While The Little Mermaid has been getting five fins up from film critics after the film’s LA and London premieres, the highest praise the film’s star has gotten began with the teaser trailer.
In a viral video following the live-action remake’s trailer, tiny viewers were filled with wonder as they watched the first black Ariel (Halle Bailey) swim across the screen. Exclaiming, “She looks like me!” and covering their mouths with excitement, the children responding to the groundbreaking casting decision made a mark on the world.
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Ever since, Halle Bailey has faced backlash, racism, and unfair criticisms throughout the film’s promotion, but she never lost sight of the most meaningful reaction to her role from those children. Throughout emotional meet-and-greets and never-ending hugs from little ones who idolize her, Bailey has captivated the globe with her grace as Ariel.
In a full-circle moment, five children who stared spellbound at an empowering on-screen princess headed over to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at the Disneyland Resort for Little Mermaid makeovers. McKenzie Lanier, Madison Lanier, Carter Lanier, Mckenzie Fleming, and Riley Fleming knew precisely what they wanted their makeovers to look like—but they had no clue they were about to receive the shock of their lives.
After being dolled up in mermaid style, the kids watched a special video starring Bailey. Already excited to see Ariel deliver a message, their faces lit up when Bailey rounded the corner and gave the children a life-sized surprise. While exchanging hugs and smiles, Bailey invited the crew to join her on the blue carpet for the World Premiere of The Little Mermaid.
Related: “That’s My Sister”: Tearful ‘Little Mermaid’ Star Halle Bailey Responds to Surprise Message
In the video shared by Disney Parks Blog, Bailey stated:
It means so much to be the representation I wanted to see as a child.
Part of the modern Ariel’s impact was on display at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique that day. Disney Parks Blog shared how the salon is expanding its cultural awareness with more inclusive styles:
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique has a long legacy of making dreams come true for families worldwide. Disney Parks are thrilled to now offer more Disney magic and inclusivity at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique through a variety of styles for a range of guests with differing hair textures and types, opening up doors to more connection and inclusion.
In addition to expanding the legacy and helping to make the experience more inclusive, select Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations now offer a brand-new costume selection for both princesses and princes to choose from – all inspired by “The Little Mermaid”!
Facing unimaginable odds as she reimagined a certified classic Disney character, Halle Bailey has shined as a role model for countless children to idolize.
Joining Halle in an all-star cast for The Little Mermaid debut is Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem playing King Triton, Daveed Diggs portraying Sebastian, and Jonah Hauer-King as the charming Prince Eric. Director Rob Marshall brought the film to life with music from Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film will finally become part of Disney fans’ worlds, set to hit on May 26.