Come on you poor unfortunate soul

Go ahead, make your choice

I’m a very busy woman and I haven’t got all day

It won’t cost much, just your voice!

You poor unfortunate soul, it’s sad but true

If you want to cross the bridge, my sweet

You’ve got the pay the toll

Take a gulp and take a breath

And go ahead and sign the scroll

Flotsam, Jetsam, now I’ve got her, boys

The boss is on a roll

This poor unfortunate soul

When Ariel first meets Ursula, we know Ursula is up to no good.  Being half human, half octopus, and always only second best to King Triton, Ursula has lots of anger issues. She is dying to find a way to become more powerful than Triton, and Ariel is just the tool she needs to trick her way to power.

© Disney

Flotsam and Jetsam, Ursula’s two pet eels, act as her minions, and they also act as an additional set of eyes, as Ursula can see through their eyes to places wherever they swim. This is how Ursula was able to spy on Ariel and learn of her interest in Prince Eric.

© Disney

While she is not as powerful as King Triton, she does have a few tricks up her sleeve, including the devious ability to trade a wish in return for something of her choice. Most of the time, the trade ends badly for Ursula’s poor unfortunate souls, and her victims usually end up being her planktonic prisoners.  Ursula’s magic also gives her the ability to temporarily transform herself into a person, which she did in an effort to woo Eric’s romantic interest just long enough for Ariel to run out of time on her voice trade.

© Disney

While Ursula almost succeeded in taking over Triton’s kingdom, Ariel and Prince Eric fought back, and Eric was able to steer his royal ship into Ursula, sending her to the bottom of the ocean and freeing all the souls she had trapped.

Ursula is based on the sea witch from Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Little Mermaid.” She has pale purple skin, stark white hair, and a definite sense of villainous style. While she is undoubtedly a villain, Ursula holds a unique place in the hearts of Disney fans. Her spirited personality is hard to truly hate, similar to Captain Hook, Cruella de Vil, and Gaston. This type of double appeal is what makes Disney Parks Villains special events so popular.

© Disney Parks Blog

What’s My Name?

When Ursula temporarily possesses Ariel’s beautiful voice, she transforms herself into a darkly striking young woman, and begins her quest on land to trick Prince Eric into falling in love with her – at least long enough for her trade with Ariel to become permanent.

© Disney

While she is human, she goes by the name Vanessa – a name derived from the Latin word “Vanitas”, meaning vanity. Looking at how Vanessa dresses and acts toward Eric, vanity is a perfect word to describe her.

Fun Fact

Being part octopus, Ursula has eight total limbs. While an octopus has eight tentacles, Ursula has only six. But when you count her arms, Ursula has eight total limbs.


  • Disney Wiki
  • Disney’s The Little Mermaid – US Release 11/13/1989
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