The Original Ursula Reveals the Truth About Her Character

pat carroll and ursula

As the new Little Mermaid makes its rounds in theaters, more and more attention is being paid to the original 1989 animated film that inspired the new Halle Bailey movie — and in the process, a staggering truth about Ursula the villainous sea witch has been revealed!

The Disney villain Ursula is a very popular Disney character (inspired by the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, of course) but apparently, many Disney fans have been mislabeling the villain for years — and the late Pat Carroll, who passed away last year, actually had a lot to say about that!


Halle Bailey plays Ariel the little mermaid in the upcoming live-action adaptation of the 1989 film. The Disney and Rob Marshall movie also stars Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. Credit: Disney

Pat Carroll Says Her Piece

“Many people call her an octopus, and I’m so knowledgeable, I have to correct them,” Pat Carroll explained once in an interview about the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman musical. “No, she is not an octopus. She is a squid.”

“She has six tentacles instead of eight,” The Emmy and Grammy award winner finished, sassily adding that this choice was made because fewer tentacles “[made the character] less expensive to draw.”


Octopus or Squid?

The late Pat Carroll is considered to be Disney royalty, but some TikTokers still felt the need to contradict the Disney villain and Tony Award-nominated actress who starred in the 1989 animated movie.

“[Ursula] isn’t shaped or animated anything like a squid, though. She moves like an octopus. Her tentacles aren’t paddle-shaped in any way,” one TikTok user wrote in response to the video.

“She is wrong,” another TikToker said. “Ursula is still [considered] a octopod. Six [tentacles] plus two arms equals eight.”

This debate is particularly timely, since another animated movie is about to hit theaters that actually (allegedly) portrays Ariel’s doppelganger as a villain and portrays a kraken (which is not dissimilar to a squid) as a hero!


Ursula is the Disney villain in the Little Mermaid film. She was voiced by Pat Carroll, and her nemesis Ariel was voiced by Disney Legend Jodi Benson. Halle Bailey plays Ariel the little mermaid in the upcoming live-action adaptation of the 1989 film, and now Melissa McCarthy plays Ursula. Credit: Disney

Carroll vs. McCarthy

This video has resurfaced due to the recent fanfare around the newest iteration of the Little Mermaid story, which has just premiered in theaters today and stars A-list actress Melissa McCarthy in the role of Ursula.

So far, McCarthy has been receiving positive reviews from critics for her performance — but time will tell if Disney Fanatics return from theaters tonight with the same positive opinions, especially when comparing Melissa McCarthy with Pat Carroll!

Did you realize that Ursula was meant to be a squid, not an octopus, in the 1989 Little Mermaid movie? Is her song “Poor Unfortunate Souls” your favorite song from the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman musical?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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