The Little Mermaid (TV series)

This article is about the Disney animated TV series. For other TV series, see The Little Mermaid (disambiguation).
Disney's The Little Mermaid
Created by Walt Disney Television
Written by
  • Tedd Anasti
  • Patsy Cameron
  • Laraine Arkow
  • Tony Marino
  • Chuck Menville
Directed by
  • Jamie Mitchell
  • Mircea Mantta
Creative director(s)
  • Ed Ghertner
  • Ron Dias
Voices of
Theme music composer
  • Dan Foliart
  • Mark Watters
Opening theme "Part of Your World", "Under the Sea", and "Kiss the Girl"
Ending theme "Under the Sea"
  • Dan Foliart
  • Mark Watters
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 31 (list of episodes)
  • Jamie Mitchell
  • Tedd Anasti (co-producer)
  • Patsy Cameron (co-producer)
  • Traci Tolman Mars (assistant producer)
  • Donna Smith (assistant producer)
Editor(s) Elen Orson
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Walt Disney Television Animation
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Original network CBS
Picture format Color
Audio format Stereo
Original release September 11, 1992 (1992-09-11) – November 26, 1994 (1994-11-26)
Preceded by The Little Mermaid
Followed by

Disney's The Little Mermaid is an American animated television series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation based on the 1989 Disney film of the same name. It features the adventures of Ariel as a mermaid prior to the events of the film. This series is the first Disney television series to be spun off from a major animated film. Some of the voice actors of the film reprise their roles in the series, among them Jodi Benson as Ariel, Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian, Kenneth Mars as King Triton and Pat Carroll as Ursula. Other voice actors include Edan Gross and Bradley Pierce as Flounder, and Jeff Bennett as Prince Eric.

The Little Mermaid premiered in the fall of 1992 with the animated prime time special called "A Whale of a Tale," then moved to Saturday mornings. This series originally appeared on CBS, with an original run from 1992 to 1994 (prior to Disney's purchase of rival ABC). Disney Channel reran the series in the late-1990s until it was replaced by their pre-teen lineup. The show was later shown on Toon Disney, but has since been removed. Some of the episodes contain musical segments, featuring original songs written for the series. The opening theme to the show is an instrumental combination of the songs "Part of Your World", "Under the Sea", and "Kiss the Girl". The overture for the stage musical of The Little Mermaid is similar to this.


The Little Mermaid television series is a prequel to the movie of the same name. The story is set before the events in the 1989 film, and follows Ariel's adventures as a mermaid still living under the sea with her father, Sebastian the crab and Flounder the fish. Various episodes highlight her relationships with her friends, father and sisters, and usually involve Ariel foiling the attempts of various enemies that intend ill harm to her or her kingdom. A prequel film, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, was released in 2008 containing events that contradict the television series (such as Ariel's youth and first meeting with Flounder), making the TV series and film independent continuities.


After the success of the 1989 movie, The Walt Disney Company planned to produce a children's television series for its Disney Channel cable outlet called "The Little Mermaid's Island." The proposed series would feature puppets from Jim Henson's Creature Shop interacting with a "live" Ariel. As the video release of The Little Mermaid soared in sales during 1990 and early 1991, Disney quietly dropped plans for "The Little Mermaid's Island" in favor of a more ambitious plan: an animated weekly series for the CBS network. The new show would concern the adventures of Ariel and her friends before the events in the movie.

Jamie Mitchell, an artist and graphic designer who worked on Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears, was named the producer and director of the new series. Patsy Cameron and Tedd Anasti were the story editors and wrote almost all of the episodes for the show's second and third seasons. Their previous joint work included Hanna-Barbera's The Smurfs, the animated Beetlejuice and Disney's DuckTales. Some of the artists and technicians on the feature film also contributed to the TV series. Mark Dindal, chief of special animated effects for the movie, was a consultant for special effects on the TV show. Robby Merkin, who worked with Alan Menken and Howard Ashman on arranging the songs for the movie, worked as the arranger and music producer for the first season of the TV show.

Conscious of the worldwide acclaim for the movie's superior artistry, Walt Disney Television Animation auditioned the best overseas animation studios. In the world of TV animation, farming most of the artwork out to Asian studios is an economic reality due to lower production costs and wages abroad. Studios in Korea, Japan and the Philippines contributed to the series.

Not everyone in the Disney organization was thrilled that the movie was now going weekly on television. Some of the feature animators who had worked on the movie complained privately and anonymously. These artists felt the television division should come up with its own ideas.


The show's broadcast debut in September 1992 was in the form of a half-hour prime-time special, "The Little Mermaid: A Whale of a Tale." Interestingly, "Whale of a Tale" is not officially considered an episode of the series by Disney because it was produced under a separate contract from CBS and was not shown again in the U.S. after its one and only broadcast, though it is available on video and laserdisc.

Its Saturday morning debut came the very next day. The show's time slot was 8:30 a.m., following another new animated series based on the animated movie, An American Tail. The Little Mermaid series drew a fair bit of media attention, including more than one spot on Entertainment Tonight, because it was the first series based directly on a Disney animated feature and was a rare television cartoon concerning a strong female character. The show kept its time slot the following year with its second season.

