10 Things You May Not Know About the Little Mermaid
1. The Little Mermaid was released in 1989, but the story goes all the way back to 1837. Originally written as a ballet, the fairy tale of the young mermaid longing to gain a human soul was created by Hans Christian Andersen.
2. The idea of bringing Ariel to the screen also goes way back. Walt Disney had considered putting together a series of fairy tales in vignette form, including The Little Mermaid . Work was started soon after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , but the idea was discarded.
3. More than 50 years later, The Little Mermaid was again proposed as a possible animated feature. It was nearly discarded again, because the live action film Splash (also about a mermaid) had been released a few years earlier, and plans were in the works for a sequel. Thankfully, the project was quickly put back on the drawing board.
4. You might know about the Splash fountain in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but what about the Little Mermaid statue? No, not the one that used to be in Ariel’s Grotto, but the one that sits on a rock in the harbor of Copenhagen. The statue was completed in 1913, although the one on display in the harbor is actually a copy. (The original has always been kept in a secret location to keep it safe.)
5. Ariel wasn’t known as Ariel in the original fairy tale. She was simply referred to as the “little mermaid.” Aside from Disney’s Ariel, the character has gone by other names as well. For instance, in the Japanese animated series Adventure of the Little Mermaid , she is known as Marina.
6. Ariel was also the name of one the spirits in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (although interestingly the character is male), and Ariel is also the name of one of Uranus’s moons. The moon was named after the Shakespeare character, not the mermaid, but that’s still a bragging right that Ariel has over any other Disney princess!
7. Ariel might be well known for her bright red hair, but she has another color-related claim to fame. The blue-green color of her fin was custom made by the Disney paint lab, and they named the color “Ariel” after the character.
8. Ariel’s animator Glen Keane (who also developed the characters Aladdin, Beast, and Pocahontas), reanimated Ariel in 3D for her appearance in Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
9. Ariel’s Grotto might be gone from the Magic Kingdom, but don’t despair. A new ride-through attraction starring Ariel is slated to be part of the new, expanded Fantasyland. Set to open in 2013, Under the Sea–Journey of the Little Mermaid will transport Guests beneath the ocean waves, where they will get to experience scenes from the classic film, accompanied by many of its memorable songs.
10. Jodi Benson, the singer/actress who provided the speaking and singing voices of Ariel in the original film, its sequels, and the Kingdom Hearts video game series, made a cameo appearance in Enchanted as Sam, Robert Philip’s secretary. The film also saw cameos by other Disney princess actresses, including Paige O’Hara (Belle) and Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas).