Here's how Disney show 'Elena of Avalor' includes Latin American culture

'Elena' stars Aimee Carrero as a princess who is learning to rule her kingdom. Those behind the program say they looked to Latin culture when creating the world of Avalor.

“Elena of Avalor,” an upcoming Disney Channel TV show that takes its ideas for the world it depicts from various Hispanic and Latin customs, arrives on TV on July 22. 

Elena, a new character, is a young woman who helped defeat a malevolent enemy with magical powers and is now taking on the task of being in charge of Avalor. She is aided by her grandparents, among others. 

Aimee Carrero of the TV series “Blindspot” and “Young & Hungry” voices Elena, while Yvette Nicole Brown of “Community,” “Reno 911!” actor Carlos Alazraqui, and “Rick and Morty” actor Chris Parnell voice unusual creatures called jaquins. 

“Elena” creator Craig Gerber recently discussed how he and the others working on the show looked to Latin traditions when creating the world of Avalor. 

“It was very important to us that, since we were doing a show with a kingdom inspired by Latin American culture, that we get that right,” Mr. Gerber told USA Today. “Even though it’s a fairytale world, there are things that feel very authentic.” 

Details range from tile being used in the appearance of Avalor Palace to the inclusion of the jaquins, which appear to be a combination of a macaw and a jaguar, two creatures found in Latin America. 

The debut episode is already streaming on the Disney Channel app and executive director of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers Axel Caballero told the New York Times, “We were all very pleasantly surprised at how well the character was conceived. This is going to have a great impact.” 

Meanwhile, the upcoming Disney movie “Moana,” which stars Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson, is inspired by Polynesian culture and is set to come to theaters this November. It co-stars Alan Tudyk and Phillipa Soo of “Hamilton,” with “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda working on the music.

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