If you’re anything like us, you grew up watching The Little Mermaid on repeat. Even though you’ve seen it hundreds of times, did you know these facts about the film?
1. In the Hans Christian Andersen story that inspired The Little Mermaid, the sea-witch is not a prominent character. She doesn’t even have a name!
2. To animate the shipwreck and Ursula’s emergence from the sea, the animators studied scenes from Pinocchio involving Monstro.
3. The blue-green hue of Ariel’s fin was specially mixed by the Disney paint lab—they called the new color “Ariel” in her honor.
4. In the opening scene with King Triton, you can see Kermit, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck and hiding in the crowd.
5. Both Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel) and Pat Carroll (voice of Ursula) said they stole elements of their delivery from the way Howard Ashman performed the songs.
6. The color of Ariel’s hair was a point of contention amongst the team. The red was chosen in part because red and green are complementary colors, and also because Daryl Hannah had just played a blonde mermaid in the very popular “Splash.”
7. In the original development drawings, Ursula was portrayed as a spinefish or a scorpion fish with lots of spikes and spines.
8. After the first screening, Jeffrey Katzenberg wanted to cut the song “Part of Your World.” (He admits now that it’s an embarrassing story.)
9. After being moved to tears by The Little Mermaid, a New Jersey State Trooper called his estranged daughter to repair their relationship. He wrote to Ron Clements (writer/director) to tell him the story.
10. The color in the overcast opening scene of the film was deliberately muted because the directors wanted to save bright bursts of color for under the sea.
11. On the naming of Ariel’s many sisters: Atina was inspired by a musical Alan Menken wrote called “Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy,” Alana was Howard Ashman’s lyrical nod to Alan Menken, and Andrina was the name of one of the director’s aerobics instructors.
12. Alan Menken had never written an underscore for a Disney movie before, so The Little Mermaid was considered his dry run. He thought his first music cue was horrible and was sure he would get fired.
13. The shark’s name is Glut, though it is never mentioned in the film. Originally, Glut was going to return for another fight, only to be defeated by Flounder in a moment of glory, but it got cut out as the story was simplified.
14. When Flounder is talking about Scuttle, he physically transforms into the seagull for a few frames.
15. Many of the sailors dancing on Prince Eric’s ship are caricatures of people from the staff. The man dancing on the platform is reportedly Razoul Azadani, who has worked with Ron Clements and John Musker on several films (recently he was a layout artist on Paperman).
Were any of these facts new to you?