Ursula is a very dark and sinister villain. Aside from this, she has a large sense of humor. Ursula is very manipulative and has a talent of making great sense and making persuasive points when trying to strike a deal. Unlike many Disney Villains, most of whom care very little for their followers, Ursula puts her henchmen Flotsam and Jetsam before anything and everyone else. Ursula treats the eels like children and refers to them as "babies" or "poopsies". When the eels are killed accidentally by Ursula because of Ariel, she mourns and takes all of her anger and sadness out on Ariel and attempts to kill her once and for all. She is known to fill the heads of merpeople with deceptions; she feeds Ariel with the lie that men on the surface like silence in women, when in fact Prince Eric loved Ariel's voice. Despite using contracts to get her way, Ursula has little regard for following her end of the bargain. This is demonstrated when after Triton signed away his freedom for Ariel's safety, Ursula claims she'd have no qualms killing Ariel, despite being implied to have promised to not harm Ariel as a condition of the contract, and gleefully tries to in the final battle. This is possibly due to Ariel being the cause of Flotsam and Jetsam's deaths. However for a villain she expects standards in her home saying to Ariel, "We mustn't lurk in doorways. It's rude."
Ursula's magical abilities, even without the Trident, were very potent. She was able to concoct various potions to create various spells, including mass-transfer (implied during the song "Poor Unfortunate Souls") as well as physically altering people's bodies, as evidenced by her transforming Ariel into a human, as well as her own transformation into Vanessa and Arsulu (although in the case of Vanessa, it was implied to be the result of her nautilus). However, in both instances that she utilized it on herself, she was incapable of altering her reflection, which is eventually how her enemies got the drop on her. She, also in her Vanessa form, managed to put Prince Eric into some kind of trance. She was also, capable of creating poisonous ink clouds which could absorb the energy of the Trident, and enhancing Ursula's power. Her most dangerous ability, however, was her ability to turn people into polyps should they fail to fulfill their end of the bargain via contracts, having done so multiple times under unspecified circumstances, nearly did so with Ariel, and successfully did so with Triton. It's also implied that she absorbs their souls while transforming them into polyps, making herself more powerful in the process. Likewise, once the contract is made, it is indestructible even to someone as powerful as Triton. Presumably, this arcane power is one-way, as she does not end up becoming a polyp for failing to fulfill her end of the contract. In fact, the only way to completely stop a contract short of fulfilling it is via her death, as evidenced by the aftermath of her death at the hands of Prince Eric. When Ursula gains control of the Trident, her powers soar to new heights gaining the power to fire powerful energy beams and turns herself into a giant and summon powerful storms.
The Little Mermaid (Book)
Ursula wasn't even named in the fairy tale, being just called "the Sea Witch". It must be noted that in the original fairy tale, the Sea Witch is unpleasant but not villainous. She gives warnings to the Mermaid and at her sisters' request, she provides her with a mean of saving her life. The sisters even offer her their hair as a payment but she turns them down. She wasn't described in any way, but the story is nearly the same: the mermaid falls in love with a human, so she disregards everyone's warnings and goes to the Sea Witch. The Sea Witch gave her three days to make the human fall in love with her, or she will turn into sea foam. The mermaid, in the story, actually doesn't manage to capture the human's heart (because she was a mermaid, and he was a human), and at the end of the story, the mermaid turns into sea foam.
The Little Mermaid
When Ursula first appears in the film, she states that she once lived in Atlantica and was made queen by her brother, King Triton. However she was banished along with her younger sister, Morgana, because of their cruel ways and Athena was made Queen. She made her home in the remains of a leviathan, where she waited for the chance to get her revenge on Triton and become Queen of Atlantica again. The entrance to Ursula's home is lined with a garden of merfolk who had been previously gone to Ursula for help, but found themselves unable to their side of the bargain, leading Ursula to claim them as her own and added them to her collection. Ursula loves destroying merpeople's happiness and love. Ursula commands Flotsam and Jetsam, to watch Triton's youngest daughter Ariel, who might be "the key to Triton's undoing". Opportunity arises when Ursula learns that Ariel has fallen in love with a human, against Triton's explicit rules. Flotsam and Jetsam lure Ariel to Ursula's lair, claiming that only Ursula can help her. Ursula sings "Poor Unfortunate Souls", an agreement where Ursula will transform Ariel into a human, and she has three days to get the "Kiss of True Love" from Eric. If Ariel fails, she will be turned back into a mermaid and become part of her garden. The price for the transformation is Ariel's voice. Ariel agrees and signs a magical contract, so her voice is magically pulled into Vanessa's necklace, and her tail is split into legs.
When Ariel comes "too close" to succeeding in her task, Ursula decides "to take matters into her own tentacles" and takes the form of a very beautiful human female with Ariel's voice in order to sabotage her relationship with Eric. Ursula adopts the name of "Vanessa". Ursula as Vanessa bewitches Eric to marry her, but blows her cover when she sings about her plan in her room on the wedding ship, Scuttle hears this song and disrupts the wedding by having birds go under Vanessa's dress, throw water at her, lobsters and starfish attacking her, seals bouncing her into the wedding cake, dolphins spitting water at her, and Scuttle squawking in her face. Max, Eric's dog, bites her on her butt and the Necklace containing Ariel's voice is broken, breaking the enchantment and returning Ariel's voice back.However, the sun sets before Ariel and Eric can kiss. Ariel was transformed back into a mermaid and Ursula drags her back into the sea. Ursula forces Triton to choose between his freedom and his daughter's. Triton agrees to take Ariel's place, and Ursula takes the crown and magical trident, thus making her the Queen of the Seven Seas. She then withers King Triton into a polyp. Enraged, Ariel attacks Ursula, only to be thrown aside. Ursula then aims her trident at the princess and prepares to destroy her, claiming she'd blast her with or without a contract. Before the killing bolt can be fired, Eric throws a harpoon at Ursula. It hits her arm and the new sea queen orders Flotsam and Jetsam to capture him. The eels succeed, but Sebastian and Flounder stop them. Ursula also holds Ariel back with one of her tentacles, not wanting to let her royal prey go. Ursula gleefully aims the trident at him. A quick move by Ariel manages to make Ursula accidentally kill her own eels which she mourns "My poor little poopsies" and quickly gets angry with Ariel and Eric swimming to the surface. A battle follows, during which Ursula wants to finish what she started and kill Ariel. She grows into a giant and creates a storm which separates the royal lovers. With Ariel alone, Ursula creates a whirlpool, to trap and destroy her in. The Sea Queen imprisons the princess in the bottom of the whirlpool. Ariel looks up from her whirlpool prison and realizes the danger she's in. Ursula was going to kill her! Ursula, smiling wickedly at the princess, shoots multiple fatal blasts at Ariel, hoping one will destroy her. Ariel just barely manages to avoid her own death each time.Ursula laughs, enjoying the game, and raises the trident. She prepares a blast that will not only be unavoidable for the princess but would be totally lethal. Ariel gapes in terror, knowing she's facing her certain doom. Just when Ursula is about to destroy Ariel for all time, Eric drives a ship’s mast into her gut, ultimately defeating her and saving Ariel's life. Ursula screams and electrical shocks surround her body as she dies and her body remains sink to the bottom of the ocean. When Ursula is destroyed, all the merfolk that had been under her power, including Triton, are released from their bond and was never seen again.
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
Ursula doesn't appear in this direct-to-DVD film, but she is mentioned various times, mostly by her sister Morgana, also a Cecelia. She is seen as a picture in Morgana's lair. This picture sinks with Morgana when she is frozen in a block of ice by King Triton at the end of the movie.
Reflections of Ursula
Although Vanessa herself doesn't appear in the short story Disney's The Little Mermaid: Reflection of Ursula, she is subtly referenced with Ursula's disguise of Arsulu, a blond mermaid with a red tail and magenta shells which she adopted to infiltrate Atlantica. Just like Vanessa, mirror reflections reveal "Arsulu's" true identity as Ursula, which Ariel later exploited.
Ursula is first mentioned in the saga in the third book when a cast member says Tigger was spying on her. In the fifth book, she appears at Typhoon Lagoon when King Triton is talking with Finn. She has power of the water and even creates a whirlpool where Finn almost drowns. She also appears on the cover of Kingdom Keepers V: Shell Game.
Along with other toons, Urusla had her essence drained by Mizrabel and into wasteland. When Mickey found her and explained it was Mizrabel's fault for this second "banishment", Ursula demanded to know where the witch was to prove there was only room for her. As Mickey didn't know, she was directed to the fortress to scheme against Mizrabel. She asks for a cauldron in exchange for not harming any of the other toons Mickey saved; she keeps her end of the bargain.