For the series' third season, the show was moved to the 8 a.m. time period and was the lead-in for a new Disney animated series, Aladdin. This was to be the show's last season in original production; CBS elected not to buy another batch of episodes. On October 2, 1995, The Disney Channel began rerunning the show seven days a week.[1] The show was broadcast once a day on The Disney Channel and on the new Toon Disney cable outlet until 2010. The series then aired on Disney Junior from the channel's launch in 2012 until 2014.


From the 1989 film

Original characters


The series had a total of 31 episodes over three seasons. The first episode, "Whale of a Tale", has Ariel adopting Spot, a baby killer whale, when he is separated from his family. The episode "The Evil Manta" features a flashback to Ariel and Flounder's first meeting when they younger, and the episode "Red" has King Triton magically reverting into a merboy, which gives Ariel a glimpse of how her father used to be when he was younger, and that they aren't so different after all.

In the episode "Metal Fish" Ariel saves a human, Hans Christian Andersen, who is loosely based on the real life author of the original The Little Mermaid, and the encounter inspired the character to "write" the story of The Little Mermaid. A voice-over at the end of the episode by Kenneth Mars, who voices King Triton, talks about the real Hans Christian Andersen, while the image on-screen is of Ariel sitting on a rock in the style of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen harbor. This meta situation is repeated in The Legend of Tarzan episode "Tarzan and the Mysterious Visitor" where Tarzan meets his author Edgar Rice Burroughs who travels to Africa in search of inspiration for a new novel.


Songs (In chronological order)

Music CD Album Release:

VHS releases

Seven VHS cassettes containing 14 episodes of the series were released in the United States.

Ariel's Undersea Adventures:

VHS Name Episode Titles Release Date Stock Number
Ariel's Undersea Adventures: Double Bubble "Double Bubble" & "Message in a Bottle" February 23, 1993 1666
Ariel's Undersea Adventures: In Harmony "The Evil Manta" & "Charmed" June 24, 1994 2038
Ariel's Undersea Adventures: Stormy the Wild Seahorse "Stormy the Wild Seahorse" & "The Great Sebastian" June 24, 1994 1665
Ariel's Undersea Adventures: Whale of a Tale "Whale of a Tale" & "Urchin" June 24, 1994 1664
Ariel's Undersea Adventures: Ariel's Gift "Ariel's Gift" & "Trident True" July 15, 1994 2039

Princess Collection:

VHS Name Episode Titles Release Date Stock Number
Princess Collection - Ariel's Songs & Stories: Giggles "Giggles" & "Against the Tide" June 6, 1995 4709
Princess Collection - Ariel's Songs & Stories: Wish Upon a Starfish "Wish Upon a Starfish" & "Metal Fish" June 6, 1995 4708

Australia & New Zealand releases

Eleven VHS cassettes containing 22 episodes of the series were released in Australia and New Zealand.

Ariel's Undersea Adventures:

VHS Name Episode Titles Release Date
The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventures (Volume 1): Whale of a Tale "Whale of a Tale" & "Urchin" November 26, 1993
The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventures (Volume 2): Stormy the Wild Seahorse "Stormy the Wild Seahorse" & "The Great Sebastian" November 26, 1993
The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventures (Volume 3): Double Bubble "Double Bubble" & "Message in a Bottle" November 26, 1993
The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventures (Volume 4): In Harmony "The Evil Manta" & "Charmed" April 1, 1994
The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventures (Volume 5): Ariel's Gift "Ariel's Gift" & "Trident True" April 1, 1994
The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventures (Volume 6): Ariel the Ballerina "Wish Upon a Starfish" & "Metal Fish" April 1, 1994
The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventures (Volume 7): Saltwater Sisters "Beached" & "Thingmaijigger" April 1, 1994

Princess Collection:

VHS Name Episode Titles Release Date
Princess Collection (Volume 1): The Little Mermaid - Giggles "Giggles" & "Against the Tide" October 11, 1996
Princess Collection (Volume 2): The Little Mermaid - Wish Upon a Starfish "Wish Upon a Starfish" & "Metal Fish" October 11, 1996
Princess Collection (Volume 3): The Little Mermaid - Heroes "Heroes" & "El-ectric City" March 28, 1997
Princess Collection (Volume 4): The Little Mermaid - Tail of Two Crabs "A Little Evil" & "Tail of Two Crabs" March 28, 1997

DVD releases

The series has not yet been officially released on DVD. However, four episodes were released as part of the Disney Princess DVD releases.[2]

DVD Name Episode Title Release Date
Disney Princess Party: Volume 1 "Message in a Bottle" September 7, 2004
Disney Princess Stories: Volume 1 "Wish Upon a Starfish" September 7, 2004
Disney Princess Stories: Volume 2 "Giggles" February 15, 2005
Disney Princess Stories: Volume 3 "Ariel's Treasures" September 6, 2005

Video on Demand

International releases

An SD version in its original 4:3 aspect ratio is currently available for purchase on Amazon Video and iTunes in Germany.

An HD version cropped to 16:9 aspect ratio (but with enlarged right and left sides) is currently available on Netflix in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.


From the series, was made into a spin-off as segment of the Marsupilami series, starring Sebastian the crab, which is located outside the sea after the wedding between Ariel and Eric in the film.


  1. The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 13, no. 5, October/November 1995: pp. 36, 46, 54.
  2. "Disney Entertainment Lists: The Little Mermaid TV Series - Home Media Releases". Retrieved 2013-11-15.
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