The Little Mermaid Sets Sail and a New Belle Is Chosen

There have been a number of Disney Princess-related announcements this week, mostly pertaining to things I have already posted about, so I decided to compile them into a quick update so they don't get buried by another story. First and foremost, the newest Disney cruise ship, the Disney Wish, completed its maiden voyage this week. I was particularly excited about this ship because it contained a new stage show inspired by Disney's The Little Mermaid. While I was hoping someone on the ship would have uploaded footage by now, I have not been able to locate anything substantial as of the time of this post. Please let me know if any of you find anything about this show. There are some new promo images for it that made the rounds last week, giving us a better idea of the overall look and feel.

The Little Mermaid stage show onboard the Disney Wish containing a full cast of characters lined up in front of a stage with a castle set and giant treasure chest. THe fish and mermaid performers are wearing simple costumes with pants instead of fins as an ethnic Ariel proudly holds up a trident

It is my opinion that this show was meant to premiere after the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, explaining the lead actress's resemblance to Halle Bailey. The timelines for both of these projects were altered by the pandemic, transforming the stage show into more of a sneak preview of the film than a tribute, which is one of the reasons I'm so eager to find footage. One of the newest shows onboard the Disney Dream is inspired heavily by the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast rather than the animated one and was likely the catalyst for this trend. The promo images for Disney Wish's The Little Mermaid feature more relaxed costuming than the Broadway production including regular pants for the merfolk and sea creatures, which makes sense because it wouldn't be practical to be rolling around on heelies with sharp spring tails on a rocking ship in the middle of the sea. The main image features Ariel holding up her father's trident, implying that she will take on a more active role in the newer adaptation.

An Ariel performer sits next to a little boy holding up a Flounder puppet on a giant treasure chest.

In addition to the stage show, other rumors have been floating around about the new Little Mermaid adaptation. One of those is that Ariel's sisters will no longer be Aquata, Attina, Arista, Andrina, Adella, and Alana. Instead, a fan's Instagram post claims that their names have been changed to Mala, Karina, India, Caspia, Perla, and Tameka, allegedly through insider information including an ARC of an upcoming tie-in novel. These changes may affect future iterations of Ariel's story including a rumored upcoming Disney Junior series entitled Ariel. Those of you who have been around as long as me may remember the wonderful animated series that Disney released for the film back in the early '90s. If this new series is real, it may be drastically different if it incorporates all of the changes that the live-action film will bring. Since the franchise is being created for Disney Junior, it will likely feature a much younger version of Ariel than we've seen in the original series. This rumor spurred from a series of trademarks that Disney purchased under the name "Disney Junior Ariel," which could just as likely mean they are developing a new brand of toys and merchandise for small children based on the upcoming film, so don't get your hopes up for a new series just yet.

Comparison shot of H.E.R. and Belle from the animated film

Another recent announcement pertains to the Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration concert that will be airing on ABC on December 15th. At the time of the announcement, no cast members had been revealed, but I speculated that Belle would likely be played by a person of color. It turns out I was right as the role of Belle was given to an Afro Filipina R&B Grammy and Oscar-winning performer named H.E.R. I am not personally familiar with H.E.R. but I don't follow modern music very closely. Her songs have a pretty traditional R&B quality to them, and I'm honestly not sure how that would translate to the Broadway-style caliber of Beauty and the Beast. The character of Belle has been played by a large variety of actresses thanks to its 13-year Broadway run as well as numerous other productions in theme parks and cruise ships. I am eager to see how this new entry in the show's roster will bring this beloved character to life.

Anastasia Funko Pop

I'll close these updates with something fun. I'm not a big fan of Funko Pops, but the company released a pretty exciting one for this year's San Diego Comic Con. When I was a little girl, I had a choice between a doll set of Anastasia in her princess coronation dress with Dimitri or just Anastasia in her midnight blue opera dress. To this day, I don't know why I went with the blue one. Her princess gown and glittering crown are absolutely gorgeous, and I love how Funko managed to incorporate the glitter effects from the animated film. I'm sure there will be many other princess announcements in the weeks to come, but these are all the ones I've collected for now. Which of them are you most excited about?

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