Released in 1989, The Little Mermaid seemingly brought Disney back to life after the studio had released a string of projects that were less than successful. Following the huge success of The Little Mermaid, Disney found its touch again, going on to release more classics that would go down in history, such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.
Though the film is 30 years old, The Little Mermaid remains one of Disney’s most popular stories. The tale of Ariel as she literally finds her feet and pursues the love of her life has brought happy memories to more than one generation.
But in recent years, a few facts have emerged about the Disney classic that may just ruin it for you! Read them below.
20 The Producers Hated “Part Of Your World”
“Part of Your World” is one of Disney’s most iconic songs and certainly the most memorable song in The Little Mermaid. It’s hard to believe that the executive producer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, nearly cut the song from the final film altogether. It definitely wouldn’t be the same without Ariel’s big number!
19 Ursula Isn’t Even An Octopus
Ursula is one of the scariest Disney villains, primarily for the fact that there’s not much scarier than an octopus-witch hybrid. Except, Ursula isn’t actually an octopus. If you count her black tentacles, you’ll notice that she has six, while a real octopus would have eight. We don’t know whether that makes her more or less scary!
18 But She Is Actually Part Of Ariel’s Family
Now, this is really scary. Some fans believe that Ursula is actually part of Ariel’s family. This is due to her subtly commenting about the days when she was in the palace. Originally, Ursula was planned to be Triton’s sister, but this was later abandoned. Still, the comment make us believe that the familial connection remains somewhere there!
17 Ariel Was Never Supposed To Have Red Hair
Ariel wouldn’t be the same without her striking red hair. For a long time, she was the only ginger Disney Princess, so it’s hard to believe her having any other color. Believe it or not, Disney originally envisioned her as a blonde. She was only made a redhead because there was a blonde mermaid in the 1984 comedy Splash.
16 The Film Was Sued
We know: who would possibly sue Disney? As it turns out, the scene where Prince Eric and the disguised Ursula almost get hitched caused quite a bit of controversy. Thanks to a protuberance in the priest's robe, which has since been touched up, many viewers thought that the cartoon had turned from G to R-rated.
15 It Was Involved In More Than One Scandal
Disney being sued for the questionable animation of the priest wasn’t the only scandal that the film was involved in. On promotional materials for the movie, which showed Triton’s palace in the background, there was another problematic symbol in one of the towers of the palace which caused parents and conservative Disney fans to respond in outrage.
14 Ariel Actually Wears Some Of Her Friends
If you’ve ever paid attention to Ariel’s costume, you’ll see that she wears clams. But at the beginning of the film, we also see that there are singing clams in the ocean who are friends with Ariel and Sebastian. So to sum up, Ariel actually wears creatures that she would normally consider her friends.
13 King Triton Appears To Have Slaves
Though Triton’s kingdom seems like a happy enough place to live, it appears it’s not happy for everybody. When Triton enters the concert hall, his chariot is pulled by chained dolphins, but because all the other sea creatures we come across are allowed to go about at their leisure, it seems odd that the dolphins are chained and made to work. Sebastian similarly has his own chained fish to wheel him around.
12 All The Fish In “Under The Sea” Would Have Eaten Sebastien
In Sebastian’s big musical number “Under the Sea,” we get to see a lot of colorful fish. But the talking, singing, and dancing fish isn’t the only part of the scene that’s unrealistic. In reality, the fish that appear to be friends, such as the carp, the ray, and the blowfish, would have tried to eat crabs like Sebastian.
11 According To The Original Story, Rising To The Surface Is Quite Painful
The original LM fairytale is enough to put you in a glum mood. While in the film Ariel manages to get to the surface without too much difficulty (other than giving up her voice), in the original fairytale, the mermaid must suffer through eight oysters becoming attached to her tail before she can rise to the surface of the ocean.
10 Ariel’s Sisters Secretly Like Drowning Sailors
Ariel’s sisters all seem nice enough until you find out what they really get up to in their spare time. One of their favorite things to do is sing to sailors about how they shouldn’t fear coming under the water. As you can imagine, this leads to a lot of drowning, whether the sisters intend it or not.
9 Ariel Is A Terrible Friend To Flounder
Can we talk about how Ariel is actually a terrible friend to Flounder? She constantly pressures him into risking his life, belittling him when he feels afraid. It’s also because of Ariel that Flounder is nearly eaten by the shark. And after all that, she calls him a “guppy.” Bully, alert!
8 The Body-Positivity Movement Isn’t Happy With Ariel’s Body
To the untrained eye, Ariel may seem like she has the perfect body. But according to the body-positivity movement, her body isn’t realistic at all (and that has nothing to do with her tail). Her incredible skinniness and tiny dimensions have contributed to young girls feeling like they have to be unrealistically thin to be beautiful.
7 The Film Isn’t Entirely A Disney Animation
It may come as a surprise that Disney didn’t totally complete The Little Mermaid on their own. Actually, animating life under the sea is more work than it looks, and so they hired a Chinese animation studio known as Pacific Rim. The one million bubbles that you see in the film were drawn by non-Disney animators.
6 And Not All The Animators Were Given Credit
In the end, the movie was nominated for three Oscars. However, the Academy did not recognize or give credit to the Chinese animators who put their hard work into animating the bubbles, only praising Disney for the film and not those they outsourced work to. The foreign animators really got the short end of the stick!
5 Flounder Was Robbed Of His Limelight
Flounder isn’t treated very well by Ariel, so as viewers, we want to see him have his big moment. Originally, he was supposed to defeat the shark that returned later in the film, finally winning the glory he deserved, but the scene was cut, so Flounder was ultimately robbed of his limelight.
4 Ariel Doesn’t Really Get The Prince In The Original Fairytale
In the Disney version of the story, Ariel ends up winning the heart of the handsome Prince Eric, renouncing her life as a mermaid and marrying him. In the original fairy tale, though, the mermaid doesn’t get the prince. Instead, she has to stand by and watch him love someone else.
3 She Also Doesn’t Live Happily Ever After
It gets worse. In the original version of the fairy tale, not only does the mermaid not win the prince, but she also doesn’t get any kind of happy ending. She takes her life to save the prince and ends up turning into sea foam, as all mermaids do when they die.
2 She Doesn’t Even Have A Soul
A fact that’s missing from the Disney version is that mermaids don’t actually have souls. In fact, the mermaid wants to become a human to get her own soul, not just to marry the prince. After her body turns to foam, she becomes a spirit and must do good deeds for 300 years to earn a soul.
1 There Almost Wasn’t A Little Mermaid
The most upsetting fact about The Little Mermaid of all is that it almost didn’t happen. The Disney CEO at the time said that two mermaid movies would be too much since the studio was working on a sequel to the popular mermaid film Splash. Thank the sea gods, he changed his mind!
Sources: Mickey Blog, Factinate, Mental Floss, Business Insider, List.com. Bustle