The 'Disney Vault' is a term formerly used by Disney for putting its films and home video releases of Walt Disney Animation Studio’s animated films aside for a while in between releases. There was never actually a “vault” but that just referred to the time between the re-releases that Disneyt would do every seven or so years.
Under this policy, each Disney film is available for purchase for a period of time. After that, it is "put in the vault" and unavailable in stores for seven years until it is re-released.
Just because a movie is considered to be “in the vault” doesn’t mean that it is no longer available for purchase. It simply means you can only buy the older release of the movie. There are still many stores that have movies left over from the previous release that you can purchase the movie from even if it is “in the vault”
For example we currently have all three of the Little Mermaid movies in stock and available for sale for $32.99. Those movies can be found by clicking here.
Disney movies typically stay in the vault for 5-7 years so, if you're trying to find out the next time a Disney movie will be released, try to find out the last time it was released and then just do the math. For example the last time The Little Mermaid was released in the United States was in 2013 on Diamond Edition. Following the 5-7 years’ policy, The Little Mermaid should have been rereleased between 2018 and 2020.
In 2019, The Little Mermaid was once more released from the vault and was the latest classic to be released in the Walt Disney Signature Collection. 2019 was also the year in which the film celebrated its 30th anniversary, and the release of the special edition marked the first time a 4K Ultra HD version of the film would be released and it would come with more than 45 minutes of new extras added to it.
The DVD was produced with several extra video clips including a sing-along among the cast and extras. It also included an unprecedented bonus feature with legendary composer Alan Menken alongside some of Disney's most renowned leading ladies all playing a piano together, while they sang and celebrated The Little Mermaid.
What's more? The latest installment of "Stories from Walt's Office," which compares the love of Walt and Ariel for collecting treasures, will be included. Plus, The Little Mermaid came with a new inside look of the cast, including their original recording sessions. You also get a chance to explore fun facts about the film as well as hidden treasures.
You can be a part of a special performance of 'Part of Your World' by the Capella singing sensation, DCappella. You will also have access to hours upon hours of classic bonus features from the releases that came before.
Being the seventh title to be included in the Walt Disney Signature Collection, The Little Mermaid comes with fascinating films inspired and created by the legacy of Walt Disney. It features timeless characters and stories that have impacted generations. The film takes a position as one of the most watched Disney stories alongside other Disney titles like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Snow White, and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Pinocchio, Lady, and the Tramp.
What is The Little Mermaid about?
It's the story of a mermaid who lives underwater with her widowed father, and five older sisters. For some reason Ariel (the Little Mermaid) has a love for the land and the people on it and is always collecting random things that she finds in the ocean.
There comes a time when she sees a birthday party happening on a ship in honor of a handsome prince. She falls in love with him, and when the ship sinks after a violent storm, she saves him from drowning and waits with him on the shore until he is found. Surprisingly, the Prince doesn't see her or even know that she saved him. This makes her very sad and fuels a desire in her to become a human being.
She meets a witch who helps her become a human being in exchange for her voice. She will get her voice back if she can get the Prince to fall in love with her and kiss her. If she is not able to get the Prince to fall in love and kiss her then she will forever be doomed to be a soul in Ursela’s garden.
She agrees, and when the Prince finds her on the surface near his palace, he's enchanted by her even though she doesn't talk. Ariel begins to succeed in winning over the Prince so Ursula takes Ariel’s voice and uses it to convince Prince Eric that she is the one that saved him and not Ariel.
Before Ursula can marry the disguised witch the time on Ariel's contract runs out and rather than seeing his daughter lost for all eternity King Triton gives Ursula his trident in exchange. This of course makes Ursula go mad with power and think that she has won until Price Eric uses a boat to run her through and end her short reign of terror.
The movie ends with Prince Eric and Ariel getting married and Ariel enjoying the life she has always wanted… on shore.
Disney Plus’ effect on the vault
On November 12, 2019, Disney launched its own streaming service called Disney Plus, which includes the large majority of the entire Disney movie library. The existence of this streaming service has rendered the Disney Vault less of a vault and more of different release dates for the physical copies since many movies, the Little Mermaid included, are available to stream via Disney Plus all of the time.
What Disney Plus means for the Disney Vault is still unknown as Disney hasn’t said if they will continue to rerelease movies onto DVD and Blu-ray in the future or if they will just always have them available on DVD and Blu-ray like they are always available to stream.
The Little Mermaid was most recently released from the vault in 2019 but it is currently available to stream on Disney Plus or available for purchase on our website by clicking here.
Whether Disney will continue to put the physical movies in and out of the vault is anyone’s guess but if they do and you can’t wait for the next release there are many places to buy physical copies of the movies online from the previous release as well as the ability to stream it on Disney Plus.