Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Disney California Adventure Changes

Disney California Adventure Changes

In the last couple of years major changes have taken place at Disney's newest United States theme park. DCA opened with much fanfare and high hopes in 2001 but people had expected something different than what Disney gave them. People were looking for a Disney themed park and were surprised to find little Disney there.

There were two rides in the park that were themed on movies, It's Tough to be a Bug and Muppet 3D. All the other attractions celebrated the Golden State of California. The other things that were directly "Disney" was the animation building with the Sorcerers Work Shop, Drawn to Animation and back than a theater that had shorts about upcoming Disney movies (now Turtle Talk with Crush). Even the Hyperion Theater did not stay to Disney themed plays (Now Aladdin the Musical calls Hyperion home.). Blast is a great example of a wonderful show that was not Disney. Also they had the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It" show/game.

The characters were out and about but with a California feel. For example Minnie Mouse would come out dressed up as Minnie EARhart and pose for pictures next to a smaller than life size version of the plane Amelia Earhart went missing in. The area was called Condor Flats and celebrated the golden era of aerospace in California. Goofy and the gang would "film" a beach themed movie in the Hollywood Backlot area on a stage while guests watched on.

People complained that DCA did not have the Disney Magic. I saw it differently. I saw California, the state I have lived in all my life and love the way it could be. I was a Disney version of my Golden State. Paradise Pier was a mini version of Santa Monica Pier but was cleaner. The style of rides available in that area and the look of them is close and captures the feel of the great pier parks of California's heyday. The beautiful Sun Wheel has now become Mickey's Fun Wheel. Where you once went flying around Mickey's head when you road the Screamer you now go around the golden sun. The "beach front boardwalk games" have been replaced with Disney themed boardwalk games.

Mulohalland Madness, now Goofy's fly School was a fun reminder of that bendy road in the hills above Hollywood. The road signs were funny. Golden Dreams, now Arial's Undersea Adventure was a fantastic show that showed when, how, and why different ethnic groups of people came to the Golden State and what "gold" they were looking for. At times it was fun and showed the excitement of the growth of California. Sometimes it showed the gritty reality of bigotry. It showed in 22 minutes how far we have come in accepting people and reminding us we all have our Golden Dreams.

I loved bountiful valley with its farm feel. There were farm/bug themed shows at a little stage and information about agriculture in California. It reminded me that California was once called the fruit basket of the world. At one time, not so many years ago the majority of the world's fruits and vegetables came from California. You could play in the "farms" watering system on hot summer days. Most of this is now gone giving way to Flick's Fun Fair and now Cars Land.

Am I saying all the changes are bad? No! I'm just saying some things they removed or changes should have been left. The Orange Stinger with its buzzing bees and smell of fresh oranges was a fun reminder that California still grows some of the best oranges. I can see how the Sun Wheel needed to become the Mickey's Fun Wheel with the addition of the nighttime show World of Color. They project video onto the wheel and the big sun would have made it hard.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new additions of Cars Land with its nod to the grand old Route 66. I'm going to enjoy riding the new version of the Flying Saucer. The Flying Tires ride will be a lot like the old Flying Saucer ride from the 1960s. The new Cars Land should be open early this summer. So if you want some California fun, come on out and check it out! I'm sure you will see me there some time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Good Eats at Disney California Adventure

Good Eats at Disney California Adventure

One of my favorite places to eat in the parks is Lucky Fortune Cookery Pacific Rim Foods over in the Pacific Wharf area. It is a mix of Chinese and Japanese foods. I am not a big eater and the child's meal is perfect for me.

There are several wonderful places to eat in the Pacific Wharf area. Besides the Lucky Fortune Cookery there is the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Pacific Wharf Café and Rita's Baja Blenders. You can find something to please every member of your group in the area. No matter what counter service restaurant you choose you can find a table to sit outside and enjoy your meal. The area has the feel of a California Wharf. You can sit in the middle of the restaurants or choose a table near the water. Either way you can enjoy the live entertainment that is often in the area during the lunch and dinner hour.

Lucky Fortune Cookery is my favorite with its Pacific Rim inspired menu. Discover the delicious good fortune of fresh made-to-order rice bowls at this Pacific Rim-inspired quick-service restaurant.
Sign for The Lucky Fortune Cookery

Cocina Cucamonga has a Mexican menu. Dine on fresh, flavorful Mexican food from this counter-service restaurant. The menu reflects California's rich heritage of integrating Californian and Mexican flavors, including chicken tacos, carne asada, tamales, burritos and nachos.

Sign for Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, hosted by Mission Foods
Pacific Warf Café has a Californian inspired menu. Browse a health-conscious variety of healthy choices and fresh-baked bread from the world-famous Boudin Bakery. Enjoy scenic wharf-side seating as you dine on crisp salads and hot soups served in delectable bread bowls.

Directional Signs in the Shape of Fish Pointing Towards Pacific Wharf Café

Rita's Baja Blenders is a good place to get something to drink, especially for the adults. Select from a variety of icy, inventive margarita flavors and have yourself a fiesta. An old water tower from an abandoned fishing warehouse has been adapted to a much more festive function: a blended drink dispenser!
Sign for Rita's Baja Blenders

 No matter what type of food you like I think you can find something in this area to fit everybodies taste. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Disney's Castaway Cay

Disney's Castaway Cay

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a castaway on an island owned by Disney? Well wonder no more! Just take a cruise on any Disney ship in the Caribbean and you will get a day or two on their private island Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay is a wonderful place for a family to play in the sand and water. You will find something for everybody at Castaway Cay. There is Scuttle's Cove for the little kids with supervised activities, the family beach with snorkeling for the entire family, a teen hang out area with supervised activities and the adult exclusive beach with beachside massage cabanas.

I must say the best day of our first Disney Cruise was spent on Castaway Cay snorkeling as a family. Those memories will last a lifetime. I did not see any other area of Castaway Cay because we were swimming and enjoying much needed family time. Our next cruise I will make sure to get to the adult beach!

The family Snorkeling area is designed so even a weak swimmer can do it. There are deep areas with artifacts at the bottom. Fish of all kinds swim around you. The deep areas are not so wide as to tire a weak swimmer. You can easily swim across the deep parts to a shallow area to rest.
We were on the Magic in the Caribbean late January, 2005. Castaway Cay was hit by two major hurricanes in September of 2004. Frances hit the island September 3rd & 4th doing significant damage. Just 3 weeks later hurricane Jeanne hit Castaway Cay on September 25th. From what we were told by Island staff almost 90% of the islands amenities were destroyed. The snorkeling lagoon was filled with sand and had to be dredged and cleaned. It was amazing how much repair had been done by the time we arrived at the island. It was still obvious they were making repairs but the fun offered was still first class.
Here is a sign that was posted for all guests to see. It gives the names of the hurricanes and the dates they hit Castaway Cay. I enjoy the humor of how Disney looked at the damage done.

This These small storm(s) was were Just Mother Nature's way of doing a little tropical redecorating. Please excuse us as we finish the clean-up work for her.

Here is what DisneyCruise.com has to say about Castaway Cay.

Reserved exclusively for Guests on Disney Cruise Line Bahamian and Caribbean cruise vacations, Castaway Cay is Disney's private port-of-call paradise. On this island, enjoy tropical leisure activities, such as snorkeling, boating, swimming and sunbathing.

Among the clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches and swaying palm trees, discover the following new Castaway Cay Enhancements and additional island amenities:

What's New

  • 20 premium 325-square-foot private, furnished cabanas in 2 locations: Castaway Family Beach (for families) and Serenity Bay Beach (for adults)
  • An extension of more than 700 feet to the all-ages Castaway Family Beach
  • 2 Water Play Areas: Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak
  • 3 additional private, ocean-view massage cabanas at the adults-only Serenity Bay Beach
  • The Hide Out, a teens-only activity area on the beach

Things to Do and See
Castaway Cay visitors find an island completely outfitted for premium family leisure. Ample amenities include open-air BBQ dining locations, 2 shops featuring Castaway Cay gifts and souvenirs, and convenient tram transportation (now with additional paths) around the island. Also enjoy:

  • Swimming, kayaking, water sports and more at the various teens-only, adults-only and all-ages areas
  • Open-air massages with an ocean view, a yoga class and a bar at the secluded, adults-only beach, Serenity Bay
  • Port Adventures for everyone in the family, including stingray interactions, glass-bottom boat tours, parasailing and fishing
  • Free childcare at Scuttle's Cove, an expansive child's area supervised by Disney counselors
  • Disney Character Greetings, including a Dance Party with Lilo and Stitch

Island Adventures Await
Castaway Cay invites cruisers to enjoy balmy tropical weather and world-class recreation on a Bahamian oasis with signature Disney hospitality. From your onboard stateroom, be sure to check out the Castaway Cay-vents activities schedule. After disembarking to Castaway Cay, you can obtain beach towels and use your convenient Key to the World cards for retail transactions on the island.

Places to Explore

From start to finish, your day at Castaway Cay is full of delightful discoveries. Be sure to bring along the Castaway Cay-vents schedule found in your stateroom. Here are just some of the noteworthy locales and activities:

Pelican Plunge
Swimming distance from shore is the new 2,400-square-foot floating platform—adorned with nautical flotsam and jetsam. At this water-play area and platform, which celebrates the island's native pelicans, take a ride on one of the 2 twisting water slides and end up in the refreshing lagoon. Or, get soaked by the giant "bucket dump" that delivers hundreds of gallons of water on eagerly awaiting bathers beneath.

Cool off at the brand-new, 2,400-square-foot water play area and find yourself immersed in what appears to be the remnants of a washed-away beach dwelling. The watery fun begins as you enter the storm-ravaged structure. Be greeted by dripping pipes, broken plumbing and hissing misters that have been exposed and twisted by the tropical tempest that wiped out the original structure.

Scuttle's Cove
The youngest cruisers will enjoy this sandy play spot, a "hub" of youth activities supervised by Disney counselors from the ship. Scuttle's Cove now features a new whimsical water play area: a 1,200-square-foot soft wet deck area provides fresh-water fun with an array of pop jets, geysers and bubblers. With organized activities and Monstro's Point—a giant whale-bone excavation site—kids will be delighted all day long. (A limited number of all-terrain wheelchairs can be obtained here.)

