Elena of Avalor began its run on Disney Channel with some adventures that hinted at the character’s origin, but fans had to wait until November to actually see the story unfold. Now fans can bring home the TV movie event that explains where Elena came from on DVD with Elena and the Secret of Avalor. Best of all, this story is the connecting tissue between Sofia the First, aimed at preschoolers, and Elena of Avalor, which targets Disney Channel’s youngest elementary school audience.
In the 63-minute movie event, Elena goes on a hike with her best friend Naomi and decides to recount the tale of how she was freed from the Amulet of Avalor. Many years after the evil sorceress Shuriki imprisoned Elena in her own amulet, Sofia discovers the sorcerer Alakazar who tells Sofia about the lost princess and how she can free her. After convincing her family to go on a voyage to Avalor, Sofia needs the help of Alakazar’s grandson Mateo to free Elena. But after so many years trapped in the jewel, is Elena strong enough to defeat Shuriki once and for all?
In addition to the movie, there are two more episodes on this disc. In “Spellbound,” Elena promotes Mateo to the position of Royal Wizard, but after an enemy turns Elena’s family to stone, Mateo will have to prove that he has earned the title. In “Finders Leapers,” Naomi proves that she can take charge when she is assigned to lead an archeological dig, but she has her work cut out for her when someone releases the duendes.
The packaging almost attempts to disguise the fact that Sofia appears on this disc, likely an attempt to differentiate this from a Disney Junior release. But that character’s inclusion will appease Elena’s youngest fans while her core audience shouldn’t mind since this TV movie serves more as an introduction to Avalor and its characters and less as an extended episode of Sofia the First.
- Bonus Episode: “Prince Too Charming” (22:35) – I’m not sure why this wasn’t just included as part of the main feature, but the sixth episode of the series is relegated to the bonus features menu. However, the separation is barely noticeable when using Fast-Play. Elena encounters a lazy prince when on a mission to help a neighboring kingdom build a bridge.
- Bonus Episode: “Royal Retreat” (22:35) – Yet another episode, this one finds Elena listening to her heart when she meets a group of fellow rulers who let greed overpower their morality.
- Music Video: “My Time” (1:02) – Clips from the show play to this song from the series.
There is also a physical bonus, described as a “Flying Jaquin Mobile.” A cardboard instructions page provides information on how to assemble the mobile, which kids can punch out of plastic backing. It includes a themed hanger and string to suspend the mobile. Parents might need to help younger fans put it together.
Packaging & Design
Elena and the Secret of Avalor comes in a standard black DVD case. A holofoil embossed slipcover comes with the initial pressing. Inserts include a code for 75 points through Disney Movie Rewards, an ad for Disney Movie Club, and the Flying Jaquin Mobile, which is shrink-wrapped together.
This disc uses Disney’s Fast-Play feature, which allows parents to insert the disc and walk away without waiting for a menu to load. If you let it run its course, it plays ads for Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Moana before the movie and episodes. After the bonus features play, there are additional ads for Disney Movie Rewards, Disney's Be Inspired campaign inspired by Elena, and Disneynature Born in China.
While this is the second DVD release of Elena of Avalor, it sets the bar high for future releases. With four episodes in addition to the feature film, Elena and the Secret of Avalor offers over two hours of Avalor fun, plus a bonus music video and mobile craft activity. And all this for just $14.99!