Elena of Avalor is the new fantasy series from Disney that centers around a Latina princess who is learning how to rule her kingdom.
The first episode, “First Day of Rule,” sees Elena in her first trial where she has to stop magical shape-shifting creatures called Noblins from stealing ships. These cheeky little creatures even kidnap Elena’s sister Isabel and handsome lieutenant Gabe. Through bravery and determination, Elena takes it upon herself to save the day. It’s an entertaining first episode that tells its audience exactly what to expect from the show. There’s action, adventure, music and fast-paced drama.
“Becoming a leader will be her greatest adventure” is the perfect tag line to set up this show. I love the idea of a princess learning to be a queen and to rule, rather than finding a prince or the right tiara to wear with her gown. Elena definitely has spirit, but not to the point of being obnoxious since her kindness shines through. She’s definitely the type of girl you’d want to be friends with, if only to ride one of those Jaquins.
Jaquins are magical flying creatures that look like a mix between a jaguar and macaw. Elena also has a floating blue transparent fox-like ‘spirit animal’ helping her that looks like something out of a Zelda video game. They’re bound to sell a lot of plush dolls of these guys. In fact, the Elena of Avalor line at the Disney Store looks so bright and colorful. I’m sure little girls will be begging their parents for the dress and the magical scepter, maybe even for a guitar since Elena loves to play and sing. The first song of the series “Ready to Rule” is a pretty good number too. Not instantly catchy but definitely worth rewinding to listen to again.
I have to give credit to the voice talent too. Aimee Carrero’s voice matches the vibrancy and optimism of Elena perfectly. Everyone from the Jaquins to the grandparents has genuine heart in their performance. There’s no annoying over-the-top caricature voices here. They even pepper the show with Spanish words giving it an authentic feel.
If I had to nitpick at this show it would actually be the clunky set up. Imagine sitting your child down to watch the first episode and instantly being bombarded with exposition that involves an evil sorceress that trapped Elena in a amulet for forty-one years. After convincing myself I must’ve missed an episode I did some research. This part of Elena’s story – her origin of sorts – is to be told in the Sofia the First television special Elena and the Secret of Avalor scheduled to premiere sometime in November 2016. This, I feel, should’ve been aired first to prevent the rushed prelude below:
All in all it’s not hard to see why children would love this show. The stories are even entertaining enough to keep parents interested. At the very least the bright colors will distract very small children. Disney have definitely got a hit on its hands. She may not be part of the official Disney Princess lineup, but she’s a great character and role model and Disney won’t want to waste an opportunity to show her off. She’s currently singing and dancing at Disney World in an induction ceremony:
Elena of Avalor already appears to be hit and has been renewed for a second season. Watch the new series Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on the Disney Channel.
What do you think of Elena of Avalor? Should she be made an official Disney Princess?
MJ is a writing and film graduate who loves to relax with scented candles and herbal teas. She is a dog-walker by day and a pie-maker by night. She loves movies starring Christopher Reeve and her favorite animated film is Meet the Robinsons. MJ also loves anything that LAIKA and Tim Burton come out with.