- “A girl rescued me. She was singing. She had the most beautiful voice.”
- ―Prince Eric
The character is based on the protagonist of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" fairy tale, but was developed into a different personality for the 1989 animated film adaptation. Her distinct appearance consists of long, flowing red hair, a green tail and a lavender seashell bikini top.
A stage musical version of the film debuted in 2007, in which the "live" role of Ariel was originated by Sierra Boggess and finalized by Chelsea Morgan Stock, who previously played her sister Andrina. She is portrayed live again in the ABC series Once Upon a Time by Joanna García.
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. Ariel's 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 Ariel for the 1989 film were the color required to show Ariel 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 Ariel's fin was a hue specially mixed by the Disney paint lab; the color was named "Ariel" after the character. Ariel 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 Benson's voice had "sweetness" and "youthfulness" that was unique. When recording the vocals for Ariel's theme song "Part of Your World", Benson 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.
As a mermaid, Ariel is strikingly beautiful and attractive; so beautiful in fact that she won an award for most beautiful Disney Heroine. She has an hourglass figure and fair skin. In her childhood, she used to wear a lavender tube top. Her lips were the same color as her skin. From the waist down, she has the tail, fins, and reproductive organs of a tropical fish. She has large, deep aqua blue eyes and full red lips. Her most defining feature is her long, red hair that matches the color of her lips. In Little Mermaid's Island, her seashell bra looks more like a strapless top that covers her belly.
When she becomes a human, Ariel's lovely tail is turned into two beautiful, long, slender legs with small feet. At first, the only article of clothing she wore was her seashell bra, but wears an old sail with some rope to keep it closed, fashioned by her friend Scuttle. Being prepared for dinner, she wears a pink-and-white gown with silver barrettes on 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's christening, she wears a gold and white dress and wears a low ponytail, decorated with a white bow. Ariel 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 her daughter's 12th birthday party, with her hair being shorter due to it being adjusted. Ariel still wears the same up-do with a green peasant dress when she's on her husband'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.
Ariel is a bright, spirited mermaid who is also adventurous and stubborn. Her curiosity and love for adventure sometimes gets her into trouble. Usually, however, Ariel overcomes any obstacle she faces like she uses magic to change things. Her best friend is a fish named Flounder and she develops a close relationship with a crab named Sebastian, the court's composer. Ariel is also impulsive, as evidenced by her exploring whilst forgetting about the concert. Ariel is able to risk everything for her love for Eric and for her dreams, even if this might hurt herself. She is also protective of her friends, saving them even when in doing so she endangers herself in the process, this is especially evident when she saved Flounder (who had been knocked out hard enough to render his air bladder temporarily inoperable and sink to the ocean floor) from Glut the Shark when nearly home free from the shark, nearly getting herself eaten in the process (the only thing preventing Glut from eating them being an anchor in its way that trapped the shark), as well as saving Sebastian from potentially being Grimsby's meal. She was also very forgiving and defended even people who were unable to defend themselves or were considered bad, as evidenced by her protecting Urchin despite the latter stealing from Triton as well as her defending a bad luck creature from both her friends and enemies for its reputation, and her saving Hans Christian Andersen. 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.
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 the same manner she was treated by King Triton in the first film. She is shown to long for the sea, but keeps this hidden from Melody for her own safety, even though it would've been easier if she explained everything to her or if they moved somewhere away from the ocean, she even points this out in a later scene and at the film's climax. 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 an independent and determined young mermaid. She spends her days singing, daydreaming, and adventuring with Sebastian and Flounder. She falls for a human named Eric and risks everything for her true love.
My Disney Experience Official Description
- The Little Mermaid's Ariel is a princess of the sea. She collects human treasures and longs to be a part of our world.
While she is a Mermaid, Ariel has a few abilities.
- Superhuman Strength: She is known to have at least a very certain degree of superhuman strength, as she was able to move away an underwater boulder blocking her grotto with relative ease in the original film (which, in real life, an underwater object blocking an object with an unbalanced volume would result in the door being sealed shut and virtually impossible to open, which doesn't even take into account water pressure and other related factors). 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 Eric, she effortlessly pulls him towards the surface and manages to keep them both afloat while holding him with one arm. Also, according to a slightly alternate version of the ending to the original film, Ariel slams into Ursula damaging her enough to knock the Trident off of her hand. The fact that she can give an Octopid Sea Witch who is at least 300 pounds and far larger than her a degree of damage by bumping into her implies that she has superhuman strength. Even though, Ariel may not be stronger than Ursula (while she is in her normal form or not amplifying her strength via magic). 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 Ariel was "a weak helpless girl"). It's debatable if she ever retained her superhuman strength by the time she became a human. It is apparent that she might be the physically strongest of the Disney Princesses, while Rapunzel would be the only competition.
- Superhuman Endurance: She may also have superhuman endurance, as during the final battle with Ursula in the film, Ariel 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 superhuman strength, it's debatable if she ever retained her superhuman 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 (in real life, a human who is at that depth would be crushed into oblivion in a matter of seconds due to the immense water pressure). Her superhuman endurance is also briefly alluded to in Kingdom Hearts, where one of her abilities, second wind, allows her to recover quickly from being knocked out.
