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Vanessa (The Little Mermaid)

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Background information
Feature films The Little Mermaid
Short films
Television programs House of Mouse
Video games Kingdom Hearts II
Disney Villains Challenge
Park attractions Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Portrayed by
Portrayed by
Animators Nik Ranieri
Chris Baily
Andreas Deja
Voice Jodi Benson
Pat Carroll (after the destruction of her necklace)
Performance model Sherri Stoner
Inspiration The shrine maiden in the original Anderson fairytale
The Evil Queen
Honors and awards
Character information
Full name
Other names The Sea Witch,
The maiden (in the storybooks)
Personality Sadistic, flirtatious, possessive,
Appearance Slender, almost identical to Ariel, pale skin, ruby red lips, long wavy dark brown hair, violet eyes
Occupation Ursula's alter ego
Prince Eric's ex-fiancee
Alignment Evil
Alignment Bad
Goal To ruin Ariel's chances of Eric kissing her by the end of the third day (successful)
Home Ursula's fortress
Pets Flotsam and Jetsam
Allies Jafar, Scar, Hades, Chernabog, Maleficent, Queen Grimhilde, Cruella De Vil, Judge Claude Frollo, Governor Ratcliffe, Captain Hook
Minions Flotsam and Jetsam
Enemies Ariel, King Triton, Sebastian, Flounder, Scuttle, Prince Eric, Max, Sora, Mickey and Friends
Likes Winning, praise, possessing others
Dislikes Being attacked, losing, insolence, getting bitten
Powers and abilities Hypnotism, shape shifting, storm summoning
Weapons Her necklace
Fate Reverted back into Ursula on the third day and dies when Eric stabs her in the film
Quote "Soon I'll have that little mermaid and the ocean will be mine!"
"Oh why you little!"

What a lovely little bride I'll make, my dear I'll look divine!

Vanessa is a beautiful woman from The Little Mermaid, and the alter ego of Ursula the sea witch. Using the power of Princess Ariel's voice trapped in her golden necklace, she is able to brainwash Prince Eric into falling in love with her. This is all toward her ultimate goal of ruining Ariel's chances to kiss Eric before sunset.

When the necklace is intact, she is voiced by Jodi Benson, but once the necklace is broken, she is voiced by Pat Carroll.


Concept And Creation

Vanessa's role in the film is inspired by the original Andersen tale. In that story, after the prince has been rescued by the mermaid, he is found on the beach by a princess whom he believes to have saved him. Later on, after the mermaid becomes human, she discovers that the prince will be marrying the maiden. In the end the maiden marries the prince while the mermaid (who chose not to kill the prince despite the urging of her sisters) dies and ascends to a spiritual rebirth. The maiden, like the Sea Witch, was also a neutral entity rather than a villain.

In the book the maiden does not speak, and is presented as being spritely and innocent. She is very much in love with the prince though, snuggling up to him while not being possessive of him, as she did not object to his friendship with the mermaid. Vanessa's façade is based on imitating this behavior while snickering behind others' backs and eliminates the presence of this second lady, only existing as a ruse to trick Eric.



One concept for the wedding was for it to be in Eric's Castle.

During development, Vanessa's story arc went through radical changes as revealed by a leaked script online. Originally, Vanessa's method of hypnotising Eric was different; instead of suppressing his free will and eliminating his capability to display emotion, she let him have a broader range of emotion and gave him some free will. The point of this sort of hypnosis was to influence Eric in Vanessa's direction and accept her over Ariel on his own, emphasising deception over the brute force from the final film.

After Vanessa hypnotises Eric, he introduces Ariel to her on the morning of the third day, announcing that they will be married by sunset. This is vastly different from the final film where Ariel eavesdrops on their announcement before running away, never getting a good idea at who Vanessa is until Scuttle tells her. To make up for being so close to Ariel, Vanessa wears a scarf in the original script as a way to hide her nautilus necklace and not arouse suspicion from Ariel. When Ariel runs away Eric is about to run after her, but Vanessa pulls him back and gives him a kiss on the cheek; using Eric's love for her as a way to intimidate him.

The scene inside the cabin is exactly the same as the film, but the wedding itself has noticeable differences. In the original Vanessa was actually eager to marry Eric and was impatient about the wedding being done before sunset suggesting some ulterior motive aside from just taking Ariel. In the original script she also gets to actually say "I do" unlike in the final product.

