New Disney Junior Show May Spark Controversy

Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company has announced a new animated show for Disney Junior that may start another online debate about Ariel.

RELATED: Will ‘The Little Mermaid’ End Disney Live Action?

The Little Mermaid (2023)

Although the new live action movie The Little Mermaid (2023) is still in theaters and the final verdict on its overall box office performance is still undetermined, Disney has green-lit a new series based on the Halle Bailey version of the Disney princess. Considering the online debate over Disney casting a person of color to play the little mermaid, it only seems reasonable to expect a similar backlash with the new animated series (even if it is for preschoolers).

The Little Mermaid

Credit: Disney

Disney Junior’s Ariel

Titled “Disney Junior’s Ariel,” the new series will be released in 2024 and takes place in the same Atlantica universe as The Little Mermaid (2023).

The new series will also feature fan favorite characters like Flounder (who looks like the 1989 version), King Triton, Ursula, and Sebastian. It’s unclear at this time whether or not these other characters will be based on the 1989 Little Mermaid film or the 2023 version.


Credit: Disney

According to Variety, the new show follows Ariel as she makes discovery after discovery about the world around her and collects items, such as a big floppy hat, rubber ducky, and whisk, for her crystal cavern. The treasures she finds may also help her solve problems in the episodes. This new Disney Junior version of Ariel is also reported to have a tail “which changes colors depending on her emotions, lights up, and shimmers.”

RELATED: Live Action ‘Little Mermaid’ Arrives at Walt Disney World

“As we were developing ‘Disney Junior’s Ariel,’ we knew that we wanted to create an atmosphere that was vibrant and magical and showcased our young Ariel’s imagination, which, like our preschool audience watching at home, is as big as the sea,” said Alyssa Sapire, senior vice president of development, series and strategy for Disney Junior.

RELATED: New MagicBand+ Featuring Live Action Ariel

Hopefully, the new animated series will be a fantastic addition to Disney Junior and Disney’s decision to feature Halle Bailey’s Ariel over Jodi Benson’s Ariel doesn’t cause the same level of backlash the movie received.

Ursula with Flostsum and Jetsom

Credit: Disney

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)