- Underwater Breathing: As a mermaid, she 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, she 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 Triton's Greenland Palace from Denmark (the implied location of Eric's kingdom, assuming it isn't the Southern Mediterranean) 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, she is also capable of speaking with aquatic fauna. She retains her ability even in human form, but whether her abilities of superhuman strength and endurance were retained upon becoming human is debatable.
- Aquakinesis: Ariel in her mermaid form seemed to possess at least a small degree of aquakinesis, which was evident when a large wave crashed from behind the rock she had been perched on shortly after rescuing Eric right when she sang "World!", even though the ocean itself had been relatively calm. Her having aquakinesis is also supported by the NES/Sega game as well as the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom franchise, which had her using a bubble as an attack/spell. Her actions in the reprise of Part of Your World would suggest that her aquakinesis is linked to her emotions, much like the cryokinesis of Elsa in Frozen.
- Swordswoman: While in human form, she seems to at least have some knowledge of swordplay, which is evident when she used one to cut the rope of a mast to save Melody from Morgana. In addition, in one of the Marvel comics set before the movie, Ariel had a brief stint as a black knight and utilized swordplay during this time, indicating that she knew swordplay when she was a mermaid.
- Rapid Adaptability: She 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 (whereas the average human seems to need a few months at the very least to learn how to walk), 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 (primarily in the video games in which she is featured) demonstrated the ability to endure temperatures far more extreme than would be survivable for a human (especially one of her build). She has swum in icy waters with no ill effects, and in the presence of undersea volcanoes she has only been damaged when coming into immediate contact with burning magma. She also demonstrated this to a lesser extent in the films 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 lair, 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 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 Prince Eric. Although Ariel 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 Eric to be her puppet as a means to get him to marry her, and thus ensure Ariel cannot win her end of the bargain. This ability can be further proven for the only way Vanessa's (Ursula's) control over Eric could be broken was if the nautilus containing Ariel's voice was released. If this was Ursula's own magic Ariel's voice wouldn't have been needed to cast the hypnotizing spell. (It should also be noted that the hypnotic quality of Ariel's voice is extremely similar to that of the Sirens from the Greek myths. The Sirens were mystical creatures depicted as having the heads of beautiful women and the bodies of birds (though in more recent years they tend to be portrayed as mermaids); their singing was so sweet and enchanting that anyone who heard it would be hypnotized and irresistibly drawn to them and suffer a watery death by wrecking their ships on the rocky coast of their island. Since Sirens were also portrayed as femme fatales, it could be said that Ursula, as Vanessa, was metaphorically fulfilling the role of a Siren in hypnotizing Eric with her (stolen) voice and attempting to lure him to his doom).
In the Kingdom Hearts timeline, she also seems to excel at Lightning Magic (presumably due to her father wielding the Trident), Wind Magic (in the form of a protective barrier), and Healing Magic. In addition, as noted above, she also possesses the second wind ability, which allows her to recover quickly from being knocked out.
It's also implied that she was capable of reading advanced literature, as during "Part of Your World", she is seen reading an immense book in the grotto. In one of her episodes, she became a sea-witch and used her magic to grant Sebastian's wish of being bigger but unfortunately, the spell continuously worked, making Sebastian continue to grow to the point where he surfaced while standing, and Ariel's magic 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 Ariel so it wouldn't happen in the re-set timeline.
As depicted in the 1989 film, Ariel is the youngest of King Triton's seven daughters, and is 16 years old. Ariel has a vast fascination with the world of humans, despite such contact being forbidden by her father, King Triton, who is xenophobic, meaning that he hates humans.
At the beginning of the film, Princess Ariel and her fish friend Flounder swim through a shipwreck where they salvage human items. During their adventure, the two are attacked by a shark, but Ariel manages to outwit the vicious creature. After escaping the shark, Ariel and Flounder swim up to the surface, where they speak to Scuttle to identify human objects. Scuttle misidentifies a fork as a "dinglehopper" used to straighten their hairs and a pipe as a "snarfblatt" used to make music. The identification of the latter remind Ariel about the concert she was initially supposed to a part of. After Ariel is watched by two eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula the Sea Witch watches from her crystal ball bubble and wants them to keep an extra close watch on her.
Ariel hurries home to her father King Triton and Sebastian the crab, who both rebuke her for missing the concert. Hearing from Flounder about Ariel's encounter with a seagull, King Triton reprimands Ariel for going 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 Triton to obey his every rule and not to swim up to the surface again, Ariel 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 human objects isn't enough and gets more curious about the world above the ocean, even expressing her desire to actually live among the humans.
