- “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 based on the nameless protagonist of Hans Christian Andersen's Danish fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" yet she does not have a melancholy ending as in Andersen's tale.
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 advisor 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 1980's the project was finally reopened, yet Disney decided to disregard the dark and grimm 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. During development the studio officially gave their Little Mermaid the aquatic-like name of "Ariel". 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.
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. Nevertheless, Ariel's selflessness, compassion, and intuitive way of thinking often resolves 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, 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.
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 guppy's 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. After meeting Eric, however, 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 ever she 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 good in things, as she also doubted that humanity 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 intelligent and intuitive.
In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel matures after becoming a mother. Due to the threat of Morgana, 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. Her most notable trait, however, was her deep love and fascination for humanity, having desired to become human during the events of the first film, even prior to meeting her future husband, Eric. She did not always have this trait, however: until she was 15 years of age, she expressed a deep fear of humanity similar to Triton's xenophobia of humanity, 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 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 light blue long sleeves, a dark blue bodice, and a blue (sometimes white) shirt. She also wears a big royal blue bow in her hair and black heels. 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.
While she is a Mermaid, Ariel has a few abilities.
- Atlantean Strength: She is known to have at least a very certain degree of Atlantean strength, as she was able to move away an underwater boulder blocking her grotto with relative ease in the original film. When discovering Eric's ship due to the fireworks, she is shown effortlessly climbing up the side of the ship with just her arms. When saving him, she effortlessly pulls him towards the surface and manages to keep them both afloat while holding him with one arm. In Ariel's Beginning, she seemed to be able to knock down a door to free her friends (This is especially telling as Sebastian stated immediately prior that she was "a weak helpless girl"). It's debatable if she ever retained her Atlantean strength by the time she became a human.
- Alantean Endurance: Ariel may also have Atlantean endurance, 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 person if not completely destroy the body of a said person. Like her Atlantean strength, it's debatable if she ever retained her Atlantean endurance when she turned into a human, although her first transformation implied that it was retained as her body was not being crushed while trying to swim for air.
- Underwater Breathing: As a mermaid, Ariel is also able to metabolize oxygen from the water, which negates the need to surface, though she is certainly more than capable of breathing on land.
- Speed Swimming: Also, Ariel is capable of swimming at a much faster rate than humans or even certain marine creatures in terms of undersea travel, or sea travel as a whole due to her half-marine status. Like dolphins, she is capable of leaping out of water at great heights. 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: Because of her being a mermaid, Ariel is also capable of speaking with aquatic fauna. She retains her ability even in human form.
- Swordswoman: While in human form, Ariel seems to at least have some knowledge of swordplay, which is evident when she used one to cut the rope off a mast to save Melody from Morgana.
- Rapid Adaptability: Ariel also seems to be capable of rapid adaptability. This is especially evident in terms of her becoming a temporary human, where she learned how to stand in a few minutes, and move in presumably the same timespan, as well as quickly learning about the true human customs and abandoning her original beliefs about how human artifacts work, or at the very least not doing it in public.
- Thermoendurance: Ariel has demonstrated the ability to endure temperatures far more extreme than would be survivable for a human (especially one of her build). This is shown in the film's and TV series, where she went to the arctic with minimal ill effects other than feeling a bit cold, as well as in 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.
- Magical Voice: Ariel's voice seems to possess magical abilities. In the episode "The Evil Manta" of the TV series, her singing voice seemed to be only weapon that could banish the Manta from Atlantica. Her voice conjured an underwater storm that cast the Manta out of the empire. In another episode of the TV series known as "Giggles", she was cursed that if she laughed her laughter would cause Sea-Quakes; however, this curse was removed by the end of the episode. Her voice was also able to awaken an unconscious Eric. Although she herself never used her voice in this manner, her voice can also be used in a far darker way, such as mind control, as evidenced by Ursula, while adopting the identity of Vanessa, using Ariel's voice to brainwash Prince Eric to be her puppet as a means to get him to marry her, and thus ensure Ariel can't win her end of the bargain. This ability can be further proven for the only way Vanessa's (Ursula's) control over him could be broken was if the nautilus containing Ariel's voice was released.
In one episode, Ariel briefly became a sea witch and learned how to use magic; she used her newfound 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.