Vanessa isn't able to kiss Eric though, as the ceremony is disrupted by an explosion off the side of the ship and Scuttle's small army shows up and begins to attack Vanessa. Vanessa fights back in the original version, much like in the film, but quickly stops when she realizes she is blowing her cover as a sweet innocent girl. She then begs to Eric to protect her, which he does. 

Since Scuttle can't get close to Vanessa he intends to reveal her true form to Eric by bringing up the mirror from her cabin. He crashes into a pole and the mirror breaks, but Eric is able to see Vanessa for what she is from the reflection of the water the sea creatures brought on board the ship. This breaks the illusion and he rejects her for Ariel.

At this point Vanessa's voice returns to sounding like Ursula's, presumably because the spell has broken, and Eric and Ariel are about to embrace. Much like in the final movie, the sun sets before they can kiss, and Vanessa turns back into Ursula, dragging Ariel back with her under the sea.

In this ending, Ariel does not get her voice back until the very end, which changes the dynamic of the scene entirely. No explanation was ever offered as to why this half of the ending was changed.

On a separate note, early storyboard concept art revealed that Vanessa and Eric would have originally been married at the castle instead of on a ship, with Ariel lurking above in observance. This change may have been made to add a sense of urgency for Ariel to stop the wedding by having it take place somewhere else. It also may have been done to create a better transition between the wedding scene and the final battle underwater. 


Vanessa's personality is very similar to her true form's. She is a sadistic and flirtatious woman who takes advantage of others' weaknesses and uses her magic to come out ahead of the game. She is quick to show off more skin than Ariel with her attire, and openly admires Eric's body, making no qualms about snuggling with him while stroking his chest. She takes great glee in the suffering of others, such as when she saw Ariel running away crying and giggled to herself. Even when she sings to herself she will destroy objects around her carelessly as a sign of her dominance over the situation.


Vanessa relishes in her deviousness when alone.

However, unlike Ursula, Vanessa is quick to hide these conspicuous traits when in public, going for a more subdued woman who remains demure and sweet by the side of her fiancée in silence, making others believe that they are the ones in control while she pulls the strings in the dark. The way she lifts her head innocently after kicking Max is one example.

She also shares Ursula's ego (such as believing herself to have already won when she sings to herself, and under no suspicion that something may go wrong with her plans). And, much like her true form, she has a very quick-fire temper when her plans start to go awry, such as when she choked Scuttle, smacked around a few birds, and plucked starfish from herself.


Vanessa's appearance is that of a slender yet voluptuous young woman, similar to Ariel in certain ways. The majority of the similarities they share is that their waists are similar sizes, and their facial structure is nearly on par to each other. Their hair is also shaped somewhat the same. It is believed that this was done to make it more believable that she saved Eric.

Some differences include traits like her hair, even though it's close to Ariel's at a glance: while Ariel's hair is flaming red and straight, Vanessa's hair is dark brown and wavy. Ariel's hair is parted on the left side of her head while Vanessa's parted in the center. Vanessa's skin is paler than Ariel's, her eyes are more almond-shaped and are violet instead of blue. She also is slightly bustier than Ariel.

Vanessa wears three outfits during her short appearance on screen. The first of these outfits is a majorelle blue corset with a long light pastel purple dress underneath without sleeves, instead using shoulder straps. She wears this on the beach when she is hypnotizing Eric, with a long cape as well.

Vanessa's corset is her iconic dress with a color similar to Ariel's but darker for her darker nature.

Then, just before the wedding ceremony, Vanessa is seen again in another dress. This one is a vanilla under dress to her wedding gown. It reaches down below her neckline, yet does not have the shoulder straps that her corset did beforehand. She also wears a pair of black flats.

Vanessa's final dress is a long white wedding dress with ruffles covering the front and a split skirt. She has a long veil above her head, though unlike Ariel's it is not transparent. She also has shoulder puffs, though not as large as Ariel's, and also wears a pair of white high heels during this time. The dress ends up being shredded over the course of Scuttle's attack.

She wears the nautilus necklace throughout every wardrobe change,around her neck until Scuttle destroys it.