Later, Ariel spots a ship passing above. Incited, she quickly swims up to the surface and toward the ship, where she watches the party on board. She then spots a male human by the name of Prince 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. Ariel looks around for Eric and finds him unconscious in the sea. She carries him to the shore, where she sings to him how she longs to be with him in his world, but is forced to leave when others approach. Ariel falls in love with the prince 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. Ariel 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 Sebastian tries to entertain Ariel with a band of crustaceans producing music, Flounder comes over to Ariel to tell her something, and they both swim off.
Flounder takes Ariel to her grotto, where he surprises her with a statue of Eric that Flounder has somehow salvaged from Eric's destroyed ship and added into Ariel's collection. Ariel thanks Flounder, but then faces her stern father, who is very upset to learn from Sebastian that she has rescued a human being from drowning. Shocked and enraged that Ariel is in love with that human, Triton loses all his temper and proceeds to destroy all the human artifacts in the grotto with his trident, including the statue of Eric. Ariel tries plead for her father to stop, but to no avail. Devastated, Ariel breaks down in tears, and an ashamed Triton leaves the grotto. Sebastian, who has accompanied Triton to the grotto, try to console Ariel, only for her to tell him to leave. After Sebastian and Flounder exit the grotto, two eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, appear to convince Ariel to see their master Ursula the Sea Witch, who may have the power to make Ariel's dream come true. Ariel, after initially attempting to refuse, reluctantly follows Flotsam and Jetsam to Ursula's fortress.
Ariel nervously and fearfully enters the fortress, and Ursula calls for her. The sea witch, who knows that Ariel is in love with a human through spying on her via Flotsam and Jetsam, tells Ariel that she must become a human herself to be with Eric. Ursula explains the deal to Ariel: Ariel will become human for three days, during which she must get a kiss of true love from Eric before the sun sets on the third day in order to stay human; otherwise, Ariel will turn back into a mermaid and will be bond to Ursula forever. Ursula further states that as part of the deal, Ariel must give up her voice in order to become human. (Unknown to Ariel, the deal is simply a part of Ursula's sinister plot to take Triton's throne.) Ariel, thinking that is her only chance to be with Eric, accepts the deal as she signs a contract conjured by Ursula. The sea witch then orders Ariel to sing for her and summons magical hands to rip out Ariel's voice, which is then sealed into a seashell of Ursula's necklace. Ariel is then turned into a human and is helped to the shore by Flounder and Sebastian due to her inability to swim.
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, the crab begins trotting home, only to have Ariel convince him to stay and help, knowing if they reversed the curse and went back home, Ariel would be miserable once again. Now that the mission is set in motion, Scuttle provides some "clothing" for Ariel, just as the group is found by Eric's sheepdog Max, who leads his master to her. When Eric sees Ariel, he finds her familiar, but when he sees that she is unable to talk, he gets the feeling that she cannot be the girl he is looking for. Nevertheless, Eric takes Ariel to his palace, where Ariel takes a bath and gets dressed for the dinner. As Eric, his manservant Grimsby and maid Carlotta join her, Ariel notices a fork and uses it to comb her hair, making the three dumbfounded, which makes her embarrassed. Noticing Grimsby's pipe, Ariel takes it and, thinking it as a musical instrument, blows the contents into Grimsby's face, and Eric laughs at Grimsby's face covered with ash. After Grimsby wipes his face and dinner is served, he suggests that Eric take Ariel out on a kingdom tour, which Ariel accepts.
The next day, Eric takes Ariel out to show her his kingdom, whilst 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 Ariel, 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, Eric and Ariel spend time in a lagoon, riding in a rowboat rowed by Eric. In order to get the two 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, purposely Flotsam and Jetsam tip the boat over by order of the scheming Ursula (who's been watching the couple's development from her undersea lair), prompting Eric to help Ariel 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 Ariel up and delivers the news that Eric is getting hitched. She excitedly runs downstairs, only to see Eric with a dark-haired girl named Vanessa, whom he intends to marry. Ariel breaks down in tears and runs off, devastated that Eric is not marrying her. Later that afternoon, the wedding ship departs with Eric, the girl, and the wedding guests on board, leaving a heartbroken Ariel to mourn the loss of her dream prince. Just then, Scuttle comes over to tell Ariel a shocking news: the girl Eric is getting married to is the sea witch in disguise. Recalling Ursula's deal, Ariel 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 the barrel. Just as Ariel reaches the ship and climbs aboard, the seashell of Ursula's necklace that the bride has been wearing shatter in front of Ariel, freeing Ariel's voice, which is then restored to her. Eric, who has come out of a spell placed on him by the girl who seduced him with Ariel's voice, realizes that Ariel is the girl he is looking for. He dumps Vanessa and runs over to Ariel. But just as Eric and Ariel 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. As Ursula thinks of what she should do to Ariel next, Triton appears to confront the sea witch and orders her to release his daughter, to which Ursula refuses. Ariel apologizes to her father as he attempts to destroy the contract, to no avail. Ursula proceeds to wither Ariel, but offers someone even better to take Ariel's place. Triton accepts by blasting his signature on the contract with his trident. Ariel is released, but is forced to watch as her father is withered and transformed into a polyp. Ursula then takes Triton's crown and trident. Shocked and enraged, Ariel confronts Ursula and tries to fight her off, only for the sea witch to destroy the mermaid princess with the trident. Eric arrives to help Ariel, hitting Ursula with a harpoon. Ursula prepares to destroy Eric with the trident, but an enraged Ariel pulls on Ursula's hair just as the trident shoots, causing the shot to miss Eric and hit Flotsam and Jetsam instead, killing them.
