Disney’s upcoming live-action “The Little Mermaid” film debuts this May, 26. This film started some controversy online when Disney revealed the main actress, Halle Bailey. Now Walt Disney World is bringing this version of Ariel to the parks.
Online submissions have begun and will stay open until Feb. 2, 2023. These online submissions require you to learn a choreographed set of movements as well as provide some character animations. You will also be required to provide photos of yourself.
Reading through the submission details, there is no specific requirement for looks outside of the height requirement of 5’2″ to 5’6″. Disney is seeking, “an inquisitive and daring mermaid princess, Ariel is fascinated by the world of humans. Whether she’s on land or under the sea, she’s eager to connect her two worlds, knowing they aren’t so different after all. Ariel appears as depicted in the upcoming live-action adaption of The Little Mermaid.”
The online submission mentions this performer is a look-alike for the upcoming live-action “The Little Mermaid” Ariel character. While not blatantly said, it could be assumed Disney is looking for African American performers. We recently wrote about how Disney is bringing back Ariel’s Grotto meet and greet at the Magic Kingdom. The posted audition does not mention where this version of Ariel would be placed. We also do not have details about if the current cartoon-based version of Ariel would be replaced.
At Disney Parks in the United States, as well as some other competitor’s theme parks, Santa Claus’ race has become ambiguous. The upcoming live-action “The Little Mermaid” film presents the first time that Disney has retold a story with a different character look. This change presents opportunities in the parks for more children to feel represented, which ties in strongly with Disney’s newest business key, inclusion.
It also brings questions about the future of Ariel at the park. Will both of these versions of the character be presented as one, will the movie version of The Little Mermaid be represented by different races, like with Santa Claus. Or will the characters be represented separately, like the cartoon and live-action Buzz Lightyear.
One major opportunity is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here we have the currently closed Voyage of The Little Mermaid show. This show has been closed for many years with no replacement announced. The show was rumored to re-open with an update in 2022, but that never happened. Perhaps the 2023 “The Little Mermaid” film provides a unique opportunity to bring this character to life in her own spotlight.
For now, we have limited details on what will happen with Ariel in the parks. But you can expect to see the live-action new movie Ariel appear at Walt Disney World in the coming months, most likely timed for the debut of the film in May.