Marge's Barges & Sea Charter Dock
Charter a boat and then get on board for offshore recreation like snorkeling, fishing, parasailing and sightseeing in Castaway Cay's clear blue waters. Vessels include a glass-bottom boat, a fishing boat and a power catamaran. To accommodate additional excursion boats for parasailing, fishing tours and more, this area has recently been expanded.

Grouper Game Pavilion
Play all day in this fun-filled, shaded recreation area featuring complimentary foosball, ping-pong, pool, shuffleboard, basketball, golf wiffleball—even monster chess and checkerboards! Play classic sand sports at Goofy's Sand Lot nearby.

In Da Shade Game Pavilion
Take a break from the sun to play games, such as table tennis, foosball, billiards and basketball, at this new shaded structure centrally located near Castaway Family Beach.

Sports Beach
Meet at the Sports Beach for beloved beach pastimes, including volleyball and tetherball.

Character Greetings
Throughout the day, meet and befriend some favorite Disney Characters at the Post Office, Gazebo, gangway and elsewhere on Castaway Cay. And don't forget: These are perfect moments for photo ops!

Gil's Fins and Boats
Rent snorkel gear for all family members, along with kayaks, paddleboats, aqua trikes and other water equipment for your day as a marine adventurer.

Flippers & Floats
Rent inner tubes, snorkel masks and fins from this festive location.

Snorkeling Lagoon
Snorkelers of all skill levels will be enchanted by the undersea realm of marine life off Castaway Family Beach. Novices can follow the Discover Trail, and more experienced snorkelers the Explorer Trail. Keep an eye out for the hidden Mickey.

She Sells Sea Shells...and Everything Else
Be sure to stock up at this gift shop featuring exclusive Disney Castaway Cay T-shirts, polo shirts, hats, pins, key chains, magnets and towels—and have Disney cruise staff deliver your purchases to the ship.

Buy the Sea Shore
Pick up a variety of Castaway Cay-exclusive items, along with towels, sunscreen and other beach essentials. This new merchandise location is a complement to She Sells Sea Shells & Everything Else.

Port Adventures on Castaway Cay include Castaway Ray's Stingray Adventure, Parasailing, Watercraft Ski (single or double), Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure, Bicycle Rentals, Boat Rentals, Castaway Cay Bottom Fishing, Castaway Cay Island Cruise, Float and Tube Rentals, Glass Bottom Boat Scenic Adventure, Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure, Snorkel Lagoon Equipment Rental and The Wild Side Teen Adventure. Check out the Port Adventures and find something good for you.

History and information on Castaway Cay

The history of Castaway Cay, once called Gorda Cay is interesting and wild.

'Castaway Cay' is a private island in the Bahamas which serves as an exclusive port for the Disney Cruise Line ships Disney Wonder, Disney Magic, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. It is located near Great Abaco Island, and was formerly known as Gorda Cay. It is owned in full by The Walt Disney Company, giving them substantial control over the experience of visitors to the island. A post office on the island has special Bahamian postage specific to Disney Cruise Line, and a "Castaway Cay" postmark.

History and Development

Gorda Cay was once used as a stop for drug runners. There is an airstrip on the island, but it is no longer in regular use nor maintained. Gorda Cay has also been used for filming; the beach where Tom Hanks first encounters Daryl Hannah in Splash is on the island.

Smugglers on Castaway Cay

In the 1960s, Alvin Tucker flew over the island with a real estate agent from Nassau. He asked to circle the island a few times, and before the plane even landed, he bought 150 acres of it. Alvin was a businessman who loved investing in tropical locales, and Gorda Cay was among the first of his many purchases in the Bahamas.

The only way to get to the island in those days was by boat, so Alvin planned to clear land for a runway to afford easier access. He's the one responsible for the 2400 foot runway that still exists today. The runway is no longer in use for planes but instead serves as a bike and tram path to Serenity Bay, the 'adults only' area of Castaway Cay.

As time went on, though, this tropical hideaway was discovered by criminals and put to use for their nefarious purposes. Alvin heard rumors that his private airstrip was being used by drug smugglers to bring narcotics into Florida. Even when he tried to put a stop to it, it was to no avail - the police were supposedly in on it as well! Alvin began to visit less and less, and eventually sold his land to a private company.

By the 1980s, Gorda Cay had become notorious. Various newspapers reported that people who once owned parts of the island were no longer welcome, and were being chased away by men with large guns and even larger Dobermans. Residents claimed that they saw up to six planes a day landing on the airstrip.

This dark time in the island's history can be attributed to Frank Barber, an American who lived in Florida. He was secretly using the runway himself for years to smuggle drugs into the country, and turned out to be behind the 'private company' that bought Alvin Tucker's land. Now that the island was largely his, Barber began to operate his own little drug empire exclusively on Gorda Cay.

Aside from his illegal activities, Barber rented out the airstrip to other smugglers looking to bring their goods into the country. But if you were unfortunate enough not to make arrangements with Barber ahead of time, his associates would be more than happy to relieve you of your cargo - at gunpoint!