After Ursula shortly mourns their loss, she enlarges herself as an even more eviller, nastier, monstrous version. Ariel and Eric try to escape, but then face a towering, gigantic Ursula. The sea witch declares herself as ruler of the ocean who has the power to control the waves and creates a rainstorm and a whirlpool. Ariel is separated from Eric, and Ursula causes her to become trapped at the bottom of a whirlpool. Ursula aims her trident at the princess and fires bolts of pure destruction at the now helpless Ariel, who barely manages to avoid her painful destruction each time. Just as Ursula prepares to use the trident to destroy Ariel with an unavoidable blast and taunting that she will never kiss Eric, Eric plunges the splintered bow of one of the shipwrecks (that have surfaced as a result of the whirlpool) through Ursula's abdomen, killing Ursula and saving Ariel at the last minute.
With Ursula defeated, her spells upon unfortunate merfolk are broken, including the spell cast upon King Triton, who transforms back into a merman. Above the waters, Eric manages to swim to shore, breaking down out of exhaustion as a saddened Ariel watches on from a nearby rock. King Triton and Sebastian look on from a distance; the king finally softening up towards humans upon realizing Eric risked his own life to save Ariel. Knowing the love between his daughter and Eric is pure and true, despite their differences as species, King 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, Ariel walks up to the shore, where she is happily reunited with Eric as he embraces her, and the two share their first kiss. Soon, Ariel and Eric, now married, have a wedding on the wedding ship attended by Eric's loyal subjects onboard and Ariel's family and friends in the sea around the ship. Ariel silently bids farewell to Scuttle and Flounder and gives to Triton a heartwarming hug before happily sailing away with Eric. Thanks to Ariel, Triton accepts Eric, Ariel's 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 Ariel's 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 in the series. She is also shown to have a friend named Urchin, an orphaned merboy. The series 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 Ariel being a direct influence on the creation of the story.
Ariel continues to be fascinated with human things in the series and is shown collecting items for her grotto; she gives them strange names such as calling an ordinary telescope a "Thing-a-mabob." Many episodes show Ariel working to foil enemies who would do harm to Atlantica. Prince Eric is sometimes shown in the series, but Ariel always just misses seeing him, preserving the continuity that she sees him first in the 1989 film. This is similar to Peter Parker, and Mary Jane in the first comic they met.
In this 2000 direct-to-video sequel, Ariel serves as the deuteragonist. The film shows Ariel as having given birth to a daughter named Melody (the film's protagonist). When we first see Ariel playing with her beautiful newborn daughter, 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 1989 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. Melody's love of the sea proves too strong, however, and when Melody falls into Morgana's clutches, Ariel is forced to temporarily resume her mermaid form in order to rescue her and save Melody from Morgana's scheme. In this time, Ariel briefly returns to her grotto as seen in the first film, and studies the objects, (which we are left to presume survived King Triton's anger in the first film) and keeps looking for Melody. This sequel features Ariel becoming an over-protective parent for her daughter, effectively taking over the role of her father in the 1989 film. Ariel 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 Ariel 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 Ursula's 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", she 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, a toddler Ariel and her sisters enjoy a music-filled life in Atlantica, with Triton and their mother, the beautiful Queen Athena. The merfolk 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 the ship when she tries to save the music box. Devastated by Athena's death, Triton throws the music box 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 and is constantly blowing her nose.
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. 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 seen at the end of the special by the floating palace jumping into the water.
Cameos and other appearances
In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, Ariel made a cameo during on a poster (before Jessica Rabbit and Minnie Mouse) when the Genie tried to make Jasmine happy, because she was sad from Aladdin's absence.
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!!"
Ariel appears on the cover of a Little Mermaid book in the village scene in Tangled.
In her debut episode she saves Snow White from drowning after Snow 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 Prince 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 Prince Eric's ball. At the ball Prince Eric 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 a 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 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 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 Prince Eric how she truly feels. In tears a muted Ariel heads back to the sea.
29 years later in Never Land, 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 shell 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 Neverland 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 the are ambushed by John and Michael Darling now working for 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 go 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 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 Neverland 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 scene 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 reuinted.
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.
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 her father, 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 her father 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 the sea witch Ursula, Flounder comes to inform Ariel. On their way to the witch'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 the witch 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 Judge 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 a large amount of video games. Some are based on her franchise, such as The Little Mermaid Pinball Frenzy, while most are based on the Disney Princess franchise like Disney Princess Enchanting Storybooks. A costume of Ariel is also available as an add-on feature in Disney Universe.
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.
Ariel appears in the Kingdom Hearts series and is voiced by her original voice actress Jodi Benson. 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.