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, meaning that he hates humans.
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 attacked 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 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 others 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 all his temper and 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, try to console her, only for her to tell him to leave. After he and Flounder exit, two eels, 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-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 take 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 in disguise. 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 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, 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. 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. 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 destroy 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 at the last minute.
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 onboard 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. Thanks to her, Triton accepts Eric, her new husband, as his new son-in-law.
The Little Mermaid (TV series)
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. The film shows her as having given birth to a daughter named Melody (the film's protagonist). 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 (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. Her 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 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 "Pluto vs. Figaro", she tried to sing on stage, although the set ended up falling on top of her.
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. 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 Sofia the First: 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.
Cameos and other appearances
"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 lamp in Goofy and Max's hotel room with her iconic colors and also as a prop in Max's school auditorium.
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 cancelled 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 White jumps off a cliff to avoid The Evil Queen's guards. Ariel tells Snow White that once a year a mermaid can walk on land, though only for the 12 hours between high tides. She then tells Snow White she saved Eric (played by Gil McKinney) a year before and has been in love with him ever since. Snow White 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 White 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 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 if Snow White is a mermaid she can escape to the sea and be free from the Evil Queen. Regina then appears and tells Ariel to go her Prince and moves to kill Snow White. Ariel not willing to let that happen attacks the queen with a fork which distracts Regina long enough to get the bracelet off Snow White and give her back her tail. Snow and Ariel then dive into the water and swim away from Regina. After Ariel and Snow White have escaped to a near by beach, Snow tells Ariel to go back to the prince and tell him the truth. Ariel happily listens to Snow White 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 tells Ariel that she will not have a second chance at true love and that she took her voice so Ariel can never tell Eric how she truly feels. In tears a muted Ariel heads back to the sea.
29 years later in Neverland, Regina and Mr. Gold are by the banks of a lake. Regina whispers something into a sea shell that causes Ariel to appear. Regina returns Ariel's voice to her and asks her to go to return to Storybrooke so Ariel can retrieve a weapon from Mr. Gold's shop that will be strong enough to stop Peter Pan. Regina then promises Ariel that she can be a human permanently and if she goes to Storybrooke she will find Eric there. Ariel then agrees.
Ariel's next appearance in Once Upon a Time is titled "Dark Hollow". This episode immediately picks up after the events of "Ariel". Mr. Gold explains to Ariel how to get to Storybrooke by using a stick to draw a map. Ariel studies the map and comments that it will be a long journey and that she will need to cross realms but she will be able to get there. Mr. Gold then conjures a sand dollar for Ariel to take along and tells her she must find a person named Belle and give it to her. Before leaving Ariel asks about where to find Eric. Regina refuses to tell her until Ariel and says incentives are important and the bracelet will only give her human legs for twenty-four hours. Though hesitant about what Regina said Regina says to Ariel she will need trust her to which Ariel jumps back into the water and makes her way to Storybrooke.
Ariel makes it to Storybrooke and sees Leroy. She introduces herself as Ariel and slips on a bracelet which transforms her into a human. She then walks out of the water and approaches to ask Leroy where to find a person named Belle. Leroy takes Ariel to the town diner to meet Belle. Belle questions Ariel as to why she has come to Storybrooke to which Ariel replies she came from Never Land on a mission for Mr. Gold. Belle is then shocked and relieved Mr. Gold is alive and Ariel tells Belle Mr. Gold needs him to save everyone.
The two head go to Mr. Gold's shop where Belle is able to use the sand dollar given to her by Ariel from Mr. Gold to find the item capable of defeating Pan. However, after finding the item which has turned out to be Pandora's Box, they are ambushed by John and Michael Darling, who are now working for Peter Pan, and the two of them tie Ariel and Belle 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 Michael and George 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 time to her advantage, she grabs the box and kicks their gun away. John and Michael tell Ariel and Belle that Peter Pan has Wendy hostage and if they don't do his bidding he will kill her. Ariel and Belle promise they will help save their sister. Ariel and Belle then go to the coast where she parts ways with Belle and returns to Never Land with Pandora's Box.