Vanessa's powers are fairly similar to Ursula's, but seem to be more limited due to being away from her cauldron, which is the source of some of her most powerful spells. When by her cauldron Ursula was able to make clothes for her Vanessa transformation, with the majorelle corset, cape, and dress being conjured from thin air. Presumably, she was also able to use her powers to either teleport away from her lair, or swim without need of breath while remaining dry on her way toward the surface.

Once away from her cauldron, most of Vanessa's magic is focused in her necklace. With its power, Vanessa is able to trap voices and utilize them for herself. In the movie, she uses Ariel's voice but, owing to her more villainous personality, it is deeper and more sultry than Ariel's. Even when she screams her voice is more gravelly and threatening.
Vanessa necklace

Vanessa's main source of power is derived from her necklace and the voice within.

With her voice, Vanessa is also able to create a magical mist that will hypnotize whomever it targets; all it requires her to do is sing and the mist shall embed itself into the eyes of her target, echoing her voice inside their mind. This hypnotization doesn't need her to verbally communicate to her target, (as seen when she silently goads Eric into saying, "I do."), but it does necessitate her mind to be focused enough to give mental commands. Otherwise, the victim will just stand in place doing nothing until given a command. She can only retain control of them while her necklace is still intact, or else the victim will regain his or her own will.

Even after the shell breaks, Vanessa possesses enough power to transform back into Ursula at the end of the three days, and seemingly draws energy from lightning she summons. 

Vanessa also possesses remarkable endurance when she is attacked by the animals, yet is willing to brutally fight back when given the opportunity to. This is possibly leftover strength from her form as Ursula.


The Little Mermaid

I saw that the watch-THE WITCH was watching the mirror and she was singing with a stolen set of pipes!
When Ariel comes too close to succeeding in her task, Ursula decided to take matters into her own tentacles. She takes the form of a beautiful woman under the alias "Vanessa" and goes to the surface in the hopes of sabotaging Ariel's relationship with Eric.
Vanessa's Victory

After sunset, Vanessa's face warps similar to Ursula's. This adds tension and unease to the scene.

On the night of the second day, Vanessa bewitches Eric to marry her by using Ariel's voice in combination with her magic. The next morning, Eric announces to Grimsby that his wedding would be at sunset. Ariel watches the announcement from the shadows, and as the mysterious dark haired girl snuggles up to Eric suggestively she runs away in tears. Vanessa catches a glimpse of the heartbroken Ariel and huddles closer to Eric. As she does, Vanessa's locket glows gold from within.

The wedding ship departs at sunset, and Vanessa is in her dressing room singing to herself in triumph, unaware that Scuttle is spying on her. After a moment, she looks in a mirror and her true form is revealed. Scuttle panics and flies off to warn Ariel that Ursula is misdirecting Eric into marrying her. Once the truth is revealed, Ariel, (with the help of her friend Flounder ) swims to the ship, while Scuttle flies off to gather reinforcements to stall the wedding. 

When the ceremony begins, Vanessa walks down a line of bowing guests arm-in-arm with a hypnotized Eric. She encounters Eric's sheepdog, Max, who angrily growls at her; in retaliation, she kicks him with an angry pout on her face before raising her head up innocently. After reaching the priest, she glances over to the setting sun to verify that her scheme is going as planned and smirks wickedly. She then turns to Eric and uses her influence to make him say, "I do."

Before Vanessa can say her vows, Scuttle arrives with a force of various sea creatures to attack her. What follows is a scene of utter chaos, as Vanessa is sent sprawling all over the ship by the animals. While this is happening Ariel hops on board just in time to see Scuttle face Vanessa.

Scuttle bewilders her for a moment, but she retaliates with a choke hold, which nearly suffocates Scuttle until Max shows up and bites Vanessa's bottom, and she releases Scuttle with a screech. This gives Scuttle the chance to pry the necklace off her and send it flying onto the deck. Ariel's voice is freed from it and Eric is let go from Vanessa's spell.

Nonetheless, Vanessa succeeds in winning the deal as the sun sets before Ariel and Eric can kiss, with Ariel transforming back into a mermaid. Vanessa triumphantly morphs back to Ursula, terrifying all the wedding guests before taking Ariel with her under the sea.

House of Mouse

Spotted any villains in disguise?
―Goofy interrogating Vanessa

Ursula briefly appeared as Vanessa once on House of Mouse in the episode "House of Crime". Goofy interrogates her, asking if she has seen any disguised villains. She silently shakes her head, and then transforms back into Ursula when Goofy leaves her table.