Ariel appears in Disney INFINITY as a "cameo". In the 3DS version, when she appears to the player, she will give you a 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, the original voice actor for Ariel, attended the musical's 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, 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 bemoans 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 animated form, Ariel also 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 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.
Like many other iconic characters, Ariel has appeared in many parades (mostly starring in her own float), including Mickey's Soundsational Parade, the Festival of Fantasy Parade, the Disney Stars and Motorcars Parade, Parade of the Stars and various others, including holiday-themed parades.
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".
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.
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.
Ariel's Palace Pets are Treasure, Seashell and Matey.
Songs performed by Ariel
Songs from the TV series and others
- Little Mermaid's Island Theme Song
- Just a Little Love
- Home Is
- H2O (What a Feeling)
- In My Blue Backyard
- Manners and Etiquette
- In Harmony
- Daring to Dance
- Never Give Up
- Party with Me
- What's It Like to Be a Mermaid?
- Ariel's Christmas Island
- Sing a New Song
- There's Only One Ariel
- The Sea Kingdom
- Where Mermaids Dwell
- Happy Birthday Princess
- Jump In The Line (Reprise) Shake Shake Senora
- I Just Love Getting Dressed For Tea
- Don't Wake the Whale
- My Room in the Sea
- We Share the Earth
- At the Mermaid's Ball
- He's a Friend
- The Edge of the Edge of the Sea
Songs from the Broadway version
- If You Can Dream (Disney Princess)
- The Love We Share (Sofia the First: The Floating Palace)
- The Best Christmas of All (Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse)
- Beauty of the Season
- The Twelve Days of Christmas (Disney Princess)
- Christmas is coming
Differences from the source material
Ariel is based off the character, from the Hans Christian Andersen's Danish fairytale 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 fairytale, most of the continuity has modified, and changed completely:
- The original counterpart had only 5 sisters.
- The Mermaid was never given a name in the original story.
- 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 little Mermaid was actually permitted to swim to the surface and observe the human world when she turned 15.
- The little 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 (this is somewhat contradicted later in the story when the little Mermaid finds the skeleton of another mermaid in the sea witch's lair), while humans have an eternal soul that lives on in Heaven. Having an eternal soul was one of the little 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. The Mermaid 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 Little Mermaid will die brokenhearted and disintegrate into sea foam.
- On a related note, because of the motives for Ariel being changed, the Disney version implied that the merpeople already possessed souls, especially regarding Ursula absorbing several souls from their deals. This is highlighted in Ursula's signature song, "Poor Unfourtunate Souls".
- The prince believes a different princess saved him from drowning, rather than the little mermaid, and he falls in love with this girl and marries her.
- The Little Mermaid is denied her happy ending and her 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. If the Little Mermaid 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 cannot bring herself to kill him and instead throws her body 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 had been walking as if her feet were swords but she still ended up dancing with her lover despite the horrible pain.
- The Little Mermaid got her statue before meeting and rescuing the prince, and it is implied that her main motivation for saving the prince was because the prince looked just like her statue. In the movie, Ariel got the statue AFTER rescuing Eric.
- In addition, although the Little Mermaid does surface at her 16th birthday, she doesn't actually have much care for humanity before encountering the Prince's ship and rescuing the prince. The film had Ariel 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. 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.
- Ariel probably has the most screentime of all the Disney Princesses.
Ariel's voice actresses in foreign dubs of The Little Mermaid.
- Arabic: Rula Zaki (speaking and singing)
- Albanian: Manjola Merlika
- Arabic: Rula Zaki (speaking and singing)
- Austrian: Caroline Vasicek & Beate Hasenau
- Brazilian 1989: Marisa Leal (speaking), Gabriella Ferreira (singing)
- Brazilian 1998: Marisa Leah (speaking), Kiara Sasso (singing)
- Bulgarian: Mina Kostova (speaking), Vesela Boneva (singing)
- Cantonese: Cally Kwong (singing)
- Castilian: Graciela Molina
- Croatian: Renata Sabljak (speaking and singing)
- Czech: Jana Mařasová (speaking and singing)
- Danish 1989/1998: Marie Ingerslev (speaking), Sissel Kyrkjebø (singing)
- Dutch: Laura Vlasblom (speaking and singing)
- English: Jodi Benson (speaking and singing)
- Finnish 1989: Johanna Nurmimaa (speaking and singing)
- Finnish 1998: Nina Tapio (speaking and singing)
- French 1989: Claire Guyot (speaking and singing)
- French 1998: Claire Guyot (speaking), Marie Galey (singing)
- German 1989: Dorette Hugo (speaking), Ute Lemper (singing)
- German 1998: Anna Carlsson (speaking), Naomi van Dooren (singing)
- Greek 1989: Christie Stassinopoulou (speaking and singing)
- Greek 1998: Christina Kouloumbi (speaking), Anna Rossi (singing)
- Hebrew: Shlomit Aharon (speaking and singing)
- Hungarian: Oszvald Marika (speaking and singing)
- Icelandic: Valgerður Guðnadóttir (speaking and singing)
- Indonesian: Beatrix Renita Purwiastanti (speaking and singing)
- Italian: Simona Patitucci (speaking and singing)
- Japanese 1998: Mayumi Suzuki (speaking and singing)
- Korean: Su-Gyeong Kim (speaking and singing)
- Latin Spanish: Gabriela León (speaking), Isela Sotelo (singing)
- Mandarin: Xiǎo Yún Liú
- Norwegian: Sissel Kyrkjebø (speaking and singing)
- Polish: Beata Jankowska (speaking and singing)
- Portuguese: Mila Belo (speaking), Anabela Pires (singing)
- Quebec French: Violette Chauveau (speaking), Dominique Faure (singing)
- Romanian: Lara Ionescu
- Russian: Svetlana Svetikova (speaking and singing)
- Swedish: Sissel Kyrkjebø (speaking and singing)
- Thai 1989: Sansnee Wattananukhun (speaking and singing)
- Thai 1998: Chanjira Nimpitakpong (speaking and singing)
- Turkish: Berna Terzi Erol (speaking), Sebnem Ferah (singing)
- Ariel's currently the only official Disney Princess who isn't born a human.
