From the moment that Prince Eric's ship emerged from the fog in the opening credits of The Little Mermaid in 1989 it was apparent that Disney had somehow, suddenly recaptured a "magic" that had been dormant for 30 years. In the tale of a headstrong young mermaid who yearns to "spend a day, warm on the sand", Ariel trades her voice to Ursula, the Sea Witch (classically voiced by Pat Carroll), for a pair of legs. Ariel can only succeed if she receives true love's kiss in a few day's time and she needs all the help she can from a singing crab named Sebastian, a loudmouth seagull and a flounder. The lyrics and music by song-writing team Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are top form: witty and relevant, and they advance the story (go on, hum a few bars of "Under the Sea"). Mermaid put animation back on the studio's "to do" list and was responsible for ushering 1991's Beauty and the Beast into cinemas.