DVD Review: “Elena Of Avalor: Celebrations To Remember” Is Spunky And Educational

“I am not sure if the goal of 'Elena of Avalor' is to appeal to older girls, Hispanic girls, or to preschoolers, but seems to charm children with ease.”


 

Join Elena and her friends and family as they celebrate holidays that honor the past, cherish the present and look forward towards a magical future!

Elena is the new kid on the Disney block and one of the only princesses to go straight to a show instead of to the theater. The Hispanic princess manages to delight young children despite not living up to the standard of the other princesses Disney has turned out on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong, the show is enjoyable, but more on par with Barbie movies than with “Tangled” or “Frozen.” What to love about “Elena of Avalor” is a bit of culture education on the way Mexico celebrates various holidays, and a healthy balance of palace glamour and good old-fashioned, down-to-earth grandparents as role models.

The first episode celebrates The Day of the Dead, with a twist of course. An Abuela shows up seeking to help her grandchildren learn to cook so the family restaurant doesn’t shut down. If only she could find her cookbook. Elena and her sister Isabel are invited to multiple Navidad events by the townsfolk. With both of their parents deceased, the girls have to decide, on their own in episode two, how to pick a place to celebrate without hurting anyone’s feelings. Another episode is meant to follow the Carnival but never manages to get the young princesses to the party. A couple of troublemakers force Elena’s cousin to steal the family jewels, with a little bit of blackmail, to line their own pockets. Another celebration highlighted in the show is the Quinceañera (plus one) Elena throws for a non-royal friend who’s parents are out to sea.

This ninety-two-minute DVD also offers two bonus episodes. The first about the young princess Isabel attending classes at the local school. The local children are not as excited about learning or science as the smart little princess. She and her new classmates end up in trouble and Isabel’s brain saves the day. The final segment does not follow the theme of celebration like the other bonus episode. One of Elena’s best friends will be moving away because her mother has accepted a new job. Elena and her friends work together to keep her friend in Avalor.

All three of my children, ages six to twelve were glued to the screen. I personally was rather bored, and do not believe this show will appeal to anyone older than six-years-old but did like that my children learned about a country south of the border. The only other princess to go straight to a show is Sophia, who is definitely my favorite of the TV princesses. Sophia, beyond having a magical flying horse, was more age appropriate for the target audience and more enjoyable. I am not sure if the goal of “Elena of Avalor” is to appeal to older girls, Hispanic girls, or to preschoolers, but seems to charm children with ease.

Some magical element is missing from the short episodes, at least for adults, but the show is not annoying unlike most shows nowadays. No obnoxious voices to grate on my nerves and no questionable plots to sway my children to the stupid side. I will personally stick to classics like Ariel and Jasmine and let this movie play on the TV upstairs for my children but have no issues whatsoever with my children watching this feel-good cartoon.

Now available on Disney DVD

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