Feature Film:

The Little Mermaid


The Little Mermaid: The Series


Pat Carroll
Jodi Benson (As Vanessa)

Ursula is the main antagonist of Disney's 1989 animated feature film The Little Mermaid and its 1992-94 spin-off television series. She is mean and fat. She is voiced by Pat Carroll in all of her appearances. Over the years, Ursula has become one of the most popular, and iconic of all the Disney Villains and is one of the franchise's official members. Ursula is a cecaelian sea witch who "helps" unfortunate merfolk to achieve her own goals.

Her appearance is of a plump light lavender-skinned, white-haired female human and from the waist down has black octopus-like tentacles. 


Ursula is a very dark and sinister villain with a sense of humour. Ursula is very manipulative and has a talent of making great sense and making persuasive points when trying to strike a deal. Unlike many Disney Villains, most of whom care very little for their followers, Ursula puts her henchmen Flotsam and Jetsam before anything and everyone else. Ursula treats the eels like children and refers to them as "babies" or "poopsies". When the eels are killed accidentally by Ursula because of Ariel, she mourns and takes all of her anger and sadness out on Ariel and attempts to kill her once and for all. She is known to fill the heads of merpeople with deceptions; she feeds Ariel with the lie (or at best half-truth) that men on the surface like silence in women. In fact, Prince Eric loved Ariel's voice, and Ursula manipulated her into giving up precisely the thing that would have let him recognise the mysterious girl who had saved him from the sea. Despite using contracts to get her way, Ursula has little regard for following her end of the bargain. This is demonstrated when immediately after Triton signed away his freedom for Ariel's safety, Ursula claims she'd have no qualms killing Ariel, despite being implied to have promised to not harm Ariel as a condition of the contract, and gleefully tries to in the final battle. The latter instance is possibly due to Ariel being the cause of Flotsam and Jetsam's deaths. However for a villain, she expects standards in her home, even telling Ariel "We mustn't lurk in doorways. It's rude."


The Little Mermaid

When Ursula first appears in the film, she states through monologue that she once lived in the royal palace of King Triton, the king of the underwater city of Atlantica. She was banished from Atlantica and made her home in the remains of a leviathan where she waits the chance to get her revenge on Triton and become Queen of Atlantica.

The entrance to Ursula's leviathan home is lined with a garden of writhing polyps which were merfolk who had been previously gone to Ursula for help, but found themselves unable to fulfil their side of the bargain, leading Ursula to claim them as her own and added them to her collection. The garden of polyps are part of the original fairytale, but are simply guards of the way to the sea witch's home, and not condemned merfolk.

Ursula commands her minions, moray eels Flotsam and Jetsam, to watch Triton's youngest daughter Ariel, whom might be "the key to Triton's undoing". Opportunity arises when Ursula learns that Ariel has fallen in love with a human, against Triton's explicit rules. Flotsam and Jetsam lure Ariel to Ursula's lair, claiming that only Ursula can help her.

Through the song "Poor Unfortunate Souls", Ursula proposes an agreement where she will transform Ariel into a human for three days, during which Ariel must receive the "kiss of true love" from Prince Eric. If Ariel succeeds, her transformation into a human will be permanent, but if she fails, she will turn back into a mermaid and be bound to Ursula for eternity. The price for the transformation is Ariel's voice (which Ursula will keep no matter what happens). Ariel agrees and signs a contract that Ursula has conjured. As Ursula orders Ariel to sing, the sea witch summons magical hands to rip out Ariel's voice, which is then magically pulled into Ursula's Nautilus shell necklace. She then laughs gleefully as her plans begin to unfold: Ariel's tail is split into legs. In comparison, the original fairytale involves the sea witch taking the little mermaid's voice by cutting off her tongue, and her tail was transformed into legs by a magic potion which the mermaid was to drink on the beach surface.

During the time that Ariel is a human and must win a kiss from Eric in order to remain human permanently, Ursula takes every measure to prevent the kiss from occurring, such as when Flotsam and Jetsam tip over the boat in which Ariel and Eric are sitting on as the two as close to kissing. Fearing that Ariel may be better at performing the task than Ursula has thought and that Eric will be kissing Ariel by sunset for sure, Ursula decides to take matters into her own tentacles, determined to make Ariel hers for eternity and to make Triton writhe. She then takes the form of a beautiful human female with Ariel's voice in order to sabotage her relationship with Eric.

