The Man Behind the Music of ‘The Little Mermaid’

Alan Menken is a big deal in showbiz. He’s as big as Brad Pitt – really. If you don’t recognize the name, I can tell you with 100-percent certainty you know his music. The legendary composer is the man who created scores for “Beauty and Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Pocahontas,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Hercules,” “Tangled” and yes, “The Little Mermaid.” (He’s actually composed many, many more, but I only have so much writing space.) He has also won eight Oscars and he’s been nominated 19 times! Like I said, he’s a very big deal.

At our opening ceremony for The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on June 2 at Disney California Adventure park, Mr. Menken was invited on stage. He talked about how much he loved seeing the movie and his music come to life in a Disney Parks attraction. He also shared that the celebration was a little bittersweet, as he wished that Howard Ashman – his composing partner on “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”- was at the opening with him. Ashman passed away in 1991.

In the video below, you’ll see Mr. Menken on stage and in his one-on-one interview with the Disney Parks Blog. He’s such a humble man whose music plays as big of a role in “The Little Mermaid” movie and attraction as the colorful characters. He gives credit to everyone, except himself. But, Mr. Menken, you deserve credit and a standing ovation for creating music that has allowed us to become a part of so many worlds.


  • He truly is one of my heroes…. his music has lifted me up so many times… I hope I get to meet him one day and tell him that in person 🙂

  • Alan Menken is my Inspiration There isnt a soundtrack I dont own from him…..I even have “Music Behind the Magic” which has all the demos and drafts from Aladdin Beauty and the beast and Little mermaid. This man is amazing…as Musician, I look up to him his scores are mesmerizing.

  • I love Alan’s music it always reminds me to never give up on my dreams. In the movie The Little Mermaid Ariel dreams of becoming human and overcomes many obstacles to achieve her dream. I see that same theme in many other Disney classics. Alan’s music along with the stunning films always touches me.

  • Love this movie, and love this ride! Only Disney can make this kind of timeless magic. Thank you for these great videos and blog posts : )

  • I support the perceptive observation from Valarie that Alan gives credit to everyone except himself. When you are as good as he is, you don’t need to give credit to yourself — others inevitably will do it for you. As proof: spend 20 minutes in the lobby of the DCA animation building and count the Alan Menken tunes that touch you on an emotional level.

  • I Love Alan Menken’s music! It is some of the most beautiful music from Disney.

  • I was an Alan Menkin fan before I realized I was. I started buying soundtracks to my favorite Disney animated movies. I bought Pocahontas, Hercules, Beauty & the Beast and Alddin over time and saw that they were all composed by Alan Menkin!! I guess I was just drawn to his music without even realizing it.

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