Disney Quietly Replaces Animated ‘Little Mermaid’ Resort Experience

Disney replaces Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

The Disney theme parks are in a constant state of change and growth. Without updating the experiences, guests can often get bored of offerings, and attendance could suffer. Walt Disney even said that his parks were never finished. With Disney’s commitment to remaking its classics into live-action, some fans have not been receptive to the presence of these reimagined versions in the theme parks. This has been particularly showcased with Disney’s most recent live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Disney has pushed for more offerings surrounding it, and one quiet change hasn’t gone unnoticed by observant guests.

Ariel Ship Wreck

Credit: Disney

A Tale of Two Mermaids

The animated Little Mermaid has been a powerhouse in Disney’s lineup and has always enjoyed major park representation. The 1989 musical fantasy film, a timeless adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, has been a cherished part of Disney’s cinematic legacy. Its unforgettable songs, including the Academy Award-winning “Under the Sea,” have stuck with fans as one of the best soundtracks in Disney history.

However, change is a part of life. Disney’s live-action rendition of The Little Mermaid, released this year, has ushered in a new era for Ariel and her underwater adventures. Starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, and Melissa McCarthy as the formidable Ursula, this incarnation of the beloved tale has garnered attention for its diverse cast and its reimagined setting in the Caribbean sea. It also featured new songs and rewritten lyrics to represent modern audience expectations better.

Disney Live-Action Ariel Meet and Greet

Credit: Disney

Disney Replaces Little Mermaid

Disney has begun to embrace this live-action vision in certain corners of its theme parks. Guests visiting Walt Disney World, Disneyland California, and Disneyland Paris now have the unique opportunity to meet and greet with live-action Ariel. This new addition to the park’s character lineup is one of the first times both an animated character and their live-action counterpart have been available to meet.

However, it’s not just in character meet-and-greets where Disney has made a change. One of the most unnoticed shifts has occurred within the Disney Resort hotels. For years, the Disney Classics Channel, a popular station to have on in the background while in a stateroom, has showcased animated Little Mermaid music videos, among other timeless Disney gems.

Halle Bailey Ariel

Halle Bailey as Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’. Credit: Choovie Group, Flickr

Yet, quietly and without fanfare, Disney has also undertaken a transformation here. Ariel’s live-action counterpart has discreetly replaced the animated Little Mermaid music videos. It’s a change that has not gone completely unnoticed by fans. InsidetheMagic reports that the channel now exclusively features music videos from the 2023 live-action adaptation.

While Disney has not officially commented on these subtle changes, some speculators wonder if this transformation will extend further into the parks. The closure of the Voyage of the Little Mermaid attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to discussions among fans about the possibility of a retheme to the live-action version. Though nothing has been confirmed, it is clear that Disney is navigating the waters of change, all while trying to navigate the strong opinions of its devoted audience. Whether Disney replaces Little Mermaid further in the parks remains to be seen.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

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