Jodie Benson as Ariel and Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid animated version and remake

Did You Catch the Original Voice of Ariel’s Perfect Cameo in the New ‘Little Mermaid’?

Passing the dinglehopper from one Ariel to another.

The live-action remake of Disney’s beloved classic The Little Mermaid is shaping up to be one of the best yet—with a massive opening weekend to confirm it and a tidal wave of memes and TikToks taking over the internet as more and more people get their chance to see Halle Bailey take on the role of everyone’s favorite mermaid.

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Bailey herself is definitely one of the movie’s best features—from her incredible voice to her ability to truly capture Ariel’s curiosity and spirit, even with her character spending a good chunk of her onscreen time completely voiceless. This new The Little Mermaid really does drive home once more that Ariel has never been just “a lovesick teenager who gave up her biggest asset for a guy,” but that she is a headstrong and passionate girl, fascinated by something that the rest of her family doesn’t understand but that she isn’t willing to give up on. And also a giant nerd—just look at her gadgets and gizmos aplenty.

Halle Bailey and Jonah Hauer-King play Ariel and Eric as they fall in love in the 2023 live-action remake of The Little Mermaid
Look at this couple of nerds. I love them (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

But these things have always been true of Ariel’s character, even in the 1989 animated version. While Bailey does manage the impossible feat of making Ariel’s signature song, “Part of Your World,” even more wistful and heart-wrenching, it’s not like the original one was any less emotionally powerful. And so, it was very nice to get the chance to hear the voice we all grew up imagining when thinking about Ariel as a cameo in this new version of the story, as well.

Jodi Benson’s cameo in The Little Mermaid

Actress and singer Jodi Benson was the original voice of Ariel when the animated The Little Mermaid was released in 1989—and hearing her voice in the live-action remake is a delightful treat. 

Benson appears onscreen when Ariel is exploring the island together with Eric, on her second day of being human. While the prince leaves the carriage to help move some goats off the road, Ariel follows the sound of music and happens upon a market—where everything she sees is understandably a source of wonder and amazement for her.

Between eating a flower and looking at some hats, Ariel hears one of the market vendors offering her some of the island’s typical food. When the camera moves to said vendor’s face, we can see that it’s none other than Benson, who then proceeds to offer Ariel a tool that should help her with eating the food she has just been handed. Of course, forks aren’t something that Ariel is familiar with—but dinglehoppers are, and our little mermaid proceeds to twist her hair with it just as Scuttle taught her.

Jodi Benson, the original voice of Ariel, in her cameo in the 2023 version of The Little Mermaid
He’s passing the dinglehopper to her! Screaming! (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Considering how the dinglehopper is one of the objects that is immediately associated with The Little Mermaid, it was very nice to see 1989 Ariel hand it over to her 2023 incarnation—a sort of thematically spot-on passing of the baton.

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.