On a slightly more savory side of things, Barber also had plans to turn part of the island into a resort for tourists. He got as far as building a large hanger adjacent to the airstrip before he was arrested for his crimes. In 1983, there was a bust on the island involving $100 million dollars worth of cocaine. Just a few days later, Barber went to jail for it. He was sentenced to five years, but died in prison before he could serve his time.

Activity on the island continued even after Barber's imprisonment. It was rumored that, despite being behind bars, Barber was still in control! After his death, however, the smuggling bustle turned into a trickle.

Disney is said to have spent US$ 25 million to develop and outfit the island. Construction took 18 months and included dredging 50,000 truckloads of sand from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The pier and its approaches were constructed to allow the Disney ships to dock alongside, thus removing the need for tenders to get the passengers ashore. To create the mooring site for the ships, workers dredged sand and used explosives to blast coral, and form a 1,700-foot (520 m) channel about 35 feet (11 m) deep and ranging from 200 to 400 feet (120 m) wide. The island is still largely undeveloped: only 55 of the 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) are being used.


The island is developed in the theme of a castaway community, with buildings made to look as if they had been improvised after a shipwreck. The facilities are maintained like any other Disney theme park, and the shops accept guests' stateroom keys for payment. The food service is operated as an extension of the cruise package. A variety of activities are available to guests including bicycle hire, personal watercraft rental, snorkeling, and parasailing. There are three beaches for guests: one for families, one for teens, and another exclusively for adults, called Serenity Bay.

Two submarine-ride vehicles from the now-closed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine ride at Walt Disney World lie underwater in the snorkeling area. The Flying Dutchman pirate ship, from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, was on display in the lagoon. As of the final week in November 2010, the Flying Dutchman had been removed and taken to another location on the island where it was being dismantled. The Flying Dutchman is reported to be at the new Aulani Resort in Hawaii.

The seven-night cruises visit Castaway Cay on Fridays, four-night cruises visit on Tuesdays, and three-night cruises visit on Saturdays.

Castaway Cay has facilities for the exclusive use of the ships' crews, including beaches and recreational areas. A staff of 70 custodians, boat captains, drivers, landscapers, and maintenance personnel live on the island, and are supplemented by crew from the ship when one is in port. Food and other supplies are brought in by the ships themselves. Sea water is desalinated for drinking with reverse osmosis water processors.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Dear Disney Tinker Sister

My Dear Disney Tinker Sister

We were at Disneyland waiting for the Magical Fireworks to start. We had several hours to go and had pulled out our drawing pads and pencils and started drawing. As we sat and drew people were filling up the area around us. There was a lady with a bright smile at the curb side in front of the bench we were waiting on. Her smile and laughter caught our attention right away. After a while the lady with the smile came over to say hi and see what we were drawing. This was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

If you go to Disneyland on the weekend you are likely to see Margo. If you see her you will not soon forget the bright smile on her face. Margo is easy to spot because she is in a purple wheelchair and if that is not enough she has that smile that is like a shining light in the darkest night. Her laughter rings out clearly encouraging all to laugh along. What is amazing about Margo is while you are with her at Disneyland, or anywhere else you seldom see her frown. You will see little of the pain she suffers every moment of the day.

Margo is an encouragement to all who know her. She shows grace under pressure and quiet strength. If she can get through the day with the level of pain she has and still smile then so can I. When asked why she does not just give up she says she has much to live for. First off she is a Christian and has God's love and strength. Second she has Disney and her Disney Family.

When she is suffering the most and can't get to Disneyland she watches videos that people have taken of rides and shows at Disneyland and other Disney Parks. She also calls many of the friends she has made at the park.

Who is her Disney Family? Some are other guests that she struck up a conversation with. Others are Cast Members who have seen her so often in the park they have become close. All of us support her and encourage her as she encourages us. She has earned our loyalty with her own toward us. When she sees a friend in pain, emotional or physical she feels it and is there as she can. When she sees a Cast Member, friend or not that does a good job she will step up and say so.

What about Disney makes the difference for Margo and many others like her? I believe it is the friendly and joyful feeling of the park. As you enter the park you walk under a sign that says,




It is very true! When you enter the park you do leave behind the troubles of today. Inside the parks gates the troubles seem locked outside and this is a much needed relief for many who are facing daily troubles. You remember the joys of childhood if you are an adult or just good time when you were younger. You find hope for tomorrow and escape into the realm of fantasy. It is a place where you can find solace, peace and some laughter.

In the parks you find friendly faces to welcome you. Cast Members will help you if you need it without criticism or making you feel like you are a bother. Most of the other guests are in a good mood and people seem just a little friendlier than at other places. In the parks you find beautifully maintained gardens and buildings. Everywhere you look there is something pleasant and/or entertaining to see. All of this can and will help you get your mind off your troubles and help you cope better.

Thank you Tinker Sister Margo for reminding me there is much for me to be thankful for and many things to find joy in. God bless you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Film Strip Friday! The Little Mermaid

It’s Film Strip Friday!

The Little Mermaid

Release Date November 17th, 1989


          Living under the sea just isn't enough for young Ariel, who dreams of life above the water's surface. Defying her father, King Triton, the mermaid princess emerges from the deep blue to rescue the shipwrecked Prince Eric, falling hopelessly in love. But, in order to discover her "happily ever after," she must make a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula. Racing against time, it's up to her best pal Flounder and crusty caretaker Sebastian to help her convince the dashing prince that she can become part of his world.


       The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale of the same name. Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, the film was originally released to theaters on November 14, 1989 and is the twenty-eighth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics Series, and the first of the Disney Renaissance. During its initial release, The Little Mermaid earned $84 million in North American box office revenue, and has to date earned $211 million in total lifetime gross.

          After the success of the 1988 Disney/Amblin film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid is given credit for breathing life back into the art of animated feature films after a string of critical or commercial failures that dated back to the early 1980s. It also marked the start of the era known as the Disney Renaissance.

          A state adaptation of the film with a book by Doug Wright and additional songs by Alan Menken and new lyricist Glen Slater opened in Denver in July 2007 and began performances on Broadway January 10, 2008


          Ariel, a sixteen-year-old mermaid princess, is dissatisfied with life under the sea and curious about the human world. With her best fish friend Flounder, Ariel collects human artifacts and goes to the surface of the ocean to visit Scuttle the seagull, who offers very inaccurate knowledge of human culture. She constantly ignores the warnings of her father, King Triton and adviser, Sebastian that contact between merpeople and humans is forbidden, longing to join the human world and become a human herself.

          One night, Ariel, Flounder and an unwilling Sebastian travel to the ocean surface to watch a celebration for the birthday of Price Eric on a ship, with whom Ariel falls in love. In an ensuing storm the ship is destroyed and Ariel saves the unconscious Eric from drowning. Ariel sings to him, but quickly leaves as soon as he regains consciousness to avoid being discovered. Fascinated by the memory of her voice, Eric vows to find who saved and sung to him and Ariel vows to find a way to join him and his world. Noticing a change in Ariel's behavior, Triton questions Sebastian about her behavior and learns of her love for Eric. Triton furiously confronts Ariel in her grotto, where she and Flounder store human artifacts, and destroys the objects with his trident in a blind rage. After Triton leaves, a pair of eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, convince Ariel to visit Ursula the sea witch in order to be with Eric.

          Ursula makes a deal with Ariel to transform her into a human for three days in exchange for Ariel's voice, which Ursula puts in a nautilus shell. Within these three days, Ariel must receive the 'kiss of true love' from Eric; otherwise, she will transform back into a mermaid and belong to Ursula. Ariel is then given human legs and taken to the surface by Flounder and Sebastian. Eric finds Ariel on the beach and takes her to his castle, unaware that she is the one who had saved him earlier, assuming her to be a mute shipwreck survivor. Ariel spends time with Eric, and at the end of the second day, they almost kiss but are thwarted by Flotsam and Jetsam. Angered at their narrow escape, Ursula takes the disguise of a beautiful young woman named "Vanessa" and appears onshore singing with Ariel's voice. Eric recognizes the song and, in her disguise, Ursula casts a hypnotic enchantment on Eric to make him forget about Ariel.

          The next day, Ariel finds out that Eric will be married to the disguised Ursula. Scuttle discovers that Vanessa is Ursula in disguise, and informs Ariel who immediately goes after the wedding barge. Sebastian informs Triton, and Scuttle disrupts the wedding with the help of various animals. In the chaos, the nautilus shell around Ursula's neck is broken, restoring Ariel's voice and breaking Ursula's enchantment over Eric. Realizing that Ariel was the girl who saved his life, Eric rushes to kiss her, but the sun sets and Ariel transforms back into a mermaid. Ursula reverts to her true form and kidnaps Ariel. Triton confronts Ursula and demands Ariel's release, but the deal is inviolable. At Ursula's urging, he agrees to take Ariel's place as Ursula's prisoner. Ariel is released as Triton transforms into a polyp and loses his authority over Atlantica. Ursula declares herself the new ruler and a struggle ensues in which Ursula accidentally kills Flotsam and Jetsam. In her rage, Ursula uses the trident to grow to monstrous proportions.

          Ariel and Eric reconcile on the surface just before Ursula grows past and towers the two. She then gains full control of the entire ocean, creating a storm with a maelstrom and shipwrecks — one of which Eric commandeers. As Ursula attempts to destroy a trapped Ariel in the maelstrom, Eric turns the wheel hard to port and runs Ursula through the abdomen with the ship's splintered bowspirit, mortally wounding her. After her death, Ursula's power breaks, causing Triton and all the other polyps in Ursula's garden to revert back into their original forms. Later, after seeing that Ariel truly loves Eric, Triton willingly changes her from a mermaid into a human. An unspecified amount of time later, Ariel and Eric have their wedding on a ship and depart.


·         Princess Ariel, voiced by Jodi Benson:

Benson, who was predominantly a stage actress when she was cast, was the choice 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 stated that Benson's voice had "sweetness" and "youthfulness" that was unique.

·        Prince Eric, voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes

·        Ursula, voiced by Pat Carroll

·        Sebastian, voiced by Samuel E. Wright

·        Flounder, voiced by Jason Marin

·        King Triton, voiced by Kenneth Mars

·        Scuttle, voiced by Buddy Hackett

·        Grimsby, voiced by Ben Wright

·        Flotsam and Jetsam, voiced by Paddi Edwards

·        Carlotta the maid, voiced by Edie McClurg

·        Ariel's Sisters, voiced by Kimmy Robertson and Caroline Vasicek

·        Harold the Seahorse, voiced by Will Ryan

·        Max the Sheepdog, vocal effects by Frank Welker

·        Chef Louis, voiced by top-billed Rene Auberjonois

    Notable voice actors who provided additional voices include Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, Nancy Cartwright and Hamilton Camp.


Story development

    The Little Mermaid was originally planned as part of one of Walt Disney's earliest feature films, a proposed package film featuring vignettes of Hans Christian Anderson tales. Development started soon after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the late 1930s, but was put on hold due to various circumstances.

    In 1985, The Great Mouse Detective co-director Ron Clements discovered a collection of Andersen's fairy tales while browsing a bookstore. He presented a two-page draft of a movie based on "The Little Mermaid" to CEO Michael Eisner and Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg at a "gong show" idea suggestion meeting. Eisner and Katzenberg passed the project over, because at that time the studio was in development on a sequel to their live-action mermaid comedy Splash (1984) and felt The Little Mermaid would be too similar a project. The next day, however, Walt Disney Studios chairman Katzenberg greenlit the idea for possible development, along with Oliver & Company. While in production in the 1980s, the staff found, by chance, original story and visual development work done by Kay Nielson for Disney's proposed 1930s Anderson feature. Many of the changes made by the staff in the 1930s to Hans Christian Andersen's original story were coincidentally the same as the changes made by Disney writers in the 1980s.

    That year, Clements and Great Mouse Detective co-director John Musker expanded the two-page idea into a 20-page rough script, eliminating the role of the mermaid's grandmother and expanding the roles of the Merman King and the sea witch. However, the film's plans were momentarily shelved as Disney focused its attention on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Oliver & Company as more immediate releases.

    In 1987, songwriter Howard Ashman became involved with the writing and development of Mermaid after he was asked to contribute a song to Oliver & Company. He proposed changing the minor character Clarence, the English-butler crab, to a Jamaican Rastafarian crab and shifting the music style throughout the film to reflect this. At the same time, Katzenberg, Clements, Musker, and Ashman revised the story format to make Mermaid a musical with a Broadway-style story structure, with the song sequences serving as the tentpoles of the film. Ashman and composer Alan Menken, both noted for their work as the writers of the successful Off-Broadway stage musical Little Shop of Horrors, teamed up to compose the entire song score. In 1988, with Oliver out of the way, Mermaid was slated as the next major Disney release.


    More money and resources were dedicated to Mermaid than any other Disney animated film in decades. Aside from its main animation facility in Glendale, California, Disney opened a satellite feature animation facility during the production of Mermaid in Lake Buena vista, Florida (near Orlando, Florida), within Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World. Opening in 1989, the Disney-MGM facility's first projects were to produce an entire Roger Rabbit cartoon short, Roller Coaster Rabbit, and to contribute ink and paint support to Mermaid.

    Mermaid's supervising animators included Glen Kean and mark Henn on Ariel, Duncan Marjoribanks on Sebastian, Andreas Deja on King Triton, and Ruben Aquino on Ursula. Originally, Keane had been asked to work on Ursula, as he had established a reputation for drawing large, powerful figures, such as the bear in The Fox and the Hound and Professor Ratigan in The Great Mouse Detective. Keane, however, was assigned as one of the two lead artists on the petite Ariel and oversaw the "Part of Your World" musical number. He jokingly stated that his wife looks exactly like Ariel "without the fins." The character's body type and personality were based upon that of Alyssa Milano, then starring on TV's Who's the Boss? and the effect of her hair underwater was based on footage of Sally Ride when she was in space.

    The design of the villainous Ursula the Sea Witch was based upon drag performer Divine. Pat Carroll was not Clements and Musker's first choice to voice Ursula; the original script had been written with Bea Arthur of the Disney-owned TV series The Golden Girls in mind. After Arthur turned the part down, actresses such as Nancy Marchand, Nancy Wilson, Roseanne, Charlotte Rae, and elaine Stritch were considered for the part. Stritch was eventually cast as Ursula, but clashed with Howard Ashman's style of music production and was replaced by Carroll.

    Another first for recent years was the filming of live actors and actresses for motion reference material for the animators, a practice used frequently for many of the Disney animated features produced under Walt Disney's supervision. Broadway actress Jodi Benson was chosen to play Ariel, and Sherri Lynn Stoner, a former member of Los Angeles' Groundlings improvisation comedy group, acted out Ariel's key scenes.

    The underwater setting required the most special effects animation for a Disney animated feature since Fantasia in 1940. Effects animation supervisor Mark Dindal estimated that over a million bubbles were drawn for this film, in addition to the use of other processes such as airbrushing, backlighting, superimposition, and some computer animation. The artistic manpower needed for Mermaid required Disney to farm out most of the underwater bubble effects animation in the film to Pacific Rim Productions, a China-based firm with production facilities in Beijing.

    An attempt to use Disney's famed multiplane camera for the first time in years for quality "depth" shots failed because the machine was reputedly in dilapidated condition. The multiplane shots were instead photographed at an outside animation camera facility.

    The Little Mermaid was the last Disney feature film to use the traditional hand-painted cel method of animation. Disney's next film, The Rescuers Down Under, used a digital method of coloring and combining scanned drawings developed for Disney by Pixar called CAPS (Computer Animation Production System), which would eliminate the need for cels, the multiplane camera, and many of the optical effects used for the last time in Mermaid. A CAPS prototype was used experimentally on a few scenes in Mermaid, and one shot produced using CAPS—the penultimate shot in the film, of Ariel and Eric's wedding ship sailing away under a rainbow—appears in the finished film. Computer-generated imagery was used to create some of the wrecked ships in the final battle, a staircase behind a shot of Ariel in Eric's castle, and the carriage Eric and Ariel are riding in when she bounces it over a ravine. These objects were animated using 3D wireframe models, which were plotted as line art to cels and painted traditionally.


    The Little Mermaid was considered by some as "the film that brought Broadway into cartoons". Alan Menken wrote the Academy Award winning score, and collaborated with Howard Ashman on the songs.


·        "Fathoms Below" – Sailors

·        "Daughters of Triton" – Triton's Daughters

·        "Part of Your World" – Ariel

·        "Part of Your World (Reprise)" – Ariel

·        "Under the Sea" – Sebastian and Sea Creatures

·        "Poor Unfortunate Souls" – Ursula

·        "Les Poissons" – Chef Louis

·        "Kiss the Girl" – Sebastian and Chorus

·        "Vanessa's Song" – Vanessa/Ursula*

·        "Part of Your World (Finale)" – Chorus

*Note: "Vanessa's Song" is not included on any official Disney soundtrack of The Little Mermaid. It is a reprise of "Poor Unfortunate Souls".


    The film was originally released on November 14, 1989, followed by a November 17, 1997 reissue. After the success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, Disney announced a 3D re-release of The Little Mermaid scheduled for September 13, 2013. The film was also screened out of competition at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.

Home media

    In a then atypical and controversial move for a new Disney animated film, The Little Mermaid was released as part of the Walt Disney Classics line of VHS and Laserdisc home video releases in May 1990, eight months after the release of the film. Before Mermaid, only a select number of Disney's catalog animated films had been released to home video, as the company was afraid of upsetting its profitable practice of theatrically reissuing each film every seven years. Mermaid became that year's top-selling title on home video, with over 10 million units sold (including 7 million in its first month). This success led future Disney films to be released soon after the end of their theatrical runs, rather than delayed for several years.

    Following Mermaid's 1997 re-release in theaters, a new VHS version of the film was released in March 1998 as part of the Masterpiece Collection and included a bonus music video of Jodi Benson singing "Part of Your World" during the end credits, replacing "Under the Sea" as the end credit song. The VHS sold 13 million units and ranked as the third best-selling video of the year.

    The Little Mermaid was released in a Limited Issue "bare-bones" DVD in 1999, with a standard video transfer and no substantial features. The film was re-released on DVD on October 3, 2006, as part of the Walt Disney Platinum Editions line of classic Walt Disney animated features. Deleted scenes and several in-depth documentaries were included, as well as an Academy Award-nominated short film intended for the shelved Fantasia 2006, The Little Match Girl. The DVD sold 1.6 million units on its first day of release, and over 4 million units during its first week, making it the biggest animated DVD debut for October. By year's end, the DVD had sold about 7 million units and was one of the year's top ten selling DVDs. The Platinum Edition DVD was released as part of a "Little Mermaid Trilogy" boxed set on December 16, 2008. The Platinum Edition of the movie, along with its sequels, went on moratorium in January 2009. The film is set to be re-released as part of the Walt Disney Diamond Editions line.


Box office

    Early in the production of The Little Mermaid, Jeffrey Katzenberg cautioned Ron Clements, John Musker, and their staff, reminding them that since Mermaid was a "girl's film", it would make less money at the box office than Oliver & Company, which had been Disney's biggest animated box office success in a decade. However, by the time the fim was closer to completion, Katzenberg was convinced Mermaid would be a hit and the first animated feature to earn more than $100 million and become a "blockbuster" film.

    During its original 1989 theatrical release, Mermaid earned $84,355,863 at the North American box office, falling just short of Katzenberg's expectations but earning 64% more than Oliver. The Little Mermaid was reissued in theaters on November 17, 1997, on the same day as Anastasia, a Don Bluth animated feature for Fox Animation Studios. The reissue brought $27,187,616 in additional gross. The film also drew $99.8 million in box office earnings outside of the United States and Canada between both releases, resulting in a total international box office figure of $211 million.

Critical reception

    The Little Mermaid received positive reviews and on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 52 reviews collected, the film has an overall approval rating of 90% based on various reviews collected since its 1989 release.

    Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, was enthusiastic about the film and wrote that, "The Little Mermaid is a jolly and inventive animated fantasy—a movie that's so creative and so much fun it deserves comparison with the best Disney work of the past." Ebert also commented positively on the character of Ariel, stating, "... Ariel is a fully realized female character who thinks and acts independently, even rebelliously, instead of hanging around passively while the fates decide her destiny." The staff of TV Guide wrote a positive review, praising the film's return to the traditional Disney musical as well as the film's animation. Yet they also wrote that the film is detracted by the juvenile humor and the human characters' eyes. While still giving a positive review, they stated that the film "can't compare to the real Disney classics (which appealed equally to both kids and adults)." The staff of Variety praised the film for its cast of characters, Ursula in particular, as well as its animation. Stating that the animation "proves lush and fluid, augmented by the use of shadow and light as elements like fire, sun and water illuminate the characters." Also praised was the musical collaboration between Howard Ashman and Alan Menken "whose songs frequently begin slowly but build in cleverness and intensity." Todd Gilchrist of IGN wrote a positive review of the film, stating that the film is "an almost perfect achievement." Gilchrist also praised how the film revived interest in animation as it was released at a time when interest in animation was at a lull. Hal Hinson of The Washington Post wrote a mixed review of the film, referring to it as a "likably unspectacular adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic." Hinson went on to write that the film is average even at its highest points. He wrote that while there is nothing wrong with the film, it would be difficult for children to identify with Ariel and that the characters seemed bland. Hinson concluded his review saying that the film is "accomplished but uninspiring, The Little Mermaid has enough to please any kid. All that's missing is the magic." Empire gave a positive review of the film, stating that "[The Little Mermaid is] a charmer of a movie, boasting all the ingredients that make a Disney experience something to treasure yet free of all the politically correct, formulaic elements that have bogged down the more recent productions."

    In April 2008 – almost 20 years after the film's initial release in 1989 – Yahoo users voted "The Little Mermaid" as #14 on the top 30 animated films of all time. Later, when Yahoo! updated the list in June of the same year, the film remained on the list but dropped six slots to end at #20. (Only three other traditionally animated Disney animated films- Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King, respectively- scored above it in the poll even after the update.)

    In 2011, Richard Corliss of TIME Magazine named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".

    The Little Mermaid, Disney's first animated fairy tale since Sleeping Beauty (1959), is an important film in animation history for many reasons. Chief among these are its re-establishment of animation as a profitable venture for The Walt Disney Company, as the company's theme parks, television productions, and live-action features had overshadowed the animated output since the 1950s. Mermaid was the second film, following Oliver and Company, produced after Disney began expanding its animated output following its successful live action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and became Disney's first animated major box office and critical hit since The Rescuers in 1977. Walt Disney Feature Animation was further expanded as a result of Mermaid and increasingly successful follow-ups—Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994). The staff increased from 300 members in 1988 to 2,200 in 1999 spread across three studios in Burbank, California, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and Montreuil Seine-Saint-Denis, France. This period of Disney's animation history is sometimes referred to as the "Disney Renaissance".

    In addition, Mermaid signaled the re-establishment of the musical film format as a standard for Disney animated films. The majority of Disney's most popular animated films from the 1930s on had been musicals, though by the 1970s and 1980s the role of music had been de-emphasized in the films. 1988's Oliver and Company had served as a test of sorts to the success of the musical format before Disney committed to the Broadway-style structure of The Little Mermaid.


    In January 1990, The Little Mermaid earned three Academy Award nominations, making it the first Disney animated film to earn an Academy Award nomination since The Rescuers in 1977. The film won two of the awards, for Best Song ("Under the Sea") and Best Score. The film also earned four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture---Comedy or Musical, and won the awards for Best Song ("Under the Sea") and Best Score.

    In addition to the box office and critical success of the film itself, the Mermaid soundtrack album earned two awards at the 33rd Grammy Awards in 1991: the Grammy Award for Best Album for Children and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture or Other Visual Media. Bolstered by the film's success and the soundtrack's Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammy Awards, was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in September 1990 for shipments of two million copies of the soundtrack album, an unheard of feat for an animated film at the time. To date, the soundtrack has been certified six times platinum.

    The Little Mermaid won two Academy Awards for Best Original Score as well as Best Song for Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's "Under the Sea", sung by Samuel E. Wright in a memorable scene. Another song from the film, "Kiss the Girl," was nominated but lost to "Under the Sea." The film also won two Golden Globes for Best Original Score as well Best Original Song for "Under the Sea." It was also nominated in two other categories, Best Motion Picture and another Best Original Song. Alan Menken and Howard Ashman also won a Grammy Award in 1991 for "Under the Sea."

American film Institute Lists

·        AFI's 100 Years…100 Passions—Nominated

·        AFI's 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains:

o    Ursula—Nominated Villain

·        AFI's 100 Years…100  Songs:

o    Under the Sea—Nominated

·        AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals—Nominated

·        AFI's 10 Top 10—Nominated Animated Film


    Controversy arose regarding the artwork for the cover for the Classics VHS cassette when the film was first released on video when close examination of the artwork revealed an oddly shaped structure on the castle, closely resembling a penis. Disney and the cover designer insist it was an accident, resulting from a late night rush job to finish the cover artwork. The questionable object does not appear on the cover of the second releasing of the movie. A second allegation is that a clergyman is seen with an erection during a scene late in the film. The clergyman is a short man, dressed in Bishop's clothing, and a small bulge is slightly noticeable in a few of the frames that are actually later shown to be the stubby-legged man's knees, but the image is small and is very difficult to distinguish. The combined incidents led an Arkansas woman to file suit against The Walt Disney Company in 1995, though she dropped the suit two months later.[