- Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
- Producers: Ron Clements, John Musker, Howard Ashman
- Writers: Fairy Tale, Hans Christian Anderson, Screenplay, Roger Allens, Ron Clements, John Musker
- Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
- Actors: Jodi Benson, Samuel E Wright, Jason Marin, Pat Carroll, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, Christopher Daniel Barnes
Ariel, a sixteen-year-old mermaid princess, is dissatisfied with life under the sea and curious about the human world. With her best fish friend Flounder, Ariel collects human artifacts and goes to the surface of the ocean to visit Scuttle the seagull, who offers inaccurate and comical knowledge of human cultures. Ignoring the warnings of her father (King Triton) and the court musician (Sebastian the crab) that contact between merpeople and humans is forbidden, Ariel still longs to be part of the human world; to this end she has filled a secret grotto with all the human artifacts she has found.
Ariel and Flounder travel to the surface to watch a celebration for the birthday of Prince Eric, with whom Ariel falls in love. The scene then focuses on Grimsby’s speech regarding Eric’s birthday present which he has at hand, and was hoping would be his marriage present as Eric has at least turned down one prospective bride. Grimsby then pulls the covering to reveal that it’s a lifelike statue made in Eric’s likeness in detail. Eric, slightly flustered by the present goes on to say that he won’t find the right girl, but that she would find him and it would strike him “like lightning”. Little did he know that his exact statement at that moment were to come true as the birthday celebration is cut short by a massive storm, during which the ship is struck by lightning. Everyone manages to escape in a lifeboat, except for Eric who boards the burning ship to save his dog, Max. Eric almost drowns but is saved by Ariel, who drags him to the beach. She sings to him, but when he stirs awake, she dives underwater. Eric has a vague impression that he was rescued by a girl with a beautiful voice; he vows to find her, and Ariel vows to find a way to join Eric.
With Ursula gone, her power breaks and the polyps in Ursula’s garden (including Triton) turn back into merpeople. Later, after seeing that Ariel really loves Eric and that Eric also saved him in the process, Triton willingly changes her from a mermaid into a human using his trident. She runs into Eric’s arms, and the two finally kiss. Ariel marries Eric in a wedding where both humans and merpeople attend.