- Ariel is one of the most popular Disney Princesses, probably because of her uniqueness of not being born human.
- Ariel is the first Princess of the Disney Renaissance, and her first movie marks the beginning of the Disney Renaissance.
- Although Ariel is so far the only Disney Princess to have a child of her own (not counting Descendants), she is not the only Disney heroine to have that honor if you count Wendy Darling from Peter Pan who is shown to have a daughter and a son in Return to Never Land, and Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame who has a son in the film's sequel and Lilo from Lilo & Stitch with her daughter Ani Pelekai.
- Ariel is the first Disney Princess to have biological siblings. The second is Merida, and the third is Anna with her sister Elsa.
- Ariel is the fourth youngest Disney Princess as she was already 16 before her feature film began. Aurora is the third youngest for a majority of Sleeping Beauty takes place on Aurora's 16th birthday. Jasmine is the second youngest as she was 15 during the events of Aladdin and turns 16 at the movie's conclusion, while Snow White is the youngest, being only 14.
- Ariel is the second Disney Princess to be depicted nude (not counting the seashell bikini top). The first is Cinderella (briefly), and succeeding them is Mulan.
- Ariel is the second Disney Princess to be tempted by the villain's offer to make her wish come true (the first being Snow White and the third being Tiana), and yet, the last to give in to the temptation in all versions of the story.
- Ariel is one of the only Disney Princesses to have superhuman strength, the second is Rapunzel and the third is Elsa the Snow Queen.
- Until Tiana in The Princess and the Frog nearly two decades later, Ariel was the last Disney Princess to actually be seen getting married in her debut film. Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, and Pocahontas either had their marriages occur offscreen and left unmentioned, or otherwise had their marriages depicted in sequels.
- Alongside Snow White and Belle, she is the only Disney Princess not to have a duet with her love interest.
- Unlike her sisters, as a mermaid, Ariel doesn't wear hair accessories except for the occasional sea flower.
- 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 terms, Ariel translates to English as "lion of God" and is believed to be the name of an angel.
- 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, which primarily 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 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 Return of Jafar, Genie briefly transformed into Ariel near the film's climax (having disguised himself as a figurehead that's modeled in her likeness, in order to steal Jafar's Lamp from an elated Abis Mal).
- In A Goofy Movie, a mermaid lamp with Ariel's trademark colors was seen in Goofy and Max's motel room. Before that, a prop resembling Ariel could be seen in the school auditorium.
- In the video game Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble, CJ, the main protagonist's girlfriend, was modeled after Ariel.
- At the beginning of the film Shrek 2, Shrek and Fiona are kissing on the beach when the tide comes in, bringing with it a familiar-looking mermaid. This Ariel-lookalike has involuntarily landed atop Shrek in place of Fiona, so the latter grabs her by the tail and flings her back into the sea, where she encounters a couple of sharks.
- 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 Water Safety, Pumbaa briefly makes a reference to Ariel.
- Ariel is one of two Disney stars to meet their author. The other is Tarzan of the movie of the same name. In both cases they meet them in their television series, made after the film they first appear in, and in each case they are unaware of the significance of the meeting.
- Ariel is the first Disney Princess/heroine to wear a skimpy outfit, with Jasmine being the second and Kida being the third.
- Ariel is the first Disney heroine to save their love interest's life. As she saved Eric from drowning, she was followed by Belle, Pocahontas, Mulan, Esmeralda and Rapunzel.
- Ariel is the first Disney Princess (second if you include Princess Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron) to be created since 1959, with Princess Aurora.
- Ariel is the first princess to come from an underwater kingdom, with the second being Kida.
- Ariel was the last Disney Princess to have a female villain until Rapunzel's debut in 2010.
- Although Belle is the princess most associated with reading, Ariel was the first princess to actually be seen reading, predating Belle.
- 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.
