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I'm sorry for the vague title. My memory is likewise very vague.

This morning, I suddenly remembered a scene from an old Disney movie (I'm not 100% sure if it really was from Disney, but I'm very confident it was). I was a child at the time, so it has to be from before 2002.

In the scene, the female protagonist pleaded to a powerful character to save her boyfriend/love interest. I think it was her father, and they were under water (maybe in a vortex?).

Her father hated the boyfriend earlier, but now decided to help him. He kinda charged his staff/wand while putting on a very angry face and even crunching his teeth. The boyfriend was shown for a second, eyes and mouth opened wide in horror, as he expected the father to attack him. But instead, the father used his magic to lift the boyfriend up to safety.

I can't get King Triton of The Little Mermaid, his trident and Prince Eric out of my head. But I own a copy of the movie and fast-forwarded it and watched a few scenes, including the ending - I wasn't able to find that one. It has to be something else. I've also had a look at a list of all Disney movies, nothing else sounds familiar. There's also the sequel to The Little Mermaid and the TV series, but I'm sure I've seen neither.

I'm not sure if the characters were really the father and the boyfriend. But I do strongly remember the charging/funneling of the magic with a furious face, and the horrified look of the other character who was then actually saved by him.

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Have you seen Atlantis: The Lost Empire? It has similar things to what you describe. It is underwater, there is a female protagonist (Princess Kida) who has a outsider "boyfriend" Milo, and the father uses a staff. I don't remember if the King hated Milo at the beginning, but he comes to like him. Even giving Milo his crystal. – Matt Dec 18 '13 at 17:11
No, unfortunately that's not the movie. – user42179 Dec 18 '13 at 17:27

Funnily, this morning, I half-asleep suddenly remembered a few more details. After some time searching Google, YouTube and Wikipedia, I was finally able to find what I was looking for.

To my surprise, the scene is not from some other movie, but indeed from the Little Mermaid TV series. I got quite a few things wrong, like the boyfriend stuff or claiming the father hated him earlier.

It's from episode 8 of the second season, titled "Metal Fish" and first aired on November 6th, 1993. It's about the author of the original The Little Mermaid story, Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. In the episode, he's travelling under the sea in a fish-shaped submarine. I can't remember if he wanted to learn more about mermen, or simply find out if they actually exist. One of those. Probably the latter.

Anyway, his submarine gets damaged and water leaks in. Arielle, Sebastian and a few of his boy scout crabs patch the holes with mud. King Triton, though notably prejudiced against humans, reluctantly agrees to lift the submarine back up to the surface. The remainder of the scene happens just as I described in the question. Hans Christian returns to home safely, and starts to write a new story about his adventure called The Little Mermaid.

I was only able to find a Swedish dub of the episode on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2. The scene is in part 2 at 7:25.

In case the videos are not available anymore when someone reads this, here's also a GIF of the scene: enter image description here

Sorry for the quality, I tried to include the full scene but had to keep the file size below 2MB.

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