Movies, Books & Disney+

Blu-Ray Review: “The Little Mermaid” Walt Disney Signature Collection 30th Anniversary

Hi everyone!

The Little Mermaid is celebrating 30 years this year and has been released as part of the Walt Disney Signature Collection in digital, 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray. This classic film helped usher in a new golden age of Disney animated films that is referred to as The Disney Renaissance. Back in 2009, I asked Don Hahn (producer, Beauty & the Beast and many more films) about that. His reply? “I promise you we didn’t know it was a new Golden Age”, Hahn laughed. “It really was a perfect storm of people, circumstances and the audience. Everybody was ready for it. It was a long time since Disney had done a fairy tale. The Little Mermaid was the first fairy tale in 30 years when it came out. I think it surprised us all.”

10 years later and with one other home video release of The Little Mermaid (in 2013) along the way, The Little Mermaid has arrived to the Walt Disney Signature Collection with some wonderful bonus features. My first interview with Don Hahn and Jodi Benson (along with Paige O’Hara) was 10 years ago, and it’s pretty amazing that the movie has only become more beloved since then. The new bonus features include Benson and O’Hara. Read below for the home video details.

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Below my review of the new The Little Mermaid bonus features is a listing of them with more information from Disney.

The movie itself needs no review, it’s such a classic story. I always enjoy revisiting it.

The new bonus features are mostly terrific. Here are my thoughts on them:

Alan Menken & The Leading Ladies Song – Alan Menken, Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas Singing Voice), Lillias White (Calliope) and Donna Murphy (Mother Gothel) spend about 15 minutes together singing and reminiscing. This is a fantastic bonus feature and would be worth the price of the disc alone. It has been 30 years since The Little Mermaid and even almost 10 years since Tangled debuted in theaters and to see this group of such talented performers together in present day is incredible. I only wish it was longer.

What I Want From You…Is YOUR VOICE – This feels like a classic bonus feature in that the footage is from 30 years ago. We see a variety of actors voicing their characters and Jodi Benson at the end of the 5+ minutes. This feature shows how she ended up singing in the dark to feel like she was underwater.

Stories From Walt’s OfficeGadgets & Gizmos – Becky Cline, director of the Walt Disney Archives, talks about the items that Walt collected that decorated his office (and still do). It is worth the 6 minutes if you are a Walt Disney fan. There are some Disney items shown, but many are not.

#TreasuresUntold – Ruby Rose Turner and Olivia Sanabia from the Disney Channel Original Series “Coop and Cami Ask the World” talk film triva in a bonus feature mostly geared towards teens – but you might find something you didn’t know about The Little Mermaid.

Part of Your World” – A 30-Year Retrospective (digital only) – Clocking in at just 6 minutes, this bonus feature packs a lot of emotional punch. Alan Menken and Jodi Benson talk about The Little Mermaid and how musical animation was on the way out at the time, and The Little Mermaid saved it. Alan Menken says that the movie created the mold for the movies to follow, including Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. And the song Part of Your World was almost cut from the movie. There is much more to this fantastic feature. Throughout some of the bonus features, you will see the brilliant lyricist Howard Ashman as well, who collaborated with Menken to bring a number of animated films to life. He passed away before Aladdin was released.

There are also classic bonus features, most which I’ve seen before and am working my way through.

Here is a listing with more details on the bonus features.

All-New Bonus Features:

Blu-ray & Digital:

  • Sing-Along Mode – Sing along to the movie in this sing-along version of the film.
  • Alan Menken & the Leading Ladies Song – From the voice of a mermaid to the tunes of a muse, the music of Alan Menken has scored the soundtrack for some of Disney’s most iconic leading ladies. Join Alan, Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Judy Kuhn (Pocahontas Singing Voice), Lillias White (Calliope) and Donna Murphy (Mother Gothel) as we celebrate the music of their films in honor of the one that started it all … The Little Mermaid.  In this discussion, the ladies will share their memories of musically creating their characters with Alan, discuss what it means to be part of the Disney Princess/leading lady legacy and create new memories as they sing with Alan around a baby grand piano.
  • “What I Want From You…Is YOUR VOICE” – Enter the recording studio and get an inside look at the cast of The Little Mermaid in their original recording sessions.
  • Stories From Walt’s Office – Gadgets & Gizmos – Like Ariel, Walt Disney was a collector of many different things from miniatures to early mechanical characters that inspired the invention of audio-animatronics. We take a look at some the collections that Walt kept in his office in the third episode of this series.
  • #TreasuresUntold – Join Ruby Rose Turner and Olivia Sanabia from the Disney Channel Original Series “Coop and Cami Ask the World” as they take a deep dive to explore some hidden treasures and fun facts about Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
  • DCapella “Part of Your World” Music Video
  • Classic Bonus Features – revisit four exciting bonus features from previous releases including:
    • Deleted Character: Harold The Merman
    • Under The Scene: The Art Of Live Action Reference
    • Howard’s Lecture
    • Audio Commentary With Ron Clements, John Musker and Alan Menken

Digital Exclusives:

  • “Part of Your World” – A 30-Year Retrospective – Songwriter Alan Menken and Jodi Benson, the acting and singing voice of Ariel, sing the epitome of Disney “I Want” songs “Part of Your World” and discuss its impact since it was first heard 30 years ago.
  • Classic Bonus Features – Over 3 additional hours of previously released classic bonus features including Deleted Scenes, Easter Eggs, Music Videos and more!