In this short cameo, she is in her corset, and wearing her shell necklace. The color artists made several mistakes though: forgetting to give Vanessa lipstick, having her skin color the same as Ariel's, her eyes black instead of violet; and her hair pure black instead of dark brown. 

The Little Mermaid musical

Wait 'til Ariel gets a load of me! That poor unfortunate soul!
―Vanessa after the transformation.

Vanessa does not actually appear in the musical, although a workshop version of it implied that she was intended to appear. Her first appearance would be during a deleted reprise of "Poor Unfortunate Souls." The motivation behind the transformation is presented differently in this song than in the movie and final musical. Instead of feeling threatened that her plan is falling apart, Ursula is gleeful and still believes that she's the one in control of the situation. She transforms into Vanessa less out of desperation and more out of a desire to be cruel to Ariel.

In this version, the spell she casts is similar to the one she sung for Ariel.

Mascara tiara may winds of the tropics appear,
Catharsis lavoras esqa manicuras, 
Mutato me here!

After casting it, Ursula would transform into Vanessa and go off to the surface.

Once on the surface Vanessa would hypnotize Eric like in the movie and have an entire song dedicated to her mocking Ariel titled, "All Good Things Must End". In this song, she sings to Ariel about how everything good must die eventually and there is no way to change that.

The song was eventually removed from the musical because Sherie Rene Scott believed the song didn't fit the character of Ursula as she interpreted. She convinced the directors to replace them both with I Want the Good Times Back.

Judging by the demo tracks, it seems Vanessa would have worked in the play by having her hypnotise Eric with a recording of Ariel's voice from her shell, but otherwise she would have kept her normal Ursula voice when speaking. 

In this demo, Emily Skinner was playing the role of Vanessa, as she was also auditioning for the role of Ursula.


Disney On Ice

Eric? If I may say; far better than any dream girl, is one of flesh and blood. One warm and caring, and right before your eyes.
―Grimsby after Eric has been hypnotized

Vanessa as she had appeared during her transformation.

In one version of Disney on Ice, the story of The Little Mermaid plays out, along with Ursula making an appearance as Vanessa. In this version, she will transform into Vanessa on the rink and dance a solo for a short while, and then disappear offstage. She wears her signature outfit, but with her dress portion shortened to a skirt so as not to interfere with her dancing, as well as not having her shell on her neck, but instead be a giant one that she summons forth during certain scenes. Her motif during her transformation is an instrumental of the deleted song, "Silence is Golden" with a tango twist to it.

The next scene starts with Vanessa coming back on stage while holding a large version of her seashell, and hypnotizing Eric by singing. Then Grimsby shows up to tell Eric about abandoning his dream girl. While he means Ariel, Vanessa takes advantage of this quote to present herself. She and Eric will then tango together to the tune of "Silence is Golden"; Vanessa will lead while Eric skates in an almost zombie like fashion. She will use expressive hand motions in order to convey her giving commands to Eric. This scene then leads to the wedding announcement, where Vanessa will use expressive hand motions in order to convey her commanding Eric. Once Eric speaks his wishes, Vanessa will dance slyly on stage before disappearing behind the curtain.

Moving forward a few scenes, and Vanessa will come back on stage and sing "Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)" while Scuttle watches. She will be looking into a hand mirror and dancing on stage. During this scene; an extended cut of Vanessa's evil laughter from the movie can be heard. She then disappears off-stage again.

After Scuttle informs Ariel of Vanessa's true identity, the wedding scene occurs. In this scene, Vanessa is in a large wedding dress, similar to the one from the movie, and her seashell is now worn on her neck again. Because she does no elaborate dancing in this scene, there is no great issue with having her dress be large, though it is suspended in order to not let it drag on her skates. Once the wedding begins Vanessa skates alongside Eric to the center of the stage where the minister speaks. Vanessa can hear Scuttle approach, and urges the minister to speak faster so she can say "I do", but it's too late.

Sebastian is the first to come, and separates Vanessa from Eric, followed by Scuttle harassing her. As he does, Vanessa's outfit tears apart bit by bit, which also causes her disguise to slowly come undone with tentacles slowly emerging from the bottom of the dress. At the last moment, Vanessa fights back against Scuttle, which turns into a sort of tug of war for the necklace, with Scuttle pulling the necklace away and destroying it.

At this point, Vanessa has fully become Ursula, but still wins when the sun sets. Throughout the rest of the show Ursula keeps her damaged wedding clothes on until the final scene where a giant inflatable Ursula comes in to replace the cast member.

These scenes have been removed from future Disney on Ice performances in order to keep the focus on newer Disney movies.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Vanessa appears in one of the scenes in Voyage of the Little Mermaid in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Rather than having a cast member play her on stage, it's just reused clips from the movie, detailing her hypnotizing Eric and being attacked by the animals on the wedding ship.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Vanessa doesn't appear on the ride. Guests can hear her evil laughter in the background while Ursula is casting a spell in order to transfer Ariel's voice into the nautilus necklace. It does trace the guests back into the scene from "Kiss the Girl" where Ursula made a disguising potion when Ariel's voice is still inside the necklace.

Video Games

Kingdom Hearts II

Ursula changed herself into a beautiful girl to ruin Ariel's chances with Prince Eric. Ariel gave her voice to Ursula when she signed their contract...and Ursula used Ariel's voice to mesmerize Prince Eric.
―Jiminy's Journal

Vanessa had a brief appearance in Kingdom Hearts II, where, in a similar fashion to the movie, she manages to brainwash Prince Eric. However, they do not wed, unlike the film. At sunset they are seen walking down the beach hand in hand toward a crying Ariel, with Vanessa singing, Part of Your World (Reprise) to a hypnotized Eric.

Vanessa KHII

Sora is quick to point out Eric's dazed expression while Flounder instantly identifies Vanessa as Ursula when he notices the nautilus necklace on her. Sora is quick to act, and fires a bolt from his Keyblade; snapping it off Vanessa, causing it to shatter on the ground, and snap Eric out of his trance. It was too late, however, as the sun had already set. Vanessa transformed back into Ursula, and took Ariel back with her to the ocean.

Her design was slightly altered in the Kingdom Hearts games, giving her a slightly shorter skirt (only reaching her ankles instead of coming down to her feet).

Disney's The Little Mermaid: Magic in Two Kingdoms

Get away from me you pests!
Vanessa appears in this game as a boss character for Level 6. She is represented by a 3D model that is transferred into a sprite form, a similar technique to games like Donkey Kong Country. Her model is of Vanessa in her white dress from when she was preparing for the wedding, instead of her full wedding dress.

In this level the player controls the sea creatures attacking Vanessa; these are Max, Scuttle, three birds, a dolphin, and a seal. When an animal attacks her, Vanessa will be distracted, and the player will be given a chance to chip away at her necklace. All the while the sun sets on the horizon, so the player must work fast.

If the player misses a prompt too often, or do nothing at all, Vanessa shall periodically use her magic to repair the necklace by engulfing herself in a purple shield. This is one of the few references to Vanessa still being capable of using magic away from her cauldron.

Ariel's Story Studio

Ariel is too good, (the little tramp!) I have to take matters into my own tentacles. It's time to cast a spell on Eric!

In this game, Vanessa plays the same role as she does in the movie. The player first sees her in the "Kiss the Girl" scene, when Ursula (still in her narrator's bubble) transforms into Vanessa and hypnotizes Eric with her song, thus eliminating the beach scene from the game.

Vanessa story studio copy

After the "Kiss the Girl" scene, the player will be taken straight to the wedding. There Vanessa can be seen singing her song, as in the movie, before she moves to the upper deck.

Very little about her role or even her lines differ from the movie. However, she is given two new lines specially for this game. If one were to click on her while she has Ariel's voice, she will say, "Let's get this wedding over with!" And if the player were to click on Max, he will growl at her for a moment before she calls him a "mangy mutt!"

Once Vanessa is on screen, the player can click on various animals for funny moments of them attacking her. When the player clicks on Scuttle, he will charge Vanessa and break the necklace off. By this time, Ariel had gotten on board and her voice was returned to her. Once again, it's too late though, because Vanessa transforms back into Ursula and takes Ariel away.

Vanessa can also be seen in a sticker mini game in Ariel's Story Studio. It's a basic mini game where players take different stickers which they've collected throughout the game and place them onto different backgrounds which the players color. Vanessa has one sticker of her in her wedding gown carrying a bouquet of flowers.

