|Movies||The Little Mermaid|
|Television Programs|| Once Upon A Time
House of Mouse
|Video Games||Disney Princess games|
|Portrayed by|| Sierra Boggess (in The Little Mermaid on Broadway; debut)
Joanna García (in Once Upon a Time)
|Other names|| Princess Ariel
Sweetie (by Scuttle)
Angelfish (by Ursula)
Red (by The Catfish Club Band)
|Personality||Free-spirited, confident, curious, kind, adventurous, bright, artistic, idealistic, rebellious, intrigued, headstrong, smart, mischievous, charismatic, witty, bubbly, romantic, impulsive, perceptive, sensitive, brave, selfless, sassy, feisty, irritable, protective, caring, loyal, pacifist, fun-loving, childlike, innocent, polite, sweet, lovable, perky, determined|
|Allies||King Triton, Queen Athena, Prince Eric, Melody, Sebastian, Flounder, Scuttle, her sisters, Sandy, Max, Urchin, Gabriella, Grimsby, Carlotta, Chef Louis, Evil Manta, Little Evil, The Catfish Club Band, Tip and Dash, Sora, Donald Duck, Goofy|
|Enemies||Ursula, Flotsam and Jetsam, Glut, Morgana, Marina Del Rey, Undertow, Cloak and Dagger, Lobster Mobster and Da Shrimp, Moray, Evil Manta (formerly)|
|Likes||Humans, human objects, adventure, freedom, music, singing, dancing, Prince Eric, chasing her dreams, having fun with Flounder, her friends and family|
|Dislikes||Her father's stubbornness and hatred of humans, being without music or fun, rules, chores, pirates, evil, violence, Sebastian's nagging, her friends and family in danger|
|Quotes|| "I don't see how a world that makes such wonderful things could be bad."
"I wanna be where the people are. I wanna see, wanna see 'em dancin'." "I was a regular fish out of water." "I think everybody is somebody already."
Ariel is based on the protagonist of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale "The Little Mermaid", but was developed into a different personality for the 1989 animated film adaptation. Her distinct appearance consists of long red hair, a green tail, and a lavender seashell bra.
Ariel is voiced by Jodi Benson in most of her appearances and is the 4th official Disney Princess.
Ariel's original design was developed by animator Glen Keane, who had reportedly said in an animation lecture that she was based on his own wife. Her appearance was also based on model Sherri Stoner, who provided live-action references for the animators during the development of the film and also inspired the look for Belle. A challenge in animating her for the film were the color required to show her in the changing environments, both under the sea and on land, for which the animators required 32-color models, not including costume changes. The sea-green color of her fin was a hue specially mixed by the Disney paint lab; the color was named "Ariel" after the character. She has been compared to past Disney Heroines, but is more physically similar to Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Belle from Beauty and the Beast, as they all have big eyes, a broad forehead and a small mouth and chin.
Jodi Benson, who was predominantly a stage actress when she was cast, was chosen to voice Ariel because the directors felt "it was really important to have the same person doing the singing and speaking voice." Co-director Ron Clements remarked that her voice had "sweetness" and "youthfulness" that was unique. When recording the vocals for Ariel's theme song "Part of Your World", she consented to Howard Ashman's suggestion that the lights in the studio be dimmed, so as to "feel a little bit more enclosed" and create the feeling of being deep under the sea. She was also encouraged to soften her singing voice almost to the point of speaking, so that the song would feel more intimate.
Voice actress Melissa Fahn auditioned for the role and was called back many times, but was turned down because she sounded a little too young.
Ariel is a bright, spirited mermaid who is also adventurous and stubborn. Her curiosity and love for adventure sometimes gets her into trouble. Usually, however, she overcomes any obstacle she faces like she uses magic to change things. Her best friend is a fish named Flounder, and she develops a close relationship with a crab named Sebastian, the court composer. She is also impulsive, as evidenced by her exploring whilst forgetting about the concert. However, her impulsive nature does not impact her conscience, being portrayed as being extremely reluctant and hesitant to do something she knows or at least suspects is morally wrong to get what she wants, as evidenced by her reluctantly going to Ursula in the film as well as her reluctance to steal her father King Triton's trident as part of a dare in the third issue of the Marvel Comics. She is able to risk everything for her love for Eric and for her dreams, even if this might hurt her. She is also protective of her friends, saving them even when in doing so she endangers herself in the process, this is especially evident when she saved Flounder (who had been knocked out hard enough to render his swim bladder temporarily inoperable and sink to the ocean floor) from Glut the Shark when nearly home free from him, nearly getting herself eaten in the process (the only thing preventing him from eating them being an anchor in its way that trapped him), as well as saving Sebastian from potentially being Grimsby's meal and attempting to tell Eric to leave her behind and save himself just before Ursula emerged as a giant. She was also very forgiving and defended even people who were unable to do so themselves or were considered bad, as evidenced by her protecting Urchin despite the latter stealing from Triton as well as her defending a bad luck creature from both her friends and enemies for its reputation, and her saving Hans Christian Andersen. She was also shown to be compassionate, as evidenced in the fourth issue of Disney Comics where she decided, against Sebastian's statements, to save a human whose submersible was trapped, despite knowing full well that he tried to harm her beforehand.
Like her father, Ariel has a bad temper if ever she is provoked, although hers is not as bad as his. Although spirited, even she has had some degree of self-doubts about herself, as she actually at one point considered her father might have been correct and that she may have been a freak for having any fascination for humanity. She also had a degree of seeing good in things, as she also doubted that humanity could have been pure evil from their tools and artworks.
Also, despite her usual naivety and impulsiveness, Ariel has shown on many occasions to be serious, careful, and very intelligent and intuitive. Before she met Eric, she was rarely interested in relationships, not even with any of the merman princes that Triton tried to get her to marry (similar to how Princess Jasmine was with her father the Sultan). The only known exception was Prince Waverly of the Pacifica Kingdom, with whom she was infatuated.
In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel matures after becoming a mother. Due to the threat of Morgana, she becomes very overprotective of Melody in the same manner she was treated by Triton in the first film. She is shown to long for the sea, but keeps this hidden from Melody for the latter's own safety; even though it would've been easier if she had explained everything to her, she even points this out in a later scene and at the film's climax. Her most notable trait, however, was her deep love and fascination for humanity, having desired to become human during the events of the first film, even prior to meeting her future husband, Eric. She did not always have this trait, however: until she was 15 years of age, she expressed a deep fear of humanity similar to Triton's xenophobia of humanity, although her witnessing some humans saving a beached dolphin changed her views on the matter. Ironically, one of the people responsible for saving the dolphin was Eric, although she never knew it.
Similar to Cinderella, although Ariel's love for Eric was indeed strong, pursuing him was not her main priority before encountering him, as she initially wanted to simply live among humanity and be among them.