- The first line Ariel speaks in The Little Mermaid is "Flounder, hurry up!".
- 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."
- Ariel is the third Disney heroine to share a dance with her love interest, however the dance did not take place right after they met like it did for Aurora and Cinderella.
- Ariel is the fourth Disney Princess to be forced to run away from her love interest, she was preceded by Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora, and was succeeded by Pocahontas.
- Ariel shares some similarities with Prince Naveen.
- Both Ariel and Prince Naveen each accepted a villain's offer and were double crossed by them. This is notable for though Snow White took a villain's offer, she was unaware of who she was taking it from. Ariel and Naveen were both taking offers from outcasts of Atlantica, and New Orleans.
- Ariel and Prince Naveen were both magically transformed at the end of their villain's song.
- Ariel and Prince Naveen needed their respective love interest to save their life. For Eric defeated Ursula before she was about to kill Ariel, and Tiana defeated Facilier who was going to use the prince's blood to gain power.
- 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.
- Ariel has the second biggest eyes after Rapunzel and the first to have big eyes.
- Voice actress Melissa Fahn, known for voicing Gaz on Invader Zim and Rika Nonaka on Digimon, auditioned for the part of Ariel and was called back several times, but 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.
- As Ariel shares similar personality traits with her father it should be noted she has deep regret over her actions (not telling Melody the truth about her heritage/keeping her from the sea), the same way King Triton regrets how he treated Ariel (not allowing her to study human objects/destroying her whole collection of objects). Due to both Ariel and Triton trying to protect their children they ended up putting their child at risk, and themselves for by the time the truth was revealed Ursula and Morgana gained the upper hand due to their manipulations of Ariel and Melody. Notably both villains believed Ariel and Melody were the key to King Triton's undoing.
- Ariel is normally seen with Belle, Jasmine and Rapunzel than the other princesses.
- As stated by her father, Ariel's curiosity in other worlds drew her to her grotto, the place of Atlantica's Keyhole.
- 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, stole Triton's Trident (although for completely different reasons).
- Ariel has the reddest lips of the Disney Princesses, following Snow White.
- Ariel has appeared in more Princess-themed merchandise than any of the other princesses.
- 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 is the second princess to run away from home. The first being Snow White and the third being Jasmine and the fourth being Elsa.
- Of the Disney Princesses with a confirmed real-life timeframe and location, Ariel is the second most current, existing during the early 19th century (as heavily implied in the TV series); She is beaten only by Tiana, who lived during the 1920's. Anna, Elsa, and technically Rapunzel also lived during this period of time, during the 1840's (as confirmed in Disney's The Art of Frozen, along with Rapunzel's cameo in the film confirming her placement). In addition it is implied Cinderella also lives in the 19th as well due to the cameo of The King and The Grand Duke attending the wedding of Eric and Vanessa. Preceding them are Belle (late 18th century, as confirmed by Glen Keane in the second disc for the Special Platinum Edition for Beauty and the Beast); Pocahontas (15-16th century, due to the first contact between Great Britain and what would become the state of Virginia); Aurora (14th century, as explicitly stated in her film) and Jasmine (confirmed to be during the time of the Hellenistic Era in "Hercules and the Arabian Night").
- 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.
- Ariel is the first Disney Princess that Sofia met that hasn't been in her redesign look, because she met her in her mermaid form. The second is Mulan in the episode "Princesses to the Rescue", in her warrior disguise appearance, rather than her redesign look.
- Ariel is one of the only three Disney Princesses to appear in the Walt Disney World attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (the other two being Pocahontas and Tiana).
- 1941 concept art of the original idea of The Little Mermaid (before shelved) shows Ariel with long black hair and a blue-ish or greenish tail. It was also much closer to the original story. This art work was done by Kay Nielsen.
- Ariel is the first Disney Princess to get grounded.
- Ariel is the first rebellious Disney Princess and to have reddish hair, followed by Merida.
- In some foreign-language versions of the film, her name is on the title.
- Ariel is the second Disney Princess to appear in a Broadway musical, she was preceded by Belle.
- Ariel shares some similarities with Pinocchio.
- Both have an adventurous, cheerful, and naive personality.
- Both dream of changing something about their appearances. Pinocchio wanted to become a real boy, while Ariel wanted to become human.
- Both have a small musical companion assigned to keep watch over them (Jiminy for Pinocchio, Sebastian for Ariel).
- Neither of their companions are listened to.
- Both have a fish for a friend (Cleo for Pinocchio, Flounder for Ariel).
- Both have white-haired fathers who worry for them when they disappear.
- Both have come across unsavory characters ( Honest John + Gideon for Pinocchio, Flotsam + Jetsam for Ariel) who convince them to go to another villain (Stromboli and later, The Coachman in Pinocchio's case, Ursula in Ariel's case) down the wrong path.
- Both make choices that lead to sadness and disaster. Pinocchio chose to perform in Stromboli's show, resulting in him getting locked in a cage. Later, he chose to go to Pleasure Island which resulted in Pinocchio almost turning into a donkey. Ariel chose to accept Ursula's deal, which later resulted in Ursula usurping King's Triton's crown and trident.