Disney Villains Challenge

Face it, my beauty's too rare to match!
―Ursula when the player loses the mini game

Vanessa also appears in the smartphone game Disney Villains Challenge in a mini game titled, "Reveal Ursula." It is set in Vanessa's dressing room on the Wedding Ship. The player is presented with three mirrors that all have a reflection of Vanessa on them. The goal is for the player to find out which reflection is the real Ursula before the time runs out.


The player is given several clues on which Vanessa is which. The wrong reflections will have butterflies flying on them, whereas the right one will have a tentacle swing by, as well as having Vanessa's necklace glow.

If the player wins, the right reflection will be cracked, revealing a scowling Ursula. If the wrong one is chosen, Vanessa's necklace, and eyes will glow, and she'll give a sassy smirk, as well as taunt the player about having beauty that's too rare to match.


BP Modern Classics Adaptation


The BP adaptation makes several changes to Vanessa's relationship with Eric. Her hypnotism is shown to not leave Eric in a robotic state.

This adaptation of the story was released in 1995. It squeezed together parts of the movie and changed the way certain events happened due to it's page limitations. One of these changes was the slight expansion of Vanessa's place in the story. Instead of showing up on the beach at Prince Eric's Castle, she immediately appears for him after Flotsam and Jetsam tipped over the boat, with Ariel nowhere in sight.

A few pages prior to the confrontation at the wedding shows Eric and Vanessa at the altar and embracing (even though the image on the page in question shows Ariel about to kiss Eric), instead of still reading over their vows. Once Ariel and her friends arrive, Vanessa immediately transforms back into Ursula, who claims she and Eric are in love. She then takes Ariel underwater and Ariel doesn't get her voice back until the end of the book.

Once Upon A Princess Adaptation

In 2003, a book adaptation of the movie was released that expanded the narrative of the film by adding new content and characters. One minor change was the expansion of Ursula's backstory in which a younger Ursula was drawn to resemble Vanessa, with a similar hairstyle, but grey hair and purple skin. Since this story takes place from only Ariel's perspective, this is meant to give younger readers an extra hint as to Vanessa's identity before Scuttle tells it to Ariel.

Reflections of Arsulu

Although Vanessa herself doesn't appear in the short story, she is subtly referenced with Ursula's disguise of Arsulu, another alter ego she adopted to infiltrate Atlantica. She is a blonde mermaid with a red tail and a magenta seashell bra.

She arranges an accidental meeting with Adella and flatters the latter into believing the story that she is searching for her lost boyfriend. Adella even offers Ursula a place to stay: at the palace, right where Ursula wanted. Then she begins to fill the heads of the royal family with poisonous talk, similar to what The Evil Manta did and began turning them against one another while still retaining popularity amongst all but Ariel.

Ariel was the only one who suspected Arsulu's intentions and eventually discovered her true identity. Ariel then exploits this to have a group of fish expose Arsulu for who she really was.


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Vanessa (The Little Mermaid).

Errors and Goofs

  • Occasionally in the film, Vanessa's hair will inexplicably change from a dark brown to black hair on occasion, even in more outdoors like areas. This color error was fixed in Diamond Edition of the film to give Vanessa a more uniform dark brown hair color.
  • During Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise) when Scuttle is flying above the wedding ship one can spot people aboard, as well as a slight glimpse of Vanessa and Eric to the far right of the screen. These aren't cels though, just parts of the ship background.
  • During Vanessa's song, Vanessa throws a hairpin at the mirror in her dressing room, pushing it back. When Vanessa climbs the dresser though, the mirror is upright. After Vanessa steps on the bottle though, the mirror is pushed back again. 
  • When Scuttle and his armada first come into view, we get a bird's eye view of the ship. From afar though, Vanessa has disappeared, along with Eric, the altar and the carpet they stood on.
  • Before Vanessa was attacked by the animals, she held a bouquet of roses in her hands. When the bluebirds dive bomb her from above though, the roses disappear from her person. We never even see them fall on the ground.
  • When the animals are attacking Vanessa, there is one part where dozens of starfish are thrown at her from off screen, covering her from face to waist. All the starfish mysteriously vanish when Vanessa is tossed into the air by the seals without explanation. They could have fallen off, but the camera never leaves Vanessa and you don't see them falling.
  • Throughout most of her appearance, Vanessa's necklace was always faced to her right, yet during the shot when Vanessa falls into the cake, the necklace flips to facing her left. 
  • After Vanessa is first attacked by birds, note the background when the birds fly under her dress. That background is reused several times in the scene, causing continuity issues, such as Eric disappearing without notice, or creating an illusion that Vanessa has grown in size compared to the background.
  • When Vanessa lands in the cake, she is shown crushing it in its entirety, but in a later shot, Vanessa is shown to have landed inside the bottom three layers of the cake, which is not on the table she landed on. The top layer of the cake is still on the broken table. Along with this placement error, the cake became larger than when Vanessa landed on it.


