Twenty-five years ago, one teenage character helped revive the Disney animation brand. Thanks to the success and quality of The Little Mermaid, an enduring title in the Disney library, animated films gained mainstream attention after years of disappointments by various studios. The movie’s significance in multiple genres (animation, musicals, coming-of-age) and its ability to win over audiences worldwide was something to celebrate.
In celebrating the film’s 25th anniversary, it is imperative that any Disney or Mermaid fan follows one of these steps to honor Ariel, Sebastian, and the clan.
Here are 25 Ways To Celebrate The Little Mermaid.
1. Ride aboard Ariel’s adventure. Get on your clamshell and set off on a six-minute journey through the mermaid’s story. Both Disney’s California Adventure Park and Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World feature Ariel in a nicely designed dark ride. If you cannot make it out to either park, watch a ride-through video on YouTube for a vicarious experience.
2. Play “Under The Sea” on repeat. Like “Be Our Guest,” “Circle of Life,” and many other songs that came out of the Disney Renaissance, this is one song that Disney plays nonstop in its parks. And yet it is one piece I never get tired of hearing. Part of the reason may be that innumerable musicians who possess YouTube channels spin their own versions. Check out talented YouTuber lara6683 as she and pal Jonathan perform a fantastic rendition of “Under The Sea” below.
3. Brush your hair with a “dinglehopper.” Yes, using a fork might seem weird, but Ariel made it work.
4. Remain silent for several days. Like Ariel, who gave up her voice for a long period, silence can often be golden in this digital age of nonstop communication. It’s a mindful and calming activity that offers many benefits. Listen to ocean waves for added effect – and for a suited Little Mermaid touch.
5. Thank Alan Menken. While it might be hard to share your gratitude in person, thanks to Twitter, you can spread your appreciation to the Oscar-winning songwriter virtually. Follow him @AIMenken.
6. Bake a Little Mermaid cake. For those of you who are crafty – and likely have a lot of free time – you might opt to create a sea-worthy concoction. YouTube extraordinaire Elise, otherwise known as MyCupcakeAddiction, shows you how to construct an appropriately themed cake to honor the occasion. See video below.
7. Donate to The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. This corporate responsibility branch promotes environmental consciousness and develops efforts that benefit animals, including sea creatures. As The Little Mermaid advocates kindness to aquatic wildlife, you can show compassion through donating to these programs.
8. Purchase a copy of The Little Mermaid from Walt Disney Records’ Legacy Collection. This newly remastered album not only includes the original soundtrack, but also songs and pieces cut from the film.
9. “Sleep with the fish” at Walt Disney World. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has four areas dedicated to some of the studio’s most popular brands. Of course, The Little Mermaid made a spot and occupies an entire section of the resort, complete with gigantic versions of Ursula and Ariel. Rooms are intricately themed to the underwater environment, making each stay completely riveting.
10. Participate in a crab walk. Model Sebastian and burn off some calories in the process. Participate in this exercise that resembles the motion of our crustacean friend. YouTube channel 3V shows you how to perform this exercise.
11. Kiss the girl. Make your special someone feel like a princess by taking her out on a boat with calypso music. Just try not to laugh while spoofing the musical sequence.
12. Visit an aquarium. Think of Ursula as you gaze at the octopus. Reminisce of your favorite Sebastian memories as you catch a little crab in action. And don’t forget about Max if you notice a “service sheepdog” with its human. Yes, they do exist. Look it up.
13. Get ready to see a real-life Ariel on the big screen. No Disney classic seems to be immune from the “Maleficent treatment.” A live-action film adaptation is in the works.
14. Avoid dining at a seafood restaurant. No explanation necessary.
15. Salvage odd objects. Like Scuttle, you can act like a treasure hunter by finding odd, mysterious finds – or you can participate on Storage Wars. Your choice.
16. Watch a Little Mermaid trailer mashup. I recommend the one below by YouTuber Matthew Lam, who integrates the audio from the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest trailer into Mermaid footage. Ever imagined Prince Eric with the vocals of Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack? Here’s what you may have been waiting for.
17. “Don’t underestimate the importance of body language.” Quote the most evil sea witch as you go about your daily life. But don’t call anyone your “little poopsie,” as that will only draw even more awkward responses.
18. Read the original novel by Hans Christian Andersen. Make sure to prepare yourself for the dark turns the film fails to explore, though.
19. Pop in a VHS of the old animated series. Were you a child of the 1990s? Then you must remember the hit television show that gave us more stories about Ariel and her sea friends.
20. Spend all day in the sand. If a day at the beach is far from feasible or warm, listen to some Little Mermaid tunes as you lounge in your backyard.
21. Watch a performance by Jodi Benson. If you did not have the opportunity to catch Benson, the voice of Ariel, captivate the audience at D23 Expo 2011 by singing “Part of Your World,” check out the YouTube video below by Inside The Magic.
22. Support your local community’s production of The Little Mermaid. Many metropolitan areas and even smaller communities often stage their own version of the film. Buy a ticket to demonstrate your enthusiasm, but please don’t sing along with the cast.
23. Start a collection that will never be complete. Are you craving more and more Little Mermaid merchandise? Luckily for you, Disney continues to release new products each year to expand your treasure trove. Search on eBay for rare memorabilia.
24. Travel to Tokyo. You might be wondering why you should travel to Japan to truly celebrate The Little Mermaid. Did you know Tokyo DisneySea boasts an entire land dedicated to Ariel and her friends? Many of the smaller-scale attractions even fit inside a giant building resembling King Triton’s Castle. Mermaid Lagoon is the place to be for any Mermaid aficionado.
25. Watch a movie marathon. You can either watch the 1989 classic on repeat or include the two direct-to-video films in the mix. It’s up to you.
This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Follow me on Twitter for alerts of new editions of Disney In Depth, Thursdays on Geeks of Doom.