- “I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. I've got whosits and whatsits galore.”
- ―Ariel, singing of her treasures.
Ariel's Secret Grotto is a special place where Ariel keeps her vast treasure trove of human objects, antiques, and artifacts that she has collected. Each one has a special place in her heart.
It is a large cavern that has a large round stone covering the entrance. Inside are hollowed out shelves for which she stores and displays her discoveries.
After finding unusual objects throughout exploring places like sunken ships, caves and even sometimes above the surface, she puts them in a small pink shoulder bag and takes them back to store in her grotto. The Dinglehopper (a fork) is one of the notable objects.
Ariel has collected many things, each representing a special memory, adventure or a new discovery. She calls them her gadgets, gizmos, whosits, whatsits, and thingamabobs.
She had two collections stored there: The first one was started by her, after she learned to not be terrified of humans in the TV series. She was forced to destroy it after Ursula cursed the collection to attack Atlantica.
The second one was started at some point between the TV series and the film. It ended up being accidentally discovered by Sebastian who was keeping a watch on her at the time (and presumably started up again without his knowledge, based on his reaction to the collection) and then destroyed by King Triton when he was angry with Ariel upon learning that she rescued and fell in love with a human, especially when he saw she had a statue of him there as well. However, he becomes horrified and regrets his actions, leaving a weeping Ariel on her ruined grotto in shame. He later returns to find her gone to search for Ursula and orders a search for her to apologize at what he had done.
Its reappearance in the sequel implies that either Triton magically rebuilt it as a sign of atonement for his past violent outbursts or that not all of the collection in the grotto was destroyed. While the former is mostly likely, the latter at least must also be true, for one of Ariel's found paintings, Georges de la Tour's Penitent Magdalen and the Smoking Flame, is currently in a Los Angeles art gallery.
This trove could possibly be connected to the trove at the end of Beowulf. At the end of Beowulf, the people leave lots of treasures in a trove. These treasures include plates, goblets, silverware, and other semi-valuable things, all of which Ariel has in her trove. The Little Mermaid also has been suspected to take place in Denmark. Beowulf takes place around where modern day Sweden is. Now you might be thinking that Denmark and Sweden aren't the same place, and you're right, BUT they are close. Additionally Ariel's trove was probably not too close to her home because her father, Triton, is a minor sea god. She must hide her "treasures" from him because of his hatred towards humans, so she probably went farther from home, say around Sweden instead of Denmark to hide her trove from her father and his powers.
Her collection has included: