, based on a deleted concept on the film.
Ariel makes appearances in all of the Disney parks. At Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo DisneySea, she can be found for meet-and-greets at her own special location known as Ariel's Grotto in her mermaid form, while her human form is available for meet and greets at Fantasy Faire in Disneyland and the princess meet-and-greets at Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.
Interestingly, Ariel is rather common in terms of cameo appearances in a few attractions. She can be spotted in Peter Pan's Flight amongst the other mermaids of Mermaid Lagoon and in the Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland versions of It's a Small World.
In California, Ariel appears during Mickey's Soundsational Parade, and also takes center stage in her own segment of the Disney California Adventure nighttime spectacular World of Color, singing a rendition of "Part of Your World" that transitions in Sebastian's "Under the Sea" performance.
In animated form, Ariel takes part in Mickey's PhilharMagic, where she performs "Part of Your World" as Donald Duck tries to retrieve the newest addition to her human collection--Mickey's sorcerer hat. The duck also becomes smitten with the mermaid and her beauty and makes an attempt to kiss her, only to lock lips with a flirtatious electric eel.
She can also be seen in her own float of the Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom.
Ariel serves as the star of the dark ride The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, which can be found at Disney California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom. Ariel makes several appearances throughout the ride, mostly in audio-animatronic form. On the exterior of the Magic Kingdom version, she appears as a figurehead on a shipwrecked ship. In the queue area of the Magic Kingdom version, guests can help her organize her human treasures.
In Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Ariel assists Sebastian, Merlin the Wizard and the park guests in stopping Ursula when Hades brings her back to life to assist the Underworld ruler in his attempts to take over the Magic Kingdom. Ursula even attempts to disguise herself as Ariel at one point to try and fool Merlin and the guests. Later on, the real Ariel happily congratulates the park guests after Ursula is defeat. Ariel also has her own spell card called "Ariel's Bubble Attack".
In Ariel's Seaside Treasures, after the marriage with Prince Eric, Ariel heard that her father King Triton had been feeling lonely for missing her. So she planned a big party at the seaside with both human and mar-people for the king! This was the special event taken place at Tokyo Disney Sea on Summer of 2003.
In the Mermaid Lagoon Theater, Ariel, Flounder, and other sea characters "swim" freely in this "undersea" theater, in a show featuring dazzling music and dynamic aerial performances. Here, Ariel and her undersea friends stand up to the evil sea witch Ursula, in a musical performance of courage and friendship.
In Shanghai, Ariel is featured in The Little Mermaid display in Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, and during the Golden Fairytale Fanfare castle show. Inside the castle, Ariel appears alongside Sebastian and Flounder in one of the walls carving displays.
Ariel is also prominently featured during the fireworks show, Ignite the Dream, where she performs "Part of Your World".
Ariel is one of the eleven official members of the Disney Princess line--a prominent franchise directed at young girls. The franchise covers a wide variety of merchandise, including, but not limited to, magazines, music albums, toys, clothing, and stationery. Ariel is usually depicted in her mermaid form on merchandise but also appears in her human form wearing her blue dress, white wedding dress or pink dress. The Disney Princess magazine features comics and posters of Ariel, usually in her mermaid form, but also in her human form as well.
Ariel, with her new redesign, is less franchised in her mermaid form and is more focused on her human form.
Ariel's red hair is much wavier and greater detail is shown and it also appears more voluminous. She is clad in a beautiful off-the-shoulder gown that has the same distinctive sea green color as her tail, with the overskirt being a paler green that matches her tail fins as do the long, puffy sleeves covering her arms and the petticoat under her dress. The hem of the overskirt has many elaborate swirly designs which include pictures of sea-related things. She wears lavender scallop seashell earrings with a matching brooch on her dress and a pair of sea green pumps to protect her feet.
In early redesigns, Ariel had a pale pink dress that was a revamp of her previous pink-and-white gown.
The modified redesigns of her mermaid form have added a sparkly effect to her mermaid tail, giving the impression of fish scales caught in a gradient light and a similarity to the patterns on her sea green-colored dress, also with lavender earrings that are similar to her seashell bra on her mermaid form.
Ariel's Palace Pets are Treasure, Seashell, Matey, Otto, and Sandy Pearl.
- Unlike her sisters, as a mermaid, Ariel doesn't wear hair accessories except for the occasional sea flower, which she wears more often in the film's comic adaptation.
- In Shrek 2, Ariel is referenced when Fiona tosses a mermaid bearing Ariel's color scheme into the ocean, only to be attacked by sharks. This may have been merely a joke, or was meant to highlight the negative history between some of the staff members at Disney and DreamWorks.
- Although all of Ariel's sister's names begin with the letter "A", Ariel is the only one to be of Roman instead of Greek origin, and the only one to not end with the letter "a", as in Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella and Alana. This could have been in an attempt to draw more attention to Ariel and emphasize how original she is.
- In Hebrew, Ariel's name literally means "lion of God".
- Ariel's namesake is most likely a reference to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, where the play's character of Ariel is an air spirit (referring to HC Andersen's original ending of his tale).
- Ariel's pose while she was sitting on a rock looking at an unconscious Eric near the end of the movie was inspired by the statue of The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the story originated.
- Although Ariel and Athena bare a striking resemblance, her personality is more similar to that of her father, King Triton's. This is especially noticeable in The Little Mermaid II, when Ariel reprimands her daughter Melody, for disobeying orders and venturing out into the sea, the same way Ariel disobeyed her father's orders and venturing up to the surface in the first film.
- Ariel's daughter, Melody, shares almost all of Ariel's personality traits from the first film. However, Ariel dreamt of becoming human and living on land while Melody's dream was to swim beneath the waves. Melody also resembles her father, however, they only have the same eyes and hair texture.
