Disney introduces Elena, its first Latina princess

Disney announced Thursday that its newest princess will be Elena of Avalor, a 16-year-old character inspired by "diverse Latin cultures and folklore."

Disney announced Thursday that its newest princess will be Elena of Avalor, a 16-year-old character inspired by “diverse Latin cultures and folklore.”

Disney announced Thursday that its newest princess will be Elena of Avalor, a 16-year-old character inspired by “diverse Latin cultures and folklore.”

She’ll make her debut on Disney Junior’s animated show “Sofia the First” next year, which is targeted at children ages 2 to 7. Elena’s own eponymous spinoff series is set to premiere in 2016 on Disney Junior, as well as Disney Junior’s programming block on the Disney Channel. Aimee Carrero of ABC Family’s “Young & Hungry” will voice the role.

“What excites us most is the chance to use distinctive animation and visual design to tell wonderful stories influenced by culture and traditions that are familiar to the worldwide population of Hispanic and Latino families and reflect the interests and aspirations of all children as told through a classic fairy tale,” Nancy Kanter, the executive vice president and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, said in the announcement.

In fall 2012, Disney faced harsh criticism after a producer of the “Sofia the First” series announced that the title character was Latina. Disney Junior executives later clarified that the princess’ ethnicity had been misrepresented, adding that “all our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures.”

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