12 things you never knew about 'The Little Mermaid'

Disney‘The Little Mermaid’ is one of Disney’s most famous films.
  • Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” just turned 30 years old.
  • Ariel’s solo “Part of Your World” was almost cut from the film.
  • Iconic characters like Goofy and Mickey Mouse appear in the movie during blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments.
  • The character Ursula was inspired by a famous drag queen.
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At 30 years old, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” continues to be enjoyed by new generations.

Even if you’ve seen the film at least a dozen times and have every back-flip, tail colour, and sassy line memorized by heart, you may not know it’s actually filled with hidden surprises and shocking pieces of trivia even the most loyal fan wouldn’t know.

Here are some interesting facts about “The Little Mermaid.”


“The Little Mermaid” almost didn’t happen.

DisneyWe almost didn’t have one the most beloved Disney movies.

The Disney studios were working on a sequel to the popular mermaid comedy “Splash” when Ron Clements pitched his idea for “The Little Mermaid.”

The Disney CEO at the time temporarily nixed “The Little Mermaid,” saying two mermaid movies would be a little too much, according to CinemaBlend.

He later reversed his decision and the rest is Disney history.


The character Ursula was inspired by a famous drag queen.

DisneyHer look was, at least.

Baltimore-based drag queen and actress Divine inspired early sketches of the iconic Disney villain Ursula.


Disney wanted Bea Arthur to voice Ursula.

Associated PressBea Arthur’s agent wasn’t on board with her voicing Ursula.

Pat Carroll apparently wasn’t the first choice for the voice of Ursula.

“Golden Girls” star Bea Arthur was exactly the person the studios wanted to voice the sea witch, according to HuffPost. Apparently, Arthur’s agent was not a fan of the idea.


Ursula isn’t an octopus.

DisneyProblems with animation took away two of Ursula’s arms.

In the film, Ursula is a cecaelia, which is a mythical hybrid of human and octopus.


Ariel’s cave full of treasures has some hidden Easter eggs.

DisneyThere are some familiar things in Ariel’s cave of wonders.

Watch the scene with Ariel’s solo “Part of Your World” and keep your eyes peeled for any other hidden treasures.

You can see the bust of Abraham Lincoln on one of the shelves in Ariel’s cave of wonders and even the famed painting “Magdalene With the Smoking Flame” by Georges de la Tour.


Ariel’s solo “Part of Your World” was almost cut from the film.

DisneyPart of Your World was almost removed.

“Part of Your World” was almost removed from the film after initial test screenings showed audience members weren’t in love with it.

Fortunately, a positive second round of screenings saved the sentimental scene from the chopping block.


Disney didn’t animate the bubbles seen in the film.

DisneyThey outsourced their bubble animation.

Due to limited resources and an intense amount of required animation work, Disney outsourced the animation of bubbles seen in “The Little Mermaid” to Pacific Rim Productions, according to the book “The Political Economy of Disney: The Cultural Capitalism of Hollywood.”


Ariel’s features are based on actress Alyssa Milano’s

Alyssa Milano was the inspiration for Ariel.

Animator Glen Keane created Ariel out of Alyssa Milano’s likeness, according to Yahoo.

He used photos of the actress from when she appeared on the show “Who’s The Boss” to perfect Ariel’s facial features.

Milano said she did not know she was the inspiration until much later.


Ariel and Hercules are sort of cousins.

WikimediaAriel and Hercules are both related to gods.

Given that Zeus is Hercules’s father, and King Triton, the father of Ariel, is the son of Poseidon, who is Zeus’s brother, Ariel and Hercules are first cousins, once removed, as BuzzFeed pointed out.


The film earned an Oscar.

Courtesy of RukkleThe Little Mermaid won an Oscar for best original music score.

Considering this was Alan Menken’s first musical Disney film, it’s rather impressive that the movie won best original music score at the 1990 Academy Awards.

This was also the first Disney film to win an Oscar since 1972.


There are lots of hidden cameos in the movie.

DisneyGoofy appears in the film.

Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, Kermit the Frog, Mr. Limpet, and the duke and king from “Cinderella” all make surprise cameos in the film.

If you look closely, you can spot each of the recognisable characters in their specific scenes, but if you blink, you might miss it.


Speaking of cameos, there are a few hidden Mickeys in the film.

DisneyYou can see Mickey on the contract.

The first hidden Mickey in the film is seen on Ursula’s contract for Ariel. The second is hidden a bit more inconspicuously during a scene with Prince Eric’s chef.

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