Merpeople (Mermen and Mermaids) or Merfolk are a classification of creature which make continued connections within the Disney Parks mythos.
Mermaids are distinguished by being able to survive in underwater ecosystems, having the apparent upper bodies of humans and lower bodies of fish although their tails are more typically horizontal moving like those of cetaceans rather than vertical moving as found in most fish.
These merpeople have only been seen as mermaids and are considerably diminutive when compared to the proportions of humans and most their other counterparts. They inhabited the ruins of Atlantis where they scavenged for old treasures and showed affiliation with a sea-serpent. These mermaids may be of dubious existence however as when questioned of them by Nautilus crew-mate Mr. Baxter, Captain Nemo would dismiss them as hallucinations caused by air-pressure.
Mermaids used to commonly be seen in the Submarine Lagoon of Tomorrowland. Unlike the Atlantean merpeople, these mermaids wore clothes and were about the size of average humans.
These merpeople lived in the submerged nation of Atlantica, somewhere off the coast of Scandinavia. They were of similar proportions to humans and may have had connections to the sea god Poseidon and been related to Cecaelia (upper bodies of humans and lower bodies of octopi). While not stated in their film appearances, in the original stories they were also stated to have lifespans of around 3000 years but turn into sea-foam upon their deaths.
These merfolk are the most explicitly malevolent of all the merpeople known in the Disney park, using siren-songs to lure sailors to their deaths. They are hyper-carnivorous with fanged teeth that they use to kill and consume the sailors which they lure away. Some are believed to have inhabited the island of Isla Tesoro, namely in the subterranean Dead Man's Cove and possibly within the ship graveyard Hurricane Lagoon.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the mermaids live in the waters of Whitecap Bay on a Caribbean island which holds the Fountain of Youth, sought after by the British monarchy, Spanish monarchy, and Blackbeard. Mermaids were also mentioned in the first film when a British navy officer sarcastically said, "A little mermaid flopped on deck and told us everything" in response to Elizabeth Swann asking him about how he obtained information sold out by Jack Sparrow.
Appearances and allusions
The mermaids appeared in the Atlantis scenes of Submarine Voyage and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage. In Disneyland's version of the ride, they used to appear in the exterior Submarine Lagoon where they were portrayed by woman cast-members but this inclusion was ended when womanizing men continued to leap into the dangerous machinery filled lagoon to try and make advances on them. In the modern Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage they are mentioned as a myth while passing by a rock formation resembling one of the ride's mermaids.
Pirates of the Caribbean
From 2012-2018 mermaids made appearances in this ride within Dead Man's Cove on the fictional Isla Tesoro. They could be seen swimming in the waters by guests boats while singing, "Jolly sailor bold" as guests passed by a beach with a bound mermaid skeleton on it and a glass coffin presumably used to have moved them. This was removed in 2018 to remove references to the unpopular Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, restore elements of the original attraction and remove the unreliable effect used for the mermaid projection.
To this day, mermaids are still represented on the plaque outside of Disneyland's version of the ride. On this New Orleans Square plaque, with two of them dressed in scavenged pirate's garb alongside the skull of Captain X from the ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure
Several mermaids are seen on this attraction, inhabiting the waters off the coast of Treasure Cove in a graveyard of ships used to store Davy Jones' sunken treasure and sunken fleet. They try to lure guests away with their songs as they pass by while working for Jack Sparrow to steal Jones' treasure.
In Typhoon Lagoon's Miss Adventure Falls, S.E.A. member Captain Mary Oceaneer can be seen in possession of Ursula's contract made with Ariel and Ariel's, "Snarfblatt" (pipe) from The Little Mermaid (1989).
- A mermaid called, "Mermaid Minnie" is mentioned as a fabricated lover of Ned Land in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the song, "Whale of a Tale" which can often be heard in Disney Park attractions.
- The Eric's Village of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland is themed to the Little Mermaid and contains certain allusions to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea due to taking up the attraction's space.
- The Giant Squid is used as a weather-vane on the H. Goff cartography building.
- The outline of the Nautilus can be seen in the rock work outside of Eric and Ariel's palace.
- Ned Land's song Whale of a Tale is played in the queue for Journey Under the Sea: Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
- Mermaids appear on the attraction Peter Pan's Flight as residents of Neverland. Ariel from the Little Mermaid is among these mermaids.
- Peter Pan has been made part of the Pirates of the Caribbean film's mythology with Captain Hook being a character in that franchise so this appearance may hold some canonicity.
- In Tokyo DisneySea's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction, Atlanteans replace the mermaids which were found in Atlantis in the original versions of the ride. As the Magic Kingdom incarnation of the attraction had Nemo mention that they were likely hallucinations caused by air-pressure, it is possible that the diminutive mermaids seen were actually misidentified atlanteans.