As Ariel and Moana are from different series, they have never met in canon. While the film Ralph Breaks the Internet has online versions of the two known as "netizens", where they are two of the Disney Princesses from the website, Oh My Disney. In the film after Moana summons the Ocean from a fountain, Ariel dives into it and swims upward to create a spiral with the water, and after Ariel emerges from it she lands on Jasmine's magic carpet.
Ariel and Moana both have fathers who are the leaders of their people and who want to keep their daughters safe, as they fear the dangers of the places that lie beyond the safety of their borders. Both girls also have dreams that involve going beyond their homes and into the outside world, and feel drawn to the places that they are never allowed to go near. Because of their watery connections to the sea, as it is where Ariel is originally from while Moana feels drawn to the ocean and is friends with it, they are seen as Disney princesses of the ocean. Since both of their stories have a talking, singing carb in them, while Ariel's is an ally and friend Moana's is a villain. Along Moana wearing a shell necklace that was original her grandmother's so she could keep the Heart of Te Fiti safe on her journey, while Ariel's father gave her baby daughter a magical shell necklace locket as a gift so apart of the sea would always be with her.
Their other common link and trait is that they both get along well with animals, as one of Moana's best friends is a pig named Pua and a chicken named Heihei. While Ariel being a mermaid has an ability of understand the ocean's fish inhabitants and even seagulls, but can't understand dogs even though she and Max get along. Ariel's seagull friend, Scuttle, helps Ariel to win Eric's hearts, while Heihei joins Moana on her journey with Maui.
In the Little Mermaid TV series, Ariel encounters many monster-like creatures and giants. Moana had also faced such creatures, both giant and close to her own size, when she follows Maui into the Realm of Monsters. The two have also came across places the houses treasure, that is guarded by someone who doesn't like to share.
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A small group of fans are believed to have started the ship some time before Moana was released, and the popularity of the ship continued to grow after. A few fan works of the ship have Moana meeting Ariel through a "watery wall", or has the ocean bringing the two together. The ship sometimes has them in the modern, casual style clothes that the netizen versions of them wear in Ralph Breaks the Internet.
On AO3, the ship has over 25 fanfics, as well as having a reasonable size fanbase on both DeviantArt and Tumblr. A few fan-made work sometimes features both of them as mermaids. A commonly used trait in Ariel ships. As well as having Ariel in her human form beside Moana. Many of the ship's fanart commonly has a water or seaside related backgrounds and settings, since they both hold a connection to water in their own ways and have had spent time on beaches. One YouTuber had merged the "Where You Are" and "Under the Sea" songs together for a Disney Mashup music video, since both songs are of people trying to get Moana and Ariel to stay where they belong and should remain.
- The Disney Princess group photo taking with Vanellope, in on of the later trailers of Ralph Breaks the Internet, has netizen Ariel and Moana standing side by side each other.
- Moana's voice actress, Auli'i Cravalho, portrays Ariel in The Little Mermaid Live.
- They are two of the limit time characters in Disney Magic Kingdoms.
Ralph Breaks the Internet