Jodi Benson talks Disney100: The Exhibition, The Little Mermaid

Jodi Benson.

Disney Legend Jodi Benson, who starred as Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid, was on hand for Disney100: The Exhibition‘s Chicago launch.

Benson was among a number of dignitaries–including Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse–on hand to celebrate the launch of Disney100: The Exhibition in Chicago. The exhibition includes some 250+ artifacts from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars throughout 14 interactive exhibits. There is something for everyone! Don’t plan on visiting on Tuesday because that’s the one day in which the exhibition is closed.

In addition to Chicago, fans can visit Disney100: The Exhibition in London. Previous stops included Philadelphia and Munich. The tour continues in Kansas City in May 2024 as the company continues the 100th anniversary celebrations.

It’s so nice to meet you. How are you doing?

Jodi Benson: Nice to meet you. I’m doing great today. How about you?

I am doing well, all things considered.

Jodi Benson: Good.

How does it feel to be in Chicago for the launch of Disney100: The Exhibition?

Jodi Benson: It’s incredible. We’re so excited. I’m thrilled that everyone’s going to be able to enjoy this exhibition because it’s truly breathtaking. It really is. It’ll be here from now through the spring so we hope everybody comes and enjoys it because it’s wonderful for all ages.

How does it feel to still be appreciated for a role that I’m sure had to be a dream come true?

Jodi Benson: It is a dream come true. I’m very thankful for it. I love my job and hard to believe that it’s been 37 years but I’m so grateful and I’m just having a blast. I’m excited that people can enjoy Ariel and enjoy our film. It’s just a piece of history for our company.

Is there a particular memory that stands out from when you were recording?

Jodi Benson: Yeah. I would say all of my session work is great memories, especially with Howard Ashman going through the song lyric by lyric. But our whole team is just amazing memories and I’m so grateful to have been able to work with each one of them. So yeah, every time in the studio was just perfect, really lovely to be able to create this character in this film.

Did you ever have a pinch me moment?

Jodi Benson: Yeah, I know. I think it’s all the time. I kind of feel that way because all of this wasn’t supposed to—really, I mean, it’s all just a big surprise because we weren’t really going to be announced who we were and were going to stay anonymous. Everything that’s happened since the premiere has been a wonderful surprise and they’re all pretty much pinch me moments for me.

It’s hard to believe that The Little Mermaid was one that started the Disney Renaissance, right

Jodi Benson: That’s right—started at all. All these beautiful films that we’ve had since 1989 are because of the foundation that our film laid and what that looks like to be able to start this second golden age of animation of what Walt originally designed.

How does it feel to be a Disney princess?

Jodi Benson: Oh, I love it. Yeah, we have a great, great group of people, such talented ladies, and thrilled to be part of the Princess Club.

What do you enjoy about going to the fan conventions?

Jodi Benson: I love getting to hear everyone’s stories as far as what the movie means to them, what the character means to them, and I think each person’s story about their core memory of what the film, where they were the first time they saw it. I love getting to hear those stories.

Yeah. I remember my brother screaming bloody murder. He was only a few years old at the time.

Jodi Benson: (Laughs) Yeah, so I do. I love getting to hear the fans hear their story and what this film means to them.

It’s such an honor to meet you.

Jodi Benson: Oh, thank you so much. You’re so kind.

You’re only the second Disney princess I’ve met in person and the third one that I’ve interacted with overall because I interviewed Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) last year.

Jodi Benson: Good. Oh, good, good. It was lovely to meet you. Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy the exhibit.

Me, too. I will be telling everyone about it.

Jodi Benson: Good. We appreciate that. Thank you so much.

Disney100: The Exhibition runs through Spring 2024 in Chicago.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.