- Both were attacked by giant sea monsters in the climax (Monstro for Pinocchio, a gigantic Ursula for Ariel).
- On the note of oceans, the Disney animators used the same underwater techniques that were used in Pinocchio to make the underwater scenes in The Little Mermaid.
- Both their dreams finally come true in the end.
Notes and References
| Snow White | Cinderella | Aurora | Ariel | Belle | Jasmine | Pocahontas | Mulan | Tiana | Rapunzel | Merida
Other Princesses: Maid Marian | Leia | Eilonwy | Calla | Kiara | Melody | Kida Nedakh | Ting-Ting, Su and Mei | Giselle | Kilala Reno | Atta | Dot | Kairi | Charlotte La Bouff | Vanellope von Schweetz | Sofia the First
Home Video: Disney Princess Sing Along Songs - Once Upon a Dream | Disney Princess Sing Along Songs Vol. 2 - Enchanted Tea Party | Disney Princess Sing Along Songs Vol. 3 - Perfectly Princess | Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams
Incorporated Films and shorts: Alice in Wonderland | Aladdin/The Return of Jafar | Beauty and the Beast | Cinderella | Fantasia | Hercules | The Hunchback of Notre Dame | Lilo & Stitch | The Lion King | The Little Mermaid | Mickey, Donald and Goofy: The Three Musketeers | Mulan | The Nightmare Before Christmas | Peter Pan | Pinocchio | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl | Sleeping Beauty | Steamboat Willie | Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Tarzan | Tron/Tron: Legacy | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Villains: Master Xehanort | Ansem | Xemnas | Maleficent/Dragon Maleficent | Pete | Organization XIII | Vanitas | Xigbar/Braig | Xaldin | Vexen | Lexaeus | Zexion | Saïx/Isa | Demyx | Luxord | Marluxia | Larxene | Terra-Xehanort | Young Xehanort | Xehanort's Guardian
Other Characters: Jiminy Cricket | Naminé | Ansem the Wise/DiZ | Yen Sid | Xion | Axel/Lea | Master Eraqus | Dilan | Even | Aeleus | Ienzo | Lingering Will | Data Sora | Data Riku | Data Naminé | Data Roxas | Hayner | Pence | Olette | Riku-Ansem | Kairi's Grandma | Riku Replica | Anti-Saïx | Anti-Sora | Anti-Riku | Sora-Heartless | Jiminy's Journal
Disney Characters and Villains: Queen Minnie | Daisy Duck | Pluto | Tarzan | Winnie the Pooh | Aladdin | Genie | Tron | Magic Brooms | Peter Pan | Quasimodo | | Merlin | Tigger | Eeyore | Rabbit | Ariel | Mulan | Mushu | Jack Sparrow | Chernabog | Simba | Timon | Pumbaa | Nala | King Triton | Jafar/Genie Jafar | Alice | Cheshire Cat | Jack Skellington | Esmeralda | Phoebus | Beagle Boys | Scrooge McDuck | Huey, Dewey and Louie | Master Control Program | Sark | CLU | Rinzler | Beast | Stitch | Hercules | Tick-Tock the Crocodile | Snow White | Wendy (More coming soon)
Objects: Sea-salt ice cream | Wayfinder | Door to Darkness | Keyblade | X-blade | Mickey's Letters | Thalassa Shell | Kingdom Hearts Encoder | Keychain | Gummi Blocks | Bug Blox | Black coat| | Keyblade Armor
Locations: Land of Departure | Disney Castle | Disney Town | Timeless River | Datascape | Radiant Garden/Hollow Bastion | Keyblade Graveyard | Destiny Islands | Traverse Town | Dive to the Heart | End of the World | Realm of Darkness | Castle Oblivion | Twilight Town | The World That Never Was | Castle That Never Was | Halloween Town | Neverland | Wonderland
Music: Dearly Beloved | Simple and Clean | Sanctuary | Mickey Mouse Club March | Swim This Way | Part of Your World | Under the Sea | Ursula's Revenge | A New Day is Dawning | Destati | Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo | He's a Pirate | Beauty and the Beast | This is Halloween | It's a Small World | Night on Bald Mountain | Winnie the Pooh | The Sorcerer's Apprentice | The Pastoral Symphony
Soundtracks: Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Final Mix - Additional Tracks | Kingdom Hearts II Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack Complete | Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep & 358/2 Days Original Soundtrack | Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Original Soundtrack
Characters: Kilala Reno | Rei | Snow White | Doc | Grumpy | Happy | Sneezy | Bashful | Sleepy | Dopey | The Evil Queen | Cinderella | Lady Tremaine | Anastasia Tremaine | Drizella Tremaine | Aurora | Maleficent | Ariel | Flounder | Sebastian | Ursula | Belle | Beast | Gaston | Jasmine | Aladdin | Jafar | Iago | Tippe | Erica Ange | Sylphy | Kilala's Parents | Valdou