March 05, 2019 5 min read

On February 4, 1938, the movie industry forever changed. If you ask why people will say “It was All Started By A Mouse.” This change started a spark that would ignite a flame for many generations, with this flame still burning bright to this day. The movie that changed the industry was the one and only classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Fast forward 51 years later, a new Disney Classic came into existence; Disney's The Little Mermaid.


This new classic would go on to eventually receiving the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score in 1990, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Music Score in 1990, and the Satellite Award for Outstanding Youth Blu-Ray/DVD in 2006. It also went on to receive two direct-to-video sequels; one in 2000 and the last in 2006. Since November 13, 1989, viewers still love this film today! As it is now 2019, this film is now 30 years old! Can you believe that?! Well, to honor the film’s 30 years of history, here are five things you may or may not know about The Little Mermaid!



“Part Of Your World” AlmostNever Made It Into The Little Mermaid


In Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’, there are many famous songs. Some of them include ‘Kiss The Girl’, ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’, ‘Under The Sea’, and perhaps maybe the most famous, ‘Part of Your World.’If you could ever believe this, ‘Part of Your World’ almost never made it into the final cut of the film. While almost everyone couldn’t fathom the idea of the film not having the song, it almost never was. When Disney did a test screening of the scene with young audiences, some kids became restless. When Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios saw this, he was willing to let the song go. Fortunately, we can thank the films’ directors Ron Clements and John Musker as well as Glen Keane the Character Designer/Supervising Animator of Ariel who convinced Jeffrey to keep the song. Jeffrey tested the song once more, and it was a success.


Ursula Is Not An Octopus


 While most people would assume that Ursula would be an Octopus, she, in fact, is not. Octopuses have a total of eight legs. When you look at Ursula, she only has six. As such, she cannot ‘technically’ be classified as an octopus, thus she is a squid. Calamari anyone? The reason for this is animators originally wanted her to have eight. Due to the technology at the time, animating two more tentacles was actually a lot of work. As it was hard work, they opted to just give her six making her a squid.


Sebastian Almost Never Made It In The Film


In the early renderings of the film, animators created a character named Clarence. Clarence was Sebastian before he became Sebastian. Let me explain this. Clarence was, in essence, a completely different character than Sebastian. He was so different from Sebastian that even his voice was different. Clarence was actually going to be a stuffy British butler crab. So, if he was going to be Clarence, how did he become the Sebastian we know and love?

Well, we can thank two lovely people: Alan Menken the composer of the music for the Little Mermaid and Howard Ashman who was the lyricist for the songs of the film. Disney brought both of them on to make the film more of a musical. If they didn't bring them on, we would never have gotten the Little Mermaid we know today. Later on, Howard suggested that Clarence become a Rastafarian due to the Little Mermaid becoming a musical. In the end, he became a Rastafarian along with a name change of Sebastian making the movie as a whole have a Calypso vibe.


A ‘Little’ Mishap Almost Canceled The Little Mermaid Entirely

In 1984, Touchstone Pictures debuted a movie that was directed by Ron Clements titled ‘Splash’. Splashwas a fantasy/romance movie about “A young boy who was saved from drowning by a beautiful mermaid, who then falls in love with her 20 years later when she returns to seek him out. Before he can choose between life on dry land or a deep sea paradise with his dream woman, the lovers are rudely interrupted by the intervention of a scheming scientist.”


Ron Clements wanted to make an animated mermaid film so he presented the idea of the film to then Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Jeffrey Katzenberg. At first, he declined the proposal as the studio (Touchstone Pictures) wanted to make a Splash sequel. Jeffrey had thought having two different mermaid films would be too much. Apparently, Jeffrey thought about the idea overnight as the very next day he canceled the Splash sequel entirely having Ron start production on ‘The Little Mermaid’ right away.


The Little Mermaid Became The Last Disney Film To Utilize Cel Animation


Cel Animation was an important part of the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios. Disney animators used Cel Animation for creating films and animated shorts long before Snow White. The ‘cel’ is “clear celluloid on which the characters were painted during the animation process. Animators would then place the painted celluloid over a background and photographed, becoming one frame of the animated film.” To do this process, it usually took lots of time to complete. Thus after The Little Mermaid finished production, a new form of animation took root called CAPS. Pixar Animation Studios actually created CAPS, believe it or not. CAPS stood for Computer Animation Production System and allowed drawings to become scanned, colored and composited digitally.


Want To Show Off Your Love For The Little Mermaid?

If you absolutely love The Little Mermaid or even know someone who loves The Little Mermaid, consider buying one of our unique t-shirts from Perf Shirts! This month at PerfShirts, our tee of the month features The Little Mermaid herself! Sometimes, we get ‘mermaid hair’ and if you do, then you will love our monthly tee that says, “Mermaid Hair, Don’t Care!” At PerfShirts, we like taking Disney Characters, Disney themes, Disney phrases, or even other characters and transforming them into fun, amazing t-shirts, hoodies, leggings, and more!

When you buy a shirt from PerfShirts, you can show off your favorite Disney snack as you walk through the park all the while looking amazing. And if by the chance you cannot find a shirt that you like, send us an email at where we will assist you in developing custom, unique designs! We would love for you to look at our current inventory at! At PerfShirts, we take Magic and bit of Imagination to produce your clothing you will love!

Agus Suhendra
Agus Suhendra

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