Disclosure: Disney paid for my flights, lodging, and expenses for this trip but all opinions are 100% my own.
The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition is coming out on DVD and Blu-ray on October 1st. I had the privilege of meeting Jodi Benson who is the voice of Ariel (The Little Mermaid). I’m not sure which is more beautiful, Jodi or her singing voice. She is so down-to-earth and friendly. We interviewed her in a small group and it felt like she was just one of us girls. I could have talked to her all day. In fact were were all still chatting with her as we were being ushered out the door after the interview. She started talking about what it was like for her children growing up their mommy being Ariel and how when her son was younger he would get upset when she would sing for other people because she was HIS MOMMY. As a mom myself I was nice to see the “mommy side” of Jodi. Yeah, I’m calling her Jodi as if we’re BFFs. She was so easy to talk to that it felt like we were old friends.
Jodi has been married for almost 30 years but said she would give up her voice for love like Ariel did in the movie. She said it would be hard because singing is such a huge part of her life but for her husband she would because she believes in true love. She said they sing together a lot and her kids sing with them, too. There is a lot of music in their house, a lot of singing. When her children were younger she sang some Ariel songs to them but mostly she sang songs from church. When she sang Ariel songs to her son it was like she was working and he wanted mommy for mommy so to him she mostly sang other songs to him. When she sang Ariel songs in public he would even cover his ears when he was younger. Now at 14 he enjoys his mother being Ariel and all the events they get to attend because of it. Her daughter was different. She always loved the Ariel songs and is now at 12 years old she is a nonstop singer. Jodi said it is neat to watch her children share the same passion for singing that she had ever since she was little. She recommends that every child that has a passion for singing to do it in any way they can whether it is at home, church, or anywhere else so you won’t have regrets when you’re older about not pursing something that was right for you.
It was interesting to hear the stories about the first time they watched The Little Mermaid from all the bloggers in the room. Some were only a few years old when The Little Mermaid came out and others like myself were teenagers or older. But the one thing we all had in common is our love of that redheaded mermaid. Jodi agreed that all ages love The Little Mermaid. Grandparents watched it with their daughters and are now seeing it with their grandchildren. The Little Mermaid is a movie that has defined many childhoods. Jodi said Cinderella was the movie that defined her childhood. She loved that Cinderella came from one area and wished for something more, a dream.
Jodi was so gracious and said that every time she sings the songs from The Little Mermaid to a new audience it is like the first time. It is always fresh and new like the day she recorded it. She stressed how she is really grateful for her opportunities. In addition to being the voice of Ariel she is also the voice of Barbie in the Toy Story movies as well as about 5 other ongoing characters for Disney. Her voice work is her regular job but she also loves to travel and make appearances. She said it is kind of hard to grasp the impact of portraying a character that is going to live long past her. It’s overwhelming, not in a bad way. But when she stops to focus on it, it takes her breath away. Even now when she walks through an airport and sees a little girl in a [Little Mermaid] t-shirt or sees an Ariel doll in someone’s hand, she gets caught up in it and thinks “Wow! What an amazing heavenly gift that I’m able to be a part of.” Jodi Benson was asked if there was any scene or part of the movie that she would have changed. She said that she wouldn’t change a thing in the movie, she just had to trust in the geniuses she was working with. I, for one, am glad that she did or the Little Mermaid wouldn’t have been the generation defining movie that it is.
The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition is beautifully remastered and includes some awesome bonus features including clips from inside the animation studio. Make sure to grab your copy but meanwhile here’s a clip of Jodi Benson singing Part of Your World for us.