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Disney’s Elena of Avalor Interviews and Preview: Part One
Our friends at the Disney Channel invited me to see an early viewing of their new show, Elena of Avalor, last week. Our family adores the Disney Channel’s Sofia the First, so this was a special treat to be one of the first to see the new spin off show.
Elena of Avalor is a beautiful new coming of age adventure steeped heavily in Latin story and culture. Set in her homeland of Avalor, the tale blends myth, music, and heritage. Much happens to the sixteen-year-old princesses in this first episode (“First Day of Rule”). Elena’s challenges include coping with time travel, saving her little sister Isabel, and standing up to her grandparents. Posed on the edge of leadership, Elena, who is anxious to prove herself, is finding that wisdom, compassion, and bravery are needed to make decisions.
With some magical friends by her side—Mateo, a wizard-in-training, and Skylar, a magical flying creature—Princess Elena’s further adventures will lead her to understand that her new role requires thoughtfulness, resilience, and compassion, the traits of all truly great leaders.
The role of 16-year-old Princess Elena, the bold, caring, funny, and clever ascendant to the throne in the fairy tale kingdom of Avalor, will be voiced by Aimee Carrero (ABC Family’s “Young & Hungry”).
I had the pleasure to sit down with Aimee Carreo, who is the voice of the new Disney show Elena of Avalor. We talk about strong girl characters and she answers some questions from my five-year-old.
My daughter Ella wanted to know “how Elena can run in such a big pretty dress.” Aimee laughed and admitted there was help from the animators. She also gave speculation that the fabric was probably “very sensible” and dried quickly. It would be comfortable and easy to move in. Ella has asked me three times this week if she could get that Elena dress.
The next question from Ella was, “How does Elena save the world?” Aimee explained that Elena starts by saving herself and her kingdom. Living happily with her family in the story’s beginning, Elena bravely stood against an evil sorceress. Elena was defeated and trapped in an amulet for 40 years. When she does escape, she needs to travel back in time to Avalor save her family and, by extension, her kingdom.
Asking Aimee to sum up the character of Elena in one word, she took a thoughtful pause. Aimee then describes Elena a “Hero” and goes on to add, “but I will tell you why.” She explained that “Elena is a hero to herself and that a hero doesn’t always mean you are always successful but you always try.” She shared that Elena is not only a strong Latina, a woman of color, but she is growing into a leader and is not afraid to take those huge steps. I chimed in with how important strong female characters are to GeekMoms who are raising girls.
Aimee is such a confident delight to speak with. In conclusion, I welcome her and Elena to the strong girl Disney community that includes Rey in The Force Awakens, Elsa and Anna, and Sofia the First. The show already has fans and girls like Ella who want to save the world in her beautiful dress. With all the great buzz in the Disney community secured, Aimee and Elena are both well on their way to Disney adventuring princess fame.
Next post I will include my sit down interview with the shows creators, Craig Gerber and Silvia Cardenas Olivas.
The official press release:
As with all Disney Junior programming, Elena of Avalor stories will be guided by an established curriculum that nurtures multiple areas of child development: physical, emotional, social, and cognitive; thinking and creative skills; as well as moral and ethical development. Created for kids age 2-7 and their families, the stories are designed to communicate positive messages and life lessons that are applicable to young children about leadership, resilience, diversity, compassion, and the importance of family and family traditions.
The series will be presented in 25 languages on Disney Junior channels and daily programming blocks for kids age 2-7 on Disney Channels, among other platforms, in 154 countries around the world. On television alone, its estimated daily reach will be over 207 million households.
Princess Elena’s journey began long ago when her parents and kingdom were taken from her by the evil sorceress, Shuriki. Elena bravely faced the sorceress to protect her little sister, Princess Isabel, and grandparents but in the process, her magical amulet pulled her inside its enchanted jewel, saving her life but imprisoning her at the same time. Decades later, Princess Sofia of Enchancia discovers the truth about the amulet she has worn since joining her royal family and sets out to restore Elena to her human form and help her return to the kingdom of Avalor.
While Elena is the rightful heir to the throne, she is only age 16 so she will rule Avalor with the help of a Grand Council comprised of her Grandfather Tito, Grandmother Cici, and Royal Advisor, Duke Esteban.
The series is a spin-off of Sofia the First, which has delivered the two highest-rated telecasts in cable TV history among Kids 2-5 and Girls 2-5, and the #2 preschooler cable TV telecast ever in Total Viewers, Adults 18-40, and Women 18-49.
Disney Junior reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical, and heartfelt stories and characters while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior’s series blend Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. In the U.S., Disney Junior is a daily programming block on Disney Channel and a 24-hour channel. There are 34 Disney Junior channels in 25 languages around the world.