Visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland is an exciting time filled with magical moments shared with friends and family. Most look forward to immersive attractions, fascinating history, stunning shows, and meeting beloved Disney characters when visiting the parks. One of the newest arrivals straight from the family Madrigal to Disney Parks is Mirabel, the quirky and awkward star of 2021’s Encanto.
Mirabel and the Family Madrigal
Voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, Mirabel is a teenager belonging to the Madrigal family of Colombia. Although Mirabel seems to be your typical teenager on the outside, she and the rest of her family all possess unique abilities granted to them as they come of age by magic. Mirabel’s sister Luisa (Jessica Darrow) is incredibly strong, while Isabella (Diane Guerrero) can make flowers grow.
Other members of Mirabel’s family also have special abilities. Antonio (Ravi Cabot-Conyers) can speak to animals, Camilo (Rhenzy Feliz) can shapeshift, and Pepa’s (Carolina Gaitán) mood can control the weather. Although the family puts their talents to good use, helping the people who live below their enchanted home, they’re all keeping a secret.
Bruno, voiced by John Leguizamo, has been outcast from the Madrigal family due to his unique ability to see the future, telling of a serious and dark event that eventually comes to pass. Most famously told through the hit Lin-Manuel Miranda song, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” Bruno’s exile comes back to haunt the Madrigal family as they begin to lose their powers and must rely on family to see them through.
“Encanto” Brings in Millions for The Walt Disney Company
The film, which was released to Disney+ in 2021, did exceptionally well with fans, earning The Walt Disney Company $256 million. The colorful cultural references to Colombia combined with popularized music and voice talent like Wilmer Valderrama set the film up for almost immediate success. So, it was only a matter of time until members of the Family Madrigal made it to Disney Parks for guests to meet and greet.
Earlier in the year, around September, it was announced that Mirabel and Bruno would both be available to guests at Walt Disney World in the form of character meet and greets or in parades. Guests to Magic Kingdom would then gets that they would be treated to a meet and greet featuring Mirabel in an area of Fantasyland known as Fairytale Garden where Merida used to reside.
Guests hoping to meet Mirabel can check the meet and greet times within their My Disney Experience app. Mirabel’s presence at Magic Kingdom has already come under a little bit of scrutiny by fans as she replaces one of Pixar’s only princesses in Merida from Brave. However, most guests were delighted to welcome the new addition to Walt Disney World, especially one that furthers cultural representation that may be commonly found within the United States and Florida.
Guests meeting Mirabel can expect her to present much like she does in Encanto, smiling ear to ear, talking about her relatives, and even engaging in a bit of Spanish. However, one recent guest pointed out, as found by Inside the Magic, that Mirabel’s bilingual skills may be minimal. So, it’s best not to expect an entire conversation with her.
Captured on video and posted to TikTok by user Tiffany Onate (@tiffonate), Mirabel seemed a little confused when the visitor attempted to carry on a conversation with her completely in Spanish. The video goes on to explain (as interpreted by ITM) the interaction, showing the guest asking Mirabel how Casita (the enchanted home of the Madrigal Family) was doing.
The Cast Member portraying Mirabel was obviously confused, responding with “un brazo” or “a hug” after saying something quietly to the guest. The poster went on to explain her disappointment with the interaction, voicing her strongly worded opinion regarding Mirabel’s inability to speak Spanish fluently.
“It’s known that Mirabel is Columbian, so she should know how to speak Spanish,” the TikToker said. “It bothered me a little, but I tried to stay calm and not make the girl feel bad, which, obviously, you could see on her face that she was scared, like, ‘They caught me. I don’t know how to speak Spanish, only certain words.'” – via ITM.
The internet, not to be undefeated, went to bat for the Cast Member playing the face character, however. Many within the replies to the viral video, which now has millions of views, explain that the situation isn’t as dire as the guests made it out to be. Some even suggest that her video could see the Cast Member terminated from employment.
Should Mirabel Speak Spanish Fluently?
The question of who’s right and wrong here is a tricky one. I could definitely see the confusion on the guest’s part in that you’d expect a cultural character, presented by a company that prides itself on appropriate representation, to be able to speak Spanish native to Colombia. However, no one was asking Merida if she could speak Scottish Gaelic while she was there.
On the other hand, although Disney goes to great lengths to represent different cultures appropriately, expecting a Cast Member to carry on a full conversation in Spanish, as opposed to English (which she speaks in the film), could be considered much by many. However, bashing the Cast Member on social media afterward is probably not the civil or needed approach.
Would it be nice if Mirabel, who is Colombian, spoke Spanish? Sure, it would. Florida, Walt Disney World’s home, boasts a Colombian population of close to 1 million after all. Is it okay that she only speaks a few “bars” of Spanish lingo? Yes, absolutely. Considering that Spanish, much like other languages, has several different tones and variations, sticking to universal topics and phrases is best for the character and company.
What do you think? Should Mirabel speak Spanish fluently?