Someone asked me recently who my favorite Disney prince was. It's not that hard, most of them have no personality;) I was a little tied between the Beast and Eric, but then I thought of (and dramatically reenacted) my favorite Disney moment of all time and I knew Eric was the right choice.
The above quote is probably some of the most honest and loving advice a Disney prince ever gets. Most Disney princes/princesses have seemingly no connections, or very unreliable role models/parental support. The aptly named Grimsby however, gives this advice to Eric in a tender moment one night on the beach as Eric is weighed down with the decisions he has to make.
It's a decision that I suppose everyone has to make, "Do I wait for what I dreamed of and wanted, or do I accept a real love that is right in front of me, awesome but not perfect, and good for me?" I think the beautiful irony is that Ariel is in fact his dream girl, the very exact same one who rescued him. It's just he wasn't able to recognize that in the context of the imperfection of real life (ie, she's lost her voice, is a little awkward on two legs). He doesn't recognize his "dream girl" when he sees her because of how she is in his head. (I mean, even Max can figure it out...)
After Eric's brief interlude with Grimsby, he glances up and sees Ariel on the balcony. They have a cute/awkward moment, and Eric smiles.
I think this is the moment he realizes that he really does care about this girl. Then he does it. My favorite Disney princess movie moment of all time. He looks down at his flute, pauses for a second, then throws it into the sea and starts to walk back into the palace.
What if he hadn't? What if he'd kept playing his flute? Married Ursula? Or worse- married Ariel only for what she was to him, a fulfilled dream, not for who she was. How would Ariel feel, knowing he wouldn't have chosen her for her if she hadn't fit the criteria of his dream. That's not a relationship, because he's not relating to her. As he gets to know her, they form a relationship, and he is given the choice: hold out and seek someone to fulfill his own dream, or relate to, care for and protect someone who will do the same for him. And I think he made the right choice.:)