- In the video game Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble, CJ, the main protagonist's girlfriend, was modeled after Ariel.
- In Enchanted, the animated troll hunted down by Prince Edward wears Ariel's seashells as earrings.
- In Timon and Pumbaa's Wild About Safety short In the Water, Pumbaa briefly makes a reference to Ariel.
- The first real dress Ariel wears after she is a human is pink, similarly, the first dress her daughter is shown wearing is pink as well.
- Ariel speaks the last non-musical line of The Little Mermaid, which was: "I love you, Daddy." Her husband speaks the first non-musical line of the film being "Isn't this great, the salty sea air, the wind blowing in your face."
- During production of the first film, Ariel was originally going to be depicted with blonde hair, but was changed into a redhead in order to distinguish her from another famous Disney mermaid, Madison from Touchstone Pictures' Splash.
- In Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Ariel is seen trapped in a crystal.
- Ariel's eyes are redesigned when she became a woman in Return to the Sea.
- Voice actress Melissa Fahn, known for voicing Gaz on Invader Zim and Rika Nonaka on Digimon, auditioned for the part of Ariel. However, she was called back several times, and was turned down in favor of Jodi Benson because she sounded "too young."
- According to the Disneystrology book, her birthday is October 8. Ironically, some merchandising items indicate she is a Pisces (born between February 18 and March 20).
- Ariel is right handed, as shown when she signs her name on Ursula's contract in the first film.
- The storyline of Ariel stealing King Triton's trident in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is taken from The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, where Ariel's daughter Melody, steals Triton's trident (although for completely different reasons).
- Ariel has the most songs sung by any Disney movie character, despite the fact that she only has one song in her original movie (not counting the reprise).
- Ariel was the subject of an internet meme called "Hipster Ariel", which depicted Ariel with horn-rimmed glasses and saying a humorous statement.
- Hipster Ariel also has her own Funko POP! figure as a Hot Topic exclusive.
- 1941 concept art of the original idea of The Little Mermaid (before shelved) shows Ariel with long black hair and a bluish or greenish tail. It was also much closer to the original story. This artwork was done by Kay Nielsen.
- In some foreign-language versions of the film, her name is in the title.
- It's believed that the movement of Ariel's hair while underwater was based on footage of the astronaut Sally Ride in zero gravity.
- On the Marvel site, there was a create your own Marvel Superhero. One of these Superhero concepts, "Little Mermaid", was based on Ariel.
Differences from the source material
- The original Mermaid had only 5 sisters.
- The Mermaid's name is not revealed.
- The age of the Mermaid in the story was 15.
- The Mermaid has a grandmother in the original story with whom she frequently speaks.
- The Mermaid was actually permitted to swim to the surface and observe the human world when she turned 15. This plot point was given a subtle reference in the song "Part of Your World" with the lyric "When's it my turn? Wouldn't I love, love to explore that shore up above?"
- The Mermaid asks her grandmother about humans. Her grandmother explains that humans have a much shorter lifespan than the 300 years of the merfolk, but that when mermaids die they turn to sea foam and cease to exist, while humans have an eternal soul that lives on in Heaven. Having an eternal soul was one of the Mermaid's main motivations of becoming human in the original story.
- Rather than selling her voice to the Sea Witch, the witch sells her a potion that gives her legs in exchange for her tongue. She was warned that she would never be able to return to the sea. In exchange for her lost ability to sing and speak, she gains the ability to have amazing dancing skill. In addition, she will only obtain a soul if she finds true love and if the prince loves her and marries her. Otherwise, at dawn on the first day after he marries another woman, the Mermaid will die brokenhearted and turn into sea foam.
- On a related note, because of the motives for Ariel being changed (see above), the Disney version implied that the merpeople already possessed souls, especially regarding Ursula absorbing several souls from their deals. This is highlighted in her signature song, "Poor Unfortunate Souls".
- The prince believes a different princess saved him from drowning, rather than the Mermaid, and he falls in love with this girl and marries her.
- In the original ending, the Mermaid's heart breaks when the prince marries another girl. She despairs, thinking of the death that awaits her, but before dawn, her sisters bring her a knife that the Sea Witch has given them at the cost of their hair. If she slays the prince with the knife and lets his blood drip on her feet, she will become a mermaid again, all her suffering will end, and she will live out her full life. She can't bring herself to kill him and instead throws herself into the sea. She becomes a spirit called the "daughter of the air" and learns if she does good deeds for 300 years she will eventually rise into heaven with God, but only if the children of the world are good.
- There were a debate among the scholar over the ending. Some said this is an unnatural addition to the tale. One even commented "This final message is more frightening than any other presented in the tale. The story descends into the Victorian moral tales written for children to scare them into good behavior."
- When the Mermaid got her feet, she would experience excruciating pain as if she were walking on knives but she still ended up dancing with her lover despite that.
- The Mermaid got her statue before meeting and rescuing the prince, and it is implied that her main motivation for saving him was because he looked just like her statue. In the movie, Ariel got the statue after rescuing Eric.
- In addition, Ariel's interest in humanity had more focus in the movie than in the original tale, notably having an established interest in humanity before meeting Eric, even frequently disobeying Triton's commands that she stay away from the surface or get a human collection. The original mermaid lacked any interest in collecting objects from the surface beyond her marble statue, only being interested in tending to underwater red flowers. Ironically, it was her sisters who frequently plundered ships for objects instead of the mermaid herself, while in the Disney version, Ariel was more interested in collecting than her sisters. According to the writers, they changed this specific plot point specifically to avoid the resulting implication that Ariel only desired to become human because of Eric.