How Old Is Ariel?

Ariel, the main character in Disney's animated film “The Little Mermaid,” is 16 years old. She is a mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human and living on land. Ariel's age is mentioned in the film, and her youthful curiosity and adventurous spirit are central to the story.

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Ariel is 16 in The Little Mermaid.

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How Old Was Ariel In The Movie?

As a huge Disney fan, I've loved The Little Mermaid since childhood. The fiery redheaded mermaid Ariel is one of Disney's most popular princesses. But her exact age is not always clear to fans. In this FAQ, I'll dig into the key details around Ariel's age that confirm she is 16 years old in the classic animated film.

What is Ariel's age stated as in The Little Mermaid?

In Disney's 1989 animated feature film The Little Mermaid, Ariel's age is firmly established as 16 years old. The movie revolves around 16-year-old Ariel's longing to leave the sea and live among humans.

How do we know Disney intended Ariel to be 16?

Several official Disney sources verify Ariel's age as 16 in the film, including:

  • The Disney Wiki site lists Ariel as “16 years old later in the film” Source
  • The Disney Princess site describes Ariel as “16 years old” Source
  • Promotional materials for the original movie consistently cite Ariel as 16.

What was the age of Ariel's voice actress?

Alyssa Milano was cast to voice Ariel at age 15, around the same age as the mermaid character. Milano turned 16 during production of The Little Mermaid.

When does The Little Mermaid take place in relation to Ariel's birth?

The Little Mermaid takes place around Ariel's 16th birthday. This is referenced subtly in the film's opening scene, which shows various sea creatures arriving for her birthday celebration.

How old was Ariel in The Little Mermaid prequel?

The 2008 prequel film The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning shows Ariel's origins. This movie indicates Ariel was 15 years younger than her father King Triton, making her about 6 years old in the prequel timeline.

What age was Ariel portrayed as in the TV series?

In Disney's The Little Mermaid animated series (1992-1994), Ariel is likewise depicted as a teenager around 15-16 years old. The show takes place before Ariel meets Prince Eric in the movie.

Will Ariel also be 16 in the upcoming live-action remake?

Yes, the announcement for the live-action The Little Mermaid remake specified it will stay true to the original in portraying Ariel as 16 years old. The movie has cast Halle Bailey as Ariel to capture a 16-year-old essence.

Why is Ariel's specific age important to The Little Mermaid?

Ariel's age drives much of the film's coming-of-age storyline. Her longing to break free of her father's rules and enter the adult human world as a 16-year-old establishes motivation and themes.

How does Ariel's age shape her character?

Ariel's youthful spirit, defiance, and impulsiveness all stem from her being a headstrong, curious 16-year-old. She is written as a teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood who takes risks against her father's guidance.

Why doesn't Ariel seem to attend school like human teens?

As a mermaid, Ariel is educated through homeschooling and self-study rather than formal school. This gives her freedom to explore the human world, fitting her unconventional 16-year-old personality.

Does Ariel's age affect her romantic relationship with Eric?

Some fans initially questioned the age gap between Ariel and Prince Eric. But the movie presents their relationship as an innocent, fairy tale teen romance rather than anything questionable.

How do we explain Ariel's maturity if she's only 16?

Although independent, Ariel's immaturity does appear at times, like when she impulsively makes a deal with Ursula. Overall, she exhibits an adventurousness and idealistic maturity fitting a fantasy 16-year-old.

Does Ariel age in any Little Mermaid sequels or shows?

Generally Ariel remains her same age through the animated series, sequels like Return to the Sea, and prequels. The character is preserved at her iconic age of 16 established in the original film.


In the Disney universe, Ariel is canonically 16 years old throughout her iconic role in the classic Little Mermaid film and beyond. Her exact age shapes her character as a headstrong, curious teen mermaid who longs for independence and adventure. Ariel's youth is key to the coming-of-age story that made her one of Disney's most beloved teenage princesses.

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