Ursula was one of Maleficent's followers, and assisted by lending the powers of the ocean. With Ursula's help, the Heartless entered Atlantica. Ursula tricked Princess Ariel into helping her steal the Trident from King Triton so that she could see other worlds. Ursula didn't keep her end of the deal - she did threaten Ariel to enter into the dark world of the Heartless, giving herself into darkness in the progress, but failed when Sora and company came to King Triton's palace. She disappeared in ink with the Trident in her possession. Ariel joined Sora, Donald, and Goofy to confront her in her lair to get the Trident back. Once they arrived, she, Flotsam and Jetsam battled them. In the end, Flotsam and Jetsam were defeated, and Ursula swore revenge. She disappeared once again, and Sora and friends found Ursula in a large, scary, empty trench. She used the power of the trident and darkness to become a giant, Sora and friends battled her once again. She wielded powerful Thunder magic. However, Ariel, Sora and friends defeated her and she vanished into darkness.
Ursula makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a figment of Sora's memories. Ursula told Ariel that she could help her find her missing friend Flounder with the trident. Ariel agreed, but wasn't sure if what she was doing was right. She told Ursula she needed more time to think about it. Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrived and told Ariel not to trust Ursula, but they'd go with her if it's the only way to get Flounder back. Once they arrived in Ursula's lair, Ariel asked her to get Flounder back first. It was revealed that Ursula kidnapped Flounder to obtain the trident. She would not let Flounder go, unless Ariel gave up the trident. Ariel handed it over to her, and Ursula remembered that Ariel also wanted to see other worlds, but it would unfortunately be "a one way trip". She used the trident to become a giant, just as she did in the first game. Sora and friends battled her and won.
Ursula also appeared in Riku's story (Reverse/Rebirth), as a figment of his memory and a representation of the darkness within him.
Revived by the powers of darkness, Ursula returned in Kingdom Hearts II without the Heartless and Maleficent on her side. She told Ariel that she could help her be with Prince Eric, by turning Ariel herself into a human (a spell that only lasted for three days). Ariel agreed, and signed a contract with Ursula which stated that: if Ariel was able to kiss Eric before the sunset of the third day, then she could stay human forever, but, if she didn't obtain a kiss, she would turn back into a mermaid and belong to Ursula. After Ariel signed the contract, Ursula took Ariel's voice (the price for Ursula's spell) and turned the princess into a human girl.
After three days had passed and Ariel still hadn't obtained a kiss, Ursula turned herself into a human girl (Vanessa) and used Ariel's voice to hypnotize Eric, taking him away from Ariel. Sora and the others saw through Ursula's disguise and broke the amulet in which Ariel's voice was being kept, thus releasing Eric from her grip and returning Ariel's voice. But it was too late, the sun had set and Ursula dragged Ariel into the sea with her. King Triton tried to stop Ursula, but not even he could break the contract, so King Triton signed over Ariel's name and took her place. This allowed Ursula to have possession over the Trident once again, and she used its power to become gigantic one more time. With the trident, Ursula turned King Triton into a lowly sea creature.
After a battle, Sora knocked the Trident off Ursula's hand and it landed on the boat which Prince Eric was on. He then threw it at Ursula and the Trident went through her chest in a beam of light, defeating her once more. The battle against Ursula in Kingdom Hearts II is a staged performance in song.
She is the first boss in the game. After Sora and Riku head out on their raft from the Destiny Islands to begin their Mark of Mastery exam, an apparition of Ursula rises out of the ocean in her giant form following the sudden strike of a storm, shocking both Keyblade wielders. She reveals that she was sent by someone who knew where Sora and Riku were, then destroys their raft and begins attacking them with her tentacles and magic. When Ursula is defeated, her destruction causes a whirlpool to drag Sora and Riku underwater and towards the Keyhole to Destiny Islands and the entrance to the Sleeping Worlds.
Ursula serves as one of the Fantasyland villains for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, where Hades revives her from her death and recruits her to steal the Fantasyland piece of the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom, though like Maleficent, she plots to double cross him and take the piece for herself. Once the piece is in her possessions, Ursula plots to flood the Magic Kingdom so that she may dominate the park along with the rest of the seas. Likewise, in a similar manner to her transforming into Vanessa, she also disguises herself as Ariel in order to deceive the guests into aiding her in her goal. Ursula returned at the final battle with Hades. In the end, the park guests were able to defeat Ursula and the other villains by trapping them in the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom.
- Ursula was modeled after the late drag queen Divine, possibly being the only character to be modeled after someone of the opposite sex.
- Ursula is the only main antagonist of an original film whose voice artist (that being Pat Carroll) voiced a sequel's main antagonist, that being Morgana.
- The Nostalgia Critic placed Ursula Number 6 in his Top 11 Disney Villains list, and her song "Poor Unfortunate Souls" Number 5 in his Top 11 Villain Songs list. His female counterpart, the Nostalgia Chick placed her Number 4 in her Top 11 Nostalgic female antagonist list.
- She is considered to be evil vs evil-type villain due to her violent relationship with her younger sister Morgana.