  • The name of Ursula's human disguise, "Vanessa", is derived from the Latin word "Vanitas", meaning "Vanity", "Worthlessness", "Emptiness" and "Nothingness". Interestingly enough, a character named Vanitas appears as one of the main villains of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, but unrelated to Ursula.
  • At one point while Vanessa was being harassed by Scuttle, she yells angrily "Oh why you little!" and strangles him in a very similar manner to Homer and Bart in The Simpsons. (Coincidentally, both The Little Mermaid and the first Simpsons full length episode were released in 1989.)
  • Her name is never revealed before the wedding in the film, often in storybooks she is known as The Maiden.
  • In concept arts of Vanessa which is shown on DVDs of The Little Mermaid, her name was written with an 'E', but apparently there was confusion amongst the movie staff, causing her name to appear with an 'A' on her production cel, and everything afterward.
  • Vanessa is one of four characters to possess violet or purple eyes, the other three being Aurora, Megara and Doctor Facilier. On a related note, She was also the first villain to possess purple eyes, eventually being joined by Facilier.
  • In the official comic adaptation, Vanessa was shown multiple times singing in Ariel's voice without the nautilus necklace hanging around her neck, implying that so long as it is safe, she will be able to speak with Ariel's voice.
  • Vanessa speaks only twice during her brief appearance with Ariel's voice excluding her song. When she has Ariel's voice she first screams, "Get away from me you slimy little-" and later "Oh Why You Little". Following the loss of her nautilus necklace Pat Carroll, the voice of Ursula does Vanessa's lines, where she says, "Eric get away from her", "Eric No!" and "You're too late!"
  • The song Vanessa sings in her room may have been the inspiration for the song "This Day Aria" from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, were the villain also sings into a mirror while she is in disguise just before her marriage to a hypnotized man.
  • Had Melissa Fahn gotten the role of Ariel instead of Jodi Benson, she would have also provided the voice of Vanessa. In real life, she strongly resembles Vanessa. Coincidentally, she later ended up supplying the English voice of Kanako Urashima, a character from the Anime series Love Hina who ended up having a similar attempt at ruining a romantic relationship between two of the main characters to Vanessa's attempt at ruining Ariel's. She also is famous for voicing Gaz (short for Gazlene), an antisocial girl who doesn't have very good relationships with many people at all, romantic or otherwise, on Nickelodeon's Invader ZIM.

    The shot in question.

    One interesting bit of trivia to note, is during the wedding, when the priest is about to declare Vanessa and Eric husband and wife, the blue birds that first attacked her can be seen being flung backward, as if they were just struck by something, yet she had not been seen doing any such. However, one of the storyboards of her shows her angrily shaking her fists at the bluebirds. This implies that a scene with her fighting back was originally animated, but was left out of the final film for unknown reasons.
  • Vanessa was the second human villainess to be assaulted by animals before her apparent triumph, the first being Madame Medusa from The Rescuers who shares many qualities with Ursula, Vanessa's true form.
  • In 2013, the Little Mermaid Deluxe Doll Set was released, with dolls of Ariel, King Triton, Eric, Ursula, and Vanessa. This marks the first time Vanessa had ever been released as a doll in Disney media.
  • Despite Vanessa's relatively minor role in the film, she has gained a dedicated following. Being one of the few villain alter egos (aside from Grimhilde) to get merchandise based on her.
  • Because of Jennifer Lee's explanation that the King and Queen of Arendelle were lost at sea while trying to get to a wedding, it is theorized that Ursula/Vanessa may have been responsible for their deaths due to the storm she had summoned. 
  • In Princess and the Frog, during the scene where Charolotte visits Tiana's diner, there is a brief second where Charlotte's animation is copied directly from "Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)". It is the shot of Vanessa preparing to swing her hairpin at the mirror. 