After transforming herself into a human by the name of Vanessa, Ursula bewitches Eric to marry her, but the wedding is disrupted by interference from Scuttle and other sea animals he called to help. In the chaos, the Nautilus shell containing Ariel's voice is broken, breaking the enchantment and returning Ariel's voice back to its owner. However, the sun sets before Ariel and Eric can kiss and Ariel changes back into a mermaid. Ursula, restored to her normal form, grabs Ariel and jumps back into the sea, where she is confronted by King Triton. She reveals her true goal, and forces Triton to choose between his freedom or his daughter's. Triton agrees to take Ariel's place, and once Triton is transformed into a polyp, Ursula takes the crown and magical trident. Ariel is angry at Ursula for what she has done to her father and tries to fight. Ursula threatens to kill her with the trident, but is hit by Eric with a harpoon. Angry, she sends Flotsam and Jetsam to strangle him, but Sebastian and Flounder extricate him. Ursula then prepares to kill Eric with the trident, but Ariel pulls on her hair, which makes her shot miss Eric. Instead, the shot accidentally hits her eels and destroys them, making her upset.

Furious, Ursula grows into a giant and declares herself as the ruler of all the ocean with the ability to control the waves, the sea and all its spoils. She then creates a rainstorm to separate Eric from Ariel and a whirlpool to raise some shipwrecks. The sea witch then imprisons Ariel at the bottom of the whirlpool and decides to test her new powers by killing the princess. Using the trident, Ursula fires multiple destructive blasts at Ariel, who just barely manages to avoid them. Ursula laughs wickedly and prepares an unavoidable blast that would destroy Ariel forever as well as her true love dreams. She is concentrating so hard on finishing the princess that she doesn't notice that one of the shipwrecks is heading toward her due to Eric having taken control of the ship. Just as Ursula is about to fatally blast Ariel, Eric impales the sea witch by plunging the ship's splintered bow through her belly. As Ursula screams in pain, the bow catches lightning during the storm that electrocutes her and destroys her for good, cutting her reign of terror short. After Ursula's death, all the merfolk that have been under her power, including Triton, are released from their bonds as they transform back into their original forms.

The Little Mermaid: The Series

Ursula appears as the primary and most recurring villain on The Little Mermaid prequel television series. The episodes she appears in are "Against the Tide", "Tail of Two Crabs", "Heroes" and "Ariel's Treasures". In all of these episodes, she executes various plans to antagonise King Triton and take over Atlantica.

In "Against the Tide", Ursula has been experiencing failures in her most recent magic spells. She believes it to be the work of an odd sea creature that is said to cause bad luck whenever it's around. Ursula decides to destroy the creature, but Ariel rescues it, as she believes it to be harmless. Eventually, the creature's whereabouts have been located at Triton's palace, and Ursula invades the palace during King Triton's homecoming. She prepares to eliminate the beast by using the stolen magic of the trident, though Sebastian was clever enough to make a makeshift version of the creature, and trick Ursula into destroying it instead. With the beast supposedly gone, Ursula departs.

In "Tail of Two Crabs", Ursula takes advantage of Sebastian's jealousy towards his rival Zeus the Crab, by transforming into Sebastian's "Fairy God Crab". She offers him a wish if he can recover a rare artefact holding great power. Sebastian delivers, and Ursula is able to turn King Triton, Flounder and Ariel into sea worms. Luckily, Zeus is able to subdue Ursula and revert her curse.

In "Heroes", Apollo, a legendary hero who once saved Atlantica from Ursula and her army of octopuses, returns to Atlantica, just when Ursula decides to revive her old army in an attempt to dominate Atlantica once more. Like the previous battle however, Apollo prevails with the help of the fire-breathing Sea Dragon. It is also implied in this episode that the reason behind her exile was because she tried to create copies of the Trident, referred to as dark tridents, for the aforementioned army against Atlantica.

Lastly in "Ariel's Treasures", Ursula enchants the human items in Ariel's grotto, in an attempt to wreak havoc on Atlantica.

House of Mouse

Despite her death in the 1989 film, Ursula made numerous cameos in the series House of Mouse, often seen alone or with Ariel. In "Ask Von Drake", she was seen popping out of Ariel's giant shell during the Ludwig Von Drake song. In "Pete's House of Villains", she replaced Daisy at her desk after Pete took over. In "Jiminy Cricket", Jiminy gives Ariel advice resulting into her taking her voice back from Ursula. Her mode of transportation was seen as a wave vehicle. At the end of "Max's Embarrassing Date", Ursula is seen in an advertisement attempting to steal the voice of Max Goof's girlfriend Roxanne. In "Mickey and Minnie's Big Vacation", Ursula was one of the many guests to be annoyed when the Pink Elephants are briefly released.

Ursula was one of the lead villains in Mickey's House of Villains, and was also seen in Mickey's Magical Christmas telling Mickey that she wants his voice for Christmas.

Kingdom Hearts Series

Ursula is a recurring villain in four instalments of the Kingdom Hearts series. Originally, she was a member of the legion of Disney villains led by Maleficent who sought to dominate the worlds via the power of darkness and control over fearsome creatures known as the Heartless.

In Kingdom Hearts, Ursula is able to manipulate Ariel into handing over the trident, wanting to use it to take control of the ocean. However, due to the efforts of the game's protagonists Sora, Donald and Goofy, Ursula is defeated and vanishes into the darkness, alongside other villains who were slain by Sora and the gang.

In Chain of Memories, Ursula makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a figment of Sora's memories, using Flounder to force Ariel into giving her the trident, claiming she'll have the guppy killed if she refuses. Ursula returns yet again in Kingdom Hearts II, where she revives from the dead and offers Ariel her dream to live up on the surface in exchange for her voice. The plot that follows mirrors the original film, and upon Ursula acquisition of the trident, she becomes a monstrous giant and tries to eliminate Ariel, as well as Sora and friends. However, with their new ally, Prince Eric, Ursula is defeated yet again.

An Apparition of Ursula appears in Dream Drop Distance as the first boss in the game. She is, suddenly attacking Sora and Riku with her tentacles and magic as the heroes were on their way to the Mark of Mastery exam. When Ursula is defeated, her destruction causes a whirlpool to drag Sora and Riku underwater and towards the Keyhole to Destiny Islands and the entrance to the Sleeping Worlds, beginning their new journey. How Ursula came of be is unknown, though her motives were the simply have revenge on Sora.

Disney Parks

Ursula has been prominently featured in dozens of park shows, parades and merchandise. At the Magic Kingdom, she can be seen in SpectroMagic. In Disneyland Paris, she appears in Mickey and his Magic Halloween Night with other villains. A massive sculpture of Ursula is one of the features of The Little Mermaid area of Disney's Art of Animation Resort.

She has been used in several promos with other characters for the Disney Halloween events and Water Parks.


The Fantasmic! show debuted in 1992 in the California park, only a few years after The Little Mermaid debuted. Ursula appears in the finale, summoning the powers of the sea to destroy Mickey Mouse, though she herself is ultimately beaten. Originally, a twenty foot Audio-Animatronic Ursula float travelled around her segment in the show on the water, but the air constantly leaked from the blow-up tentacles, and the animatronic as a whole was a maintenance nightmare, so currently the character is only featured via animation projected onto water screens. Different theme parks feature variations from the original, such as in Hollywood Studios version, where Ursula has a much smaller role. In the Tokyo DisneySea version, Ursula's role is far more similar to California's.

Voyage of The Little Mermaid

Ursula appears as an audio animatronic living the same role as the film. After she strikes her deal with Ariel, the rest of her scenes are showcased on screen where it shows her transforming into Vanessa, becoming a giant and her death.

Happy Hallowishes

Ursula is a central character in the annual Halloween-themed fireworks show HalloWishes at the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Mikey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party "hard ticket" event along with Jafar, Oogie Boogie and Maleficent.

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

Ursula plays the part she did in the original film, first appearing in the ride's Poor Unfortunate Souls scene, represented by an 8-foot tall, 12-foot wide animatronic, to turn Ariel into a human. Her defeat is one of the last scenes of the attraction.

Ursula's animatronic is one of the most detailed that the Disney Imagineers have ever created. It was designed to move more fluidity than the average AA and gradually apart of the one of the Disney Park's greatest achievements of the year.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Ursula serves as one of the Fantasyland villains for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, where Hades revives her from her death and recruits her to steal a piece of the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom. However, like Maleficent, she plots to double-cross him and take the piece for herself. Once the piece is in her possession, Ursula plots to flood Cinderella Castle and the rest of the Magic Kingdom so that she may dominate the park along with the rest of the seas. Likewise, in a similar manner to her transforming into Vanessa, she also disguises herself as Ariel at one point in an attempt to deceive Merlin and the guests into aiding her in her goal.

Ursula returns during the final battle with Hades. In the end, the park guests to defeat Ursula and the other villains by trapping them in the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom.

Disney Dreams!

In Disneyland Paris, Ursula is briefly summoned by Captain Hook to eliminate the living shadow of Peter Pan. She begins to torture it and eventually leads it to the hands of Maleficent.