Elena of Avalor
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Spunky Latina princess is an excellent role model.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Although a country is never specified, the show exposes viewers to various Latin cultural markers including music (banda, contrapunteo, etc.), dance (merengue, flamenco, etc.), architecture, and some Spanish language.
Elena's journey from princess to queen involves many mistakes, but she always turns them into learning opportunities and shows a willingness to heed the advice of those who have more knowledge and experience. Excellent messages about integrity, making positive decisions, working together, respecting elders, friendship, and finding your path in life.
Positive Role Models
Excellent all around. Elena is a typical teen, driven by a sincere desire to succeed but often getting ahead of her own abilities and knowledge. Even so, she learns from every experience and surrounds herself with people who can help her do the best job. Her family is a source of strength for her, and her grandparents and sister are invaluable resources when she needs guidance.
After Disney's first botched attempt at a Latina princess, Elena Castillo Flores and the Latin-inspired world of Avalor feel polished in comparison. The world of Avalor simplifies several cultures into a Latinidad pastiche, which could easily have felt careless in its execution. (The decision to sprinkle post-colonial Spanish throughout the series lands strangely, for example, given the show's mostly pre-colonial setting.) Thankfully, the writers were intentional in their research, and all references are rooted in reality. But for all its groundbreaking celebration of Latin culture, which shouldn't be discounted, Elena of Avalor takes shortcuts in other areas: Afro-Latinos are absent, and portrayals such as the Japanese-inspired Satu or Jewish kingdom of Galonia blur the line between "simplistic" and "stereotypical." And while the show does center confident women and female relationships, other aspects of diversity -- disability, sexuality, body size, skin color, etc. -- are missing.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
A brief scene shows Elena's parents zapped by a sorceress, and it's implied that they die. Sword fights, some skirmishes, and other magical exchanges, but no serious injuries.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
As with most Disney productions, this series inspires a merchandise line marketed toward kids.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Elena of Avalor features Disney's first Latina princess and incorporates many aspects of different Latin traditions and Indigenous folklore, showcasing them through music, dance, and some Spanish language. But the cultural vagueness -- and absence of darker-skinned Latinos -- leaves ample room for Disney to continue expanding on its roster of Latin characters. As it stands, Elena is an excellent role model -- imperfect and impulsive but eager, determined, and kind. A few scenes of sorcery might be scary for very little kids, and one results in the presumed death of two characters (though it's not shown and only alluded to). Expect positive messages about friendship, family relationships, and respecting other people's experience and knowledge, as well as honesty, fairness, and empathy. This funny, heartwarming series is a worthy addition to the Disney princess collection.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Elena of Avalor
Based on 12 parent reviews
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
ELENA OF AVALOR centers on 16-year-old Elena (voiced by Aimee Carrero), a princess who recently saved her kingdom from the clutches of an evil sorceress after having been frozen in time in a magical amulet for decades. Now that she's old enough to take her rightful place as queen of Avalor, Elena feels ready for the job ... until she realizes just how difficult it is to rule a kingdom. Heeding some great advice, Elena calls on her wise and kindly grandparents, a seasoned chancellor named Esteban (Christian Lanz), and her level-headed new friend Naomi (Jillian Rose Reed) to counsel her as she takes the reins of her beloved home. And lest she still need a helping hand, she can lean on her clever younger sister, Isabel (Jenna Ortega); her friend Mateo (Joseph Haro); her spirit animal, Zuzo (Keith Ferguson); and the talking, flying jaquins who are regulars at the castle.
ELENA OF AVALOR centers on 16-year-old Elena (voiced by Aimee Carrero), a princess who recently saved her kingdom from the clutches of an evil sorceress after having been frozen in time in a magical amulet for decades. Now that she's old enough to take her rightful place as queen of Avalor, Elena feels ready for the job ... until she realizes just how difficult it is to rule a kingdom. Heeding some great advice, Elena calls on her wise and kindly grandparents, a seasoned chancellor named Esteban (Christian Lanz), and her level-headed new friend Naomi (Jillian Rose Reed) to counsel her as she takes the reins of her beloved home. And lest she still need a helping hand, she can lean on her clever younger sister, Isabel (Jenna Ortega); her friend Mateo (Joseph Haro); her "spirit animal" Zuzo (Keith Ferguson); and the talking, flying jaquins who are regulars at the castle.
Is It Any Good?
This Disney princess proves that when it comes to spunky royal teens with surprises up their sleeves, there's always room for one more. Elena's eagerness, enthusiasm, integrity, and determination make her a welcome addition to the existing consort, and she has an independent streak that's quite appealing. She's not one to shy away from a fight or an adventure, but despite the fact that she takes pride in embracing her destiny under her own power, she reaches out for help from others when she needs it. From a parent's standpoint, she's the total package when it comes to a role model, especially for girls.
But Elena of Avalor is so much more than its titular character alone. It's a real gem of an ensemble cast, from the inviting presence of Elena's abuela to the wisecracking trio of magical jaquins who are always afoot. Friendship and fun abound in Elena's adventures, and the show's spectacular incorporation of Latin influences through music, language, and scenery is a welcome change in kids' programming as well.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what makes Elena of Avalor a good role model. Does she always make the right decisions on the first try? How does making mistakes help her learn? What qualities do your kids look for in role models? Who are some of theirs?
In what ways is Latin heritage represented in this series? Can you pinpoint specific references, such as Mexican mariachi music or the Spanish colonial architecture of Avalor Palace?
Elena faces many challenges in assuming her role as queen. How does she demonstrate a willingness to learn from others? Why is it important to respect the knowledge and experience other people have?
How do the characters in Elena of Avalor demonstrate integrity? Why is this an important character strength?
- Premiere date: July 22, 2016
- Cast: Aimee Carrero, Keith Ferguson, Jenny Ortega
- Network: Disney Junior
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Integrity
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Disney Movies
Positive Role Model TV for Girls
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate