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‘Encanto’: Release date, cast and everything you need to know about the Disney musical

Encanto
(Image credit: Disney)

There’s just something magical about hearing the words Disney musical, especially when it’s for a brand new entry, like 2021’s upcoming Encanto. This new musical will join the ranks of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Frozen, though how will it compare?

We certainly know that it will differentiate itself from its predecessors, as Encanto will be the first Disney animated film to center on a Latinx character — before you say anything, Coco is a Pixar film, and while Disney does own Pixar, it still technically makes Encanto the first such film for the Mouse House.

Here is everything that we know about Encanto.

What is the plot of ‘Encanto’?

Encanto tells the story of the magical Madrigal family, particularly Mirabel, the only member of the family that has not been given a special power (i.e. super strength, talking with animals, transforming into other people, to name a few). But she may be the only one in her family that can help as things start to go wrong. Here is the official synopsis from Disney:

“Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal — every child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope.

Who is in the ‘Encanto’ cast?

Leading the voice cast is actress Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel. This will be one of the first leading roles for Beatriz, who is best known for her role as detective Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and has also starred in In the Heights, BoJack Horseman and a recurring guest role on Modern Family.

Beatriz will be joined in Encanto by the likes María Cecilia Botero, Wilmer Valderrama, Adassa, Diane Guerrero, Mauro Castillo, Angie Cepeda, Jessica Darrow, Rhenzy Feliz, Carolina Gaitán, Ravi Cabot-Conyers and John Leguizamo.

Who are the ‘Encanto’ directors?

A team of three helped direct Encanto; they are Byron Howard, Jared Bush and Charise Castro Smith. This will be the fourth film that Howard has directed for Disney, having previously helmed Bolt, Tangled and Zootopia.

For Bush, Encanto will be his second directorial effort, both with Howard, as he also was a director on Zootopia. Bush was also one of the screenwriter’s for Zootopia, as well as Disney’s Moana. He also helped write the script once again for Encanto, along with Castro Smith.

Most of Castro Smith’s career thus far has come from writing, but not typically Disney content. She has previously written episodes for Devious Maids and The Haunting of Hill House, most notably. Encanto is serving as her directorial debut.

There is one other member of the creative team that should be mentioned, even though he is not a director on the film, and that is Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Emmy, Grammy and Tony-winning star wrote all of the original songs for Encanto, so you can imagine that they’ll be pretty catchy.

When is the ‘Encanto’ release date?

Disney is giving a holiday release for Encanto, setting it to premiere in theaters on Nov. 24, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

It’s important to note that Disney is not currently planning a simultaneous day-and-date release on Disney Plus for Encanto. Over the last year-and-a-half, Disney has been releasing nearly all of its films onto Disney Plus either free for subscribers (Soul, Luca) or available through the Disney Plus Premier Access feature, which let subscribers purchase the films for $30, at which point they’d have it forever. While that strategy was generally successful, the box-office of Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, which was shown exclusively in theaters, helped convince Disney to go with 45-day exclusive theatrical windows for the remainder of its 2021 film slate.

With that 45-day theatrical window, Encanto would conceivably be eligible for on-demand or streaming around Jan. 7, 2022, though Disney has not announced any timeframe for a streaming debut (FYI, Shang-Chi’s streaming debut is about three weeks after it theoretically would have been eligible for streaming). But whenever it appears online, you get bet Disney Plus will be the first place it pops up.

Is there an ‘Encanto’ trailer?

Disney shared an Encanto teaser trailer over the summer, but it has now come out with the official trailer for Encanto. It showcases some gorgeous animation, provides a taste of the film’s soundtrack and lays out the basics of the plot. Give it a watch below. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.