This morning, visitors of to the Walt Disney World Resort got a lovely treat as Princess Elena of Avalor, from the new Disney Channel show by the same name, was welcomed as the newest princess to the Kingdom. The show was full of lots of fun and singing as well as some special guests. I, being a loyal Disney journalist (As well as an Elena fanboy) got up early to take a look and recap here. If you’d like to watch the whole show, jump to the bottom of this article.
The show was featured live on Youtube and Facebook and was MC’d by the lovely Tory Freeth and Jenna Ortega. Jenna of course plays the roll of Elena’s sister on the show and it was great to hear her talk about how much she loves playing this character who is smart and creative and likes to invent things, something which I have praised the show for in my past articles.
Before things got started, we saw a little Making of Featurette. While this whole affair was definitely put together for fans, I also think it did a great job of getting someone who hadn’t seen the show interested in watching it. The making of of allowed us to see some of the animation process and also see some of the recording process. I think this is also a great way to get parents interested in watching the show with their kids as it gave a brief overview of the intent of the show. They also spoke to wanting the show to feel like classic Disney but with a modern twist to it. Jenna made a great comment that she was happy to see the show had the first Latino Princess and that she thought it was really great for the Latino Community as a whole.
As the show was going, live Social Media was running at the bottom of the screen. I know a lot of live shows do this, but my favorite part was seeing how many people were tuning in from all over the world. So many folks were excited to be a part of this event and given that this show only has three episodes I think that is a great sign of what’s to come for this character.
We got a very quick interview in front of the castle with the Executive Producer and the Story Editor of the show who described the experience as a “Dream come true.” They talked about how the initial thought process behind the show was to make a story about a Princess who was a great role model to young girls AND BOYS. They wanted to create a Disney Fairy Tale world but with cultural authenticity behind it. To do this, they heavily researched Latin food, clothing and myths, so many of the myths in the show are based on actual myths. I think this was a pretty cool addition as it really showed the creators dedication to keeping with the Latin themes in all aspects of the show.
From here we got a sneak preview at the rest of the season which looks to be pretty action packed. The creators were kind enough to share that the Scepter has magical powers and that we would see a lot more of that before the end of the season.
After this, we finally got down to the show. A surly man in a fancy outfit came out to introduce us to the show at hand.
We then got our first glimpse of the Avalor Singers, who came out and performed the theme song from the show.
Jim MacPhee, SVP of Disney World, joined the stage to speak to the show and how excited they were to welcome the new Princess. One thing I appreciated was that, while not the best at the language, he spoke all of his lines in both English and Spanish. This is important because at the end of the day, Elena is going to have a huge Latin demographic of viewers. It would be heartbreaking to see those folks get the short end of the stick when it comes to the celebration of welcoming this princess.
After Jim, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Citrus, Maryann Berry, as well as the EVP of Original Programming at Disney Junior, Nancy Kanter, came to the stage.
Two big pieces came out of this presentation. First off, we now have confirmation that SEASON TWO IS HAPPENING! That is awesome because it not only shows a faith in the show from Disney, but also shows that Elena is doing well for the network, two things I am very happy about.
Secondly, the Elena of Avalor Scepter of Light Award was given to young Ashley Chico, a girl scout who created Project Code which helps to put learning resources into classrooms. Now not only are we celebrating diversity, but also young women who are becoming leaders in their community. Fantastic.
Finally the show really gets underway as Princess Cinderella and Prince Charming joined the stage to welcome the procession.
As the procession entered, I was happy to see that part of the parade was a group of girl scouts all holding Scepters. Look, say what you will about the Scouts here in the US, but at the end of the day, this all felt like a great way to honor young girls who are actively making the world a better place. I was thrilled to see this addition as it showed that Elena is more than just a pretty dress. She’s a leader and someone who inspires, just like these young girls.
Elena hits the stage and she was lovely. She sounds like the character from the show and once again I was happy to see her seamlessly speaking in both English and Spanish. In order to share her story with Cinderella, she actually sang a song from the show that we haven’t seen yet called My Time. She kind of, sort of, played guitar live as she sang and her performance did not disappoint. I saw one comment which was excited to see that she is actually Hispanic, and I think that’s a good point to be made.
Beginning tomorrow, the show will be going on several times at the Magic Kingdom so you can be sure to catch it. Just remember that it will have a limited run. Overall, I am so happy to see that Disney is not only embracing the heritage of this character but also all the other aspects that make her special. From leadership to loving her family to being intelligent, all of these things felt celebrated. I think from the outside looking in it might be easy to say, Oh, this character is only here for the Diversity factor. First of all, THAT’S A GOOD THING!!! Secondly, this show proved that she has quite a few amazing traits to bring to the Disney household. I am now looking forward even more to the rest of this season.
To watch the full presentation, check out the video below and let me know if you are on the Elena bandwagon with me yet!