The Little Mermaid has a cameo from the original Ariel actor – and it has a poignant double meaning

The Little Mermaid
(Image credit: Disney)

The Little Mermaid live-action remake revamps the classic story with new songs, a longer runtime, and some key story tweaks. However, despite a big update to the Disney classic, some fans have noticed an emotional callback to the original movie is hidden in plain sight.

**Warning: We'll be getting into slight spoilers from here on, so if you want to go in fresh, bookmark this page for later.**

When Ariel is exploring the human world with Prince Eric, she encounters a kind woman at the market who is played by none other than the original Ariel, Jodi Benson. She gives her a fork – or a 'dinglehopper' to give it its Scuttle name – to eat the food she’s just purchased. Of course, as Scuttle told her earlier in the film, this is used to comb hair so Ariel does just that with the fork – much to the surprise of those around her.

Some fans have noticed that the sweet interaction also has a deeper meaning as well. "Jodi Benson giving the dinglehopper to Halle Bailey like she’s passing the torch to the next Ariel," writes one. While another adds, "That’s how you cameo!" A third shared: "I literally shouted out in the cinema, THE ORIGINAL ARIEL!!!! It gave me butterflies."

This isn’t the first adorable interaction we’ve seen between Benson and Halle Bailey either. The pair went slightly viral when they were pictured hugging on the red carpet of the film’s world premiere.

For more on the new movie, check out our breakdown of The Little Mermaid's differences from the original, our best guess when The Little Mermaid will be on Disney Plus, and the GR+ team’s pick of the best Disney songs

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.