There weren’t many people who watched The Little Mermaid and thought, “wow, this entire situation could have been resolved if it weren’t for that huge plot hole!” It turns out that even the animators chose to overlook it. Did they spot it? Probably…but that didn’t stop them from ignoring it anyway.
Remember this scene? When Ariel signs away her voice with perfect handwriting? It meant that not only was she literate, she could write. And not in a strange language. In English. The same language that the prince spoke.
Mary Falls summed it up quite nicely on Facebook:
She could just scrawl out an explanation of her situation for Prince Eric like, “Hey Blue Eyes, I saved your life and then you fell in love with my voice, which I could probably get back if you just used your love to try to suck it out of my throat through my mouth here,” but like nicer and in princess language.”
When confronted with the plot hole, one Disney animator remembers a moment during the promotion of the film where animators were asked by a 10-year-old kid why Ariel didn’t just write him a letter.
Instead of answering, their response was simply to smile and say, “…next question.”
Well, at least they acknowledged it!