Disney debuting first Latino inspired princess and fans are waiting with anticipation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Elena of Avalor is making her long-awaited royal debut this week on the Disney Channel.

She's the first Disney princess to be inspired by diverse Latin cultures-- the music, the accents, the traditions will feel familiar to people of different Hispanic backgrounds.

Some had hoped Disney had been more specific about who Elena is and where she comes from.

When Princess Elena of Avalor makes her big debut on the Disney Channel, other real-life little princesses will be anxiously waiting.

Lizette Rodriguez, five-years-old, already knows a lot about Elena's back story. And while she loves every Disney princess, but this one feels special.

"I like her skin and I like her eyes cause she looks like my mommy."

It's the connection Disney was hoping to make by introducing its first Latina -Hispanic princess. We don't know exactly where Elena is from-- instead, the series incorporates traditional elements from various Latino cultures.

"I think this one person, this Elena does capture the essence of the Latino culture and it doesn't really matter what country of origin-- it really represents a culture and a people," said Jimmy Rodriguez, Lizette's father.

Fresno State Sociology Professor, Doctor Tania Pacheco-Werner is curious to see the way Disney incorporates integral aspects of the Latino culture, like family. But said Elena has the potential to be a good role model for young girls.

"Studies show us that at that very young age when their identity is forming, seeing positive images of people that look like them imprints on them as part of their own identity."

Elena merchandise, like T-shirts, her bright red ruffle dress, and dolls with her jet black hair are already selling online and at the Disney Store.

Jimmy said he's happy to finally be able to add a Latina princess to his daughter's collection.

"When you think about the origins of Disney in Southern California, and there's a large Hispanic population there, it's really nice to see they finally got a character and they did it very respectfully."

Doctor Werner suggests parents use the excitement around Elena to seek out other positive influences to talk to your kids about other real-life Latina role models.

Elena of Avalor debuts this Friday on the Disney Channel.

Disney is the parent company of ABC30.
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