Ariel returns to Neverland and is greeted by Regina and Mr. Gold. Regina keeps up the end of her deal and enchants Ariel's bracelet telling her she now become a human whenever she wants. She then gives the two Pandora's Box and before heading back to Storybrooke she tells Mr. Gold and Regina about Wendy that she needs to be rescued too. Regina has no concern but Mr. Gold expresses a willingness to try. Ariel then leaves to return to Storybrooke. After she permanently becomes human, she finds Eric working as a fisherman. The two of them are then reunited and reconcile.
In Episode 17 of Season 3, Ariel returns and yet does not return. She is seen in the missing year to have tracked down Killian Jones and the two of them track down the notorious Blackbeard so that Hook can regain The Jolly Roger. Things do not go as planned and Ariel escapes to find Eric on an island where they are reunited.
That is where they still are when Zelena the Wicked Witch of the West impersonates her in Storybrooke after the second curse. The fake Ariel "reunites" with Belle for her actions in Storybrooke.
It is later revealed by Ariel, that after The Jolly Roger was relinquished back to Blackbeard, he used the ship to terrorize people including Princess Anna and her fiancé Kristoff of Arendelle. When Queen Elsa found out she shrunk down the ship and trapped it in a bottle and somehow Ariel ended up trapped inside as well. After Ursula hauls the ship from the Enchanted Forest to Storybrooke, the Jolly Roger regains its normal size with the help of some magic, which frees Ariel from her prison. Hook, knocked out by Ursula, is thrown into the sea, but Ariel saves him in time. Below deck, she snaps him into consciousness and then slaps him as penance for previously tossing Black Beard overboard. Ariel explains the circumstances that led to Elsa penalizing Black Beard and how she herself got trapped in the bottle due to it. After expressing gratitude towards Hook for freeing her, she asks about his prior dispute with Ursula. Hook admits he was too focused on his own ambitions and couldn't hold up his end of the bargain with Ursula. When he considers Ursula is right about villains not having happy endings, Ariel reasons that villains always use wrong methods to obtain them. She later helps contact Ursula's father, Poseidon, and bring him to Storybrooke so he can reconcile with his daughter.
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, an 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.
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 dives off a much larger boat (Eric's lead fleet ship) rather than his rowboat 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 Atlanticans, (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.
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.
In this game, Ariel is first seen sitting on a rock near the harbor awaiting for the blond-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.
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 shows 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 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 Shaghai, Ariel is featured in The Little Mermaid's 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 wall 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 Disney's most iconic animated characters and her specific color combination of red hair, lavender seashells and green tail make her distinctly identifiable. She is also thought of as being the first Disney Princess to break free from the traditional princesses of the 1930's through 1950's as she is a very proactive character, while earlier heroines were more reactive. Ariel makes the choice to exchange her voice for legs and fights to achieve her dream. Earlier Disney heroines often had dreams, but they did little about them and they usually only involved finding a prince and living happily ever after. Although Ariel wishes to be with Eric, her desire to become a human also adds a dimension to the story. Many see her as being the first contemporary Disney Princess, since she is independent and proactive about making her dreams a reality instead of just simply waiting for them to come true.
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 a lavender earrings that similar with her seashell bra on her mermaid form.
Ariel's Palace Pets are Treasure, Seashell, Matey and Sandy Pearl.
Differences from the source material
Ariel is based on the character from the Hans Christian Andersen's Danish fairy tale Den lille havfrue, literally: "the little sea lady." Ariel's character has many changes. Though her adventure is kept at least relatively consistent with the original fairy tale, most of the continuity has modified, and changed completely:
- 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 merfolks' 300 years, 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, 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.
- 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.
- Unlike her sisters, as a mermaid, Ariel doesn't wear hair accessories except for the occasional sea flower.
- 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 was obviously meant to be DreamWorks' insult and hatred towards Disney.
- 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 translates to English as "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 in 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 film being "Isn't this great, the salty sea air, the wind blowing in your face."
- In Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Ariel is seen trapped in a crystal.
- Ariel's nightgown resembles the one worn by Princess Anne in the film Roman Holiday.
- 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, she's the character associated to October 8.
- 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 of 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 art work was done by Kay Nielsen.
- In some foreign-language versions of the film, her name is on the title.
- On the Marvel site, there was a create your own Marvel Superhero. One of these Superhero concepts, "Little Mermaid", was based on Ariel.
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