The Little Mermaid - 2013 Logo

Films: The Little Mermaid | The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea | The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
Television: TV series (Episode List) | House of Mouse | Once Upon a Time
Video Games: NES game | Sega Genesis Game | Ariel's Story Studio | Kingdom Hearts | Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories | Kingdom Hearts II | The Little Mermaid 2: Pinball Frenzy | Disney's The Little Mermaid: Magic in Two Kingdoms
Books: Offical Comic Adaption | Marvel Comics | Disney Comics | Big Golden Book | Classic Storybook | Disney's Wonderful World of Reading | Golden Sight 'n' Sound Book | Little Golden Book
Music: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack | The Legacy Collection | The Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea

Disney Parks: Voyage of the Little Mermaid | Mermaid Lagoon | The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure | King Triton's Carousel of the Sea | Ariel's Grotto | Mickey's PhilharMagic | Fantasmic! | Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom | World of Color | Disney Dreams! | Celebrate the Magic | Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster | Scuttle's Scooters

Original: Ariel | Flounder | Sebastian | Scuttle | Prince Eric | King Triton | Ursula/Vanessa | Flotsam and Jetsam | Attina | Alana | Adella | Aquata | Arista | Andrina | Max | Grimsby | Carlotta | Chef Louis | Ursula's Garden | Glut | The Seahorse Herald | Harold | Merpeople
Sequel: Melody | Tip and Dash | Morgana | Cloak and Dagger | Undertow | Hammerhead Shark | Flounder's guppies | Baby Penguin | Ursula and Morgana's mother
Prequel: Queen Athena | Marina Del Rey | Benjamin | Shelbow | Ink Spot | Cheeks | Ray-Ray | Stevie | Electric Eels
TV Series: Urchin | Gabriella | Ollie | Dudley | Pearl | Pearl's mother | The Evil Manta | Little Evil | Dr. Vile | Daniel | Moray | Simon | Lobster Mobster and Da Shrimp | The Sorceress | Glowfish | Ebb and Flo | Empreror Sharga and the Sharkanians | Octopid | Brain Sponge | Zeus | Spot the Killer Whale | Crab Scouts | Hans Christian Andersen | Mr. and Mrs. Clambakersfield and their babies | Lucky | Thor | Kid Squid | Augustus | Stormy the Giant Seahorse | Sorcerer Blowfish | Penny the Cat | The Magical Wishing Starfish | Apollo | Archimedes | Seaclops
Comic Book: Scallopa | Indigo | Aunt Crustacea | Sir Figmond | Flooglefish | Marlin the Magician | Snapper | Jason | Caliban | King Proteus | Ariadne | Pirania | Celia | Jenny | Scarface the Shark | Professor Thelonius Paxx | Shana | King Harold | Princess Penelope | Captain Cutlass | Aquarius | Abaloney Kid

Objects: Prince Eric's Statue | Trident | Ursula's Cauldron | Ursula's Necklace | Melody's locket | Queen Athena's music box | Dinglehopper | Royal Ship

Film & TV: Atlantica | Ariel's Secret Grotto | Ursula's Lair | Prince Eric's Castle | The Wedding Ship | Morgana's Ice Cave
Comic Book: Aquaria | Hatchet-Fish Alley | Stingray City | Blue Claw Chasm

Film: Fathoms Below | Daughters of King Triton | Part of Your World/(Reprise)/(Finale) | Under the Sea | Poor Unfortunate Souls/(Reprise) | Les Poissons | Kiss the Girl | Down to the Sea | For a Moment | Tip and Dash (song) | Here on the Land and Sea | Just One Mistake | I Remember
TV Series: Just a Little Love | You Got to be You | The Edge of the Edge of the Sea | The Lobster Mobster's Mob | The Beddy Bye Blues | Sing a New Song | In Harmony | This is the Life | You Know I Know | Never Give Up | You Wouldn't Want to Mess with Me | The Sound of Laughter | Daring to Dance | Just Give Me a Chance | Just Like Me | Evil Lullaby
Musical: She's in Love | Human Stuff | Positoovity | I Want the Good Times Back | Her Voice | The World Above | The Contest | If Only | Beyond My Wildest Dreams | Sweet Child | One Step Closer

Other: Musical | The Disney Afternoon | Disney Sing Along Songs: Under the Sea

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