The most awesome thing about the August 7, 2018 DVD release "Elena of Avalor: Realm of the Jaquins" is that it follows the grand tradition of introducing those of us without babies and toddlers to the joys of the fare on the Disney Junior cable network. A prime example is LOVING "Puppy Dog Pals" after reviewing a DVD set of that series. The warnings regarding "Pals" is that you often will find yourself singing "pu pu pu puppy dog paaaals" and will have even trips to the grocery store prompt singing "we're goin' on a mission, goin' on a mission; arf, arf, arf, arf."
The literally and figuratively fantastic worlds of Avalor and titular neighboring dimension Vallestrella alone are amazing. The surprisingly exceptional quality of the DVD images will almost make you want to wear shades while watching the adventures in this vivid universe.
The accolades for "Elena" includes a well-deserved Daytime Emmy for "Outstanding Casting for an Animated Series or Special." It also has an Imagen Foundation Awards win for Best Children's Programming.
The titular princess rules in the titular fictional Latin American country; she is subject to a legislative branch in the form of The Grand Council that largely is there to curb her enthusiasm. The rockin' Latin songs that every episode features and the adoration for this future queen both within and outside the palace walls evoke strong feelings of "Evita."
"Elena" saves the strongest star power for the villains. Former Monster-In-Law Jane Fonda voices evil sorceress Shuriki, who is still around after a lore-establishing major beat down at the beginning of the series. Lou Diamond Phillips gives perfect voice to scoundrel/thief Victor Delgado.
"Realm" begins with a special one-hour episode of the same name. The titular creatures who are jaguar/eagle hybrids are native to a dimension that can be considered the realm of Dr. Moreau in that the creatures who inhabit it are natural hybrids of two species. The peabunnies who look like rabbits but have elaborate fanned tails are one of the cutest examples.
The very cute toddler-friendly action begins with the trio of jaquins who hang with Elena and her cute harmless boy sidekick Mateo the wizard taking a rite of passage test. Success means getting to stay in Avalor to help maintain the peace; failure requires returning to the land of the butterfrogs.
The expression two out of three ain't bad applies to the text results; the desire of Elena for a second attempt at a trifecta leads to her traveling to the Jaquin home turf of Vallestrella to plead her case to the ruler of that kingdom. The obstacles include the mere presence of Elena violating an isolationist policy that has a valid basis.
The inadvertently triggered threat regarding this sort of a homecoming further justifies maintaining a strong border. The cooperative effort that puts right what once went wrong shows the value of international cooperation.
"Three Jaquins and A Princess" pays honage to the '80s Disney film "Three Men and a Little Lady." A variety of circumstances lead to Elena younger sister Isabel watching over a trio of Jaquin eggs, The triplets being preemies leads to comic chaos as Isabel tries to prove that she can handle these adorable flying infants. The lesson this time is that there is no shame in requesting help.
The third but not least full-length episode is equally cute. Elena defies The Grand Council and goes center-of-the-earth deep undercover to fulfill what she considers her royal duty. Mateo comes along in a manner that fully makes him sidekick Ron Stoppable to Elena in full Kim Possible mode.
Disney supplements the above offerings with 10 bonus shorts that presumably are filler on Disney Junior. The two main categories of these mini-episodes are "Adventures in Vallestrella" and "Scepter Training with Zuzo." Paws down the best in the group is the fairly self-explanatory "Peabunny Boogie."
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