Ariel is a 16 year old daughter of King Triton and she is a mermaid. She collects earthly trinkets because she is fascinated by the above world.
Prince Eric's ship gets wrecked during his birthday party and Ariel saves him from drowning. She falls in love with him and wants to be human to be with him.
Ariel goes to Ursula who gives her legs, but takes away her voice. Ariel has 3 days to get true loves kiss or she will be turned back into a mermaid and serve Ursula forever.
Ariel sets off on her journey to find Prince Eric and get true loves kiss.
Ariel and Eric go on a boat ride, but Ursula tips the boat over. Ursula then turns into a human named Vanessa and uses Ariel's voice to trick Eric into thinking she was Ariel. Eric and Vanessa are about to get married, but the shell around Ursula's neck is broken and she turns back into Ursula.
Ursula kidnaps Ariel and brings her back to her underwater cave after she is transformed back into a mermaid.