Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia

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November 24, 2021 saw the release of Disney’s new animated film“Encanto, The Fantastic Madrigal Family“! The release of a Disney cartoon featuring Colombia is quite simply the event of the year!

The new Disney cartoon tells the story of the Madrigal family, who live in a magical house in a magical part of Colombia called “Encanto”!

All the children in the Madrigal family are gifted with powers, except little Mirabel, who doesn’t take it very well… But a strange phenomenon is about to endanger Encanto, and Mirabel could well become the Madrigal family’s last hope..

In this post, we tell you all about the film Encanto, where it was shot, what inspired the filmmakers, and all the references to Colombia, its culture, its beauty and its… magic!

You’ll be able to go and see Encanto or see it again, with elements to help you better understand the Disney film, and above all you’ll be able to go on a trip to Colombia and see the real landscapes of the film!

Disclaimer: we apologize in advance for any grammatical or syntactic errors, as our native language is not English (we're a Colombian-French couple), so we hope you'll forgive us and still enjoy the information we share with you! Please note that all the information on our blog is based on our own experience, and is checked and updated regularly.

A real event for Colombia

Encanto, the new Disney classic

It’s truly an achievement for Disney to release a film about Colombia, the beauty of its culture, its traditions, its landscapes, and… its magic!

You may not realize the impact such news can have, but for Colombia, for Colombians, for the different perspective we’ll be showing of the country, for the pride of seeing Colombia treated in a way other than by its tragic history, it’s a breath of fresh air.

Disney’s Encanto is a breath of fresh air that breaks away from the eternal clichés about Colombia! And it feels good.

For Colombians and all those who know and love Colombia, watching Encanto is a special moment, filled with emotion .

Because beyond the story and the Disney universe, Encanto is a film where Colombia shines through in every scene, every shot, every detail, showing just how much the filmmakers fell in love with Colombia and tried to convey what makes the Colombian identity.

Encanto puts Colombia in the spotlight

More on Disney’s new Colombian film

The makers of Encanto immersed themselves in Colombian culture to draw out its essence, and this is what stands out in the Disney cartoon. It’s a real tribute to Colombia!

The family

This is surely the central element of the Disney film: the family! In Colombia, the family is still a deeply rooted cultural value.

Thefigure of the “abuelo” or “abuela ” (grandfather, grandmother) is central, and grandparents are the pillars of the family. Family reunions are plentiful, and generally speaking, family comes first!

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Magic realism

Colombia is closely associated with the“magic realism” literary movement invented by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia’s Nobel Prize winner for literature.

In the Disney film, the presence of yellow butterflies is a direct reference to Gabo’s book “One Hundred Years of Solitude”.

In the novel, Mauricio Babilonia, from the village of Macondo, is constantly pursued by yellow butterflies, until one hundred of them invade his lover’s bathroom, where a tragic event is about to take place.

For a long time, the slogan used to promote the country was “Colombia is magic realism”, and when you visit Colombia, you can’t help but agree that there is something magical about it, something indescribable that enchants all those who discover the country.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Colombianisms

Throughout the film, even in the english version, typical Colombian expressions are used, including diminutives and sweet words (mi vida, mi amor, etc.). Of course, in the Spanish version, this is even more obvious, as the voices were done by Colombians (thanks, Disney!).

In a scene with Mirabel finding her little cousin under her bed, we see her make a typically Colombian gesture to point at an object, making a little pout with the tip of her lips.

The little story within the big story

Finally, this aspect will not be obvious to everyone, but for those familiar with the history of Colombia, it’s impossible not to see in the story of the Madrigal family, the story of thousands of Colombian families displaced by the armed conflict.

Cultural and natural diversity

The cultural diversity of Encanto’s characters is evident from the very first minutes.

Mixity is at the heart of the Colombian story and its inhabitants, who blend indigenous, African and European roots.

And while the film does a good job of making diversity and crossbreeding visible, with its different skin colors and hair types, we’d like to take issue with the film’s lack of visibility of indigenous culture. Or did we miss it?

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The landscapes in Disney’s animated film are inspired by various regions of Colombia, in particular the coffee-growing region with the Cocora Valley, Santander and the village of Barichara.

They also feature the country’s fabulous flora and fauna, with Colombia boasting one of the greatest biodiversities in the world: bougainvillea, wax palms, toucans, chiguïro, jaguar, etc., all elements that also make up the Colombian identity.

Colombian landscapes in Encanto

the secrets of the new Disney movie about Colombia

The makers of Encanto drew inspiration from various trips to Colombia to set the film in a kind of imaginary Colombian landscape.

Encanto’s landscape is a sort of gentle blend inspired by various regions of Colombia: the coffee region and in particular the Cocora valley, the villages of Boyaca and Santander, the Sierra Nevada mountains, the five-colored rivers of Caño Cristales or San José del Guaviare.

Colonial houses

The “casita” and the houses in the village of Encanto are typical colonial houses found in different parts of Colombia.

To be more precise, the exterior of the houses is inspired by the village of Barichara in the department of Santander, while the interior is more reminiscent of houses in the coffee region, in villages such as Salento or Jerico.

Villages with exactly the same architecture: tiled roofs, whitewashed walls with bougainvillea and beautiful wooden doors and windows. But one might also think of the flower-filled balconies found in Cartagena.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Patio of a colonial house in Jerico

The Cocora Valley and its wax palms

This is probably the most recognizable landscape in the Disney cartoon: those immense wax palms perched in the mountains do exist in Colombia!

The filmmakers were inspired by the landscape of the Cocora Valley in the department of Quindio. These palms are endemic to Colombia and are typical of the landscape of the coffee region.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Cocora Valley

The coffee region

The magical landscapes seen in Encanto are clearly inspired by the landscapes of Colombia’s coffee region, a World Heritage Site!

The coffee region stretches over 3 departments between the city of Pereira and Medellin: Caldas, Risaralda and Quindio, home to the village of Salento and the sublime Cocora Valley.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Color of villages in the coffee region

Santander

Another sure Disney movie reference, for the village of Encanto, for the exterior of the houses, but also for the dress of the character Mirabel, is the department of Santander.

Santander is a magnificent department located around the large city of Bucaramanga. Here you’ll find the villages of Barichara, the waterfalls of Juan Curi, the waterholes of Las Gachas, and the sublime Chicamocha Canyon!

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Barichara village

Snow-capped mountains

A scene from the film Encanto takes Mirabel to the top of Colombia’s snow-capped mountains, on the edge of a cornice that might bring to mind the Salto del Mico, also in Barichara.

But in the distance, it’s impossible not to notice the two snow-capped peaks, which resemble Colombia’s two highest peaks, the sacred mountains of the indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

The river of five colors

An important location in the film Encanto, where the story of the Madrigal family takes a decisive turn, is set in the landscape of a colorful river, inspired by the five-colored rivers found in the departments of Meta (Caño Cristales) and Guaviare (Tranquilandia ).

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Rio Tranquilandia in San Jose del Guaviare

Tierra dentro

It may be a bit far-fetched, but for us, one of Encanto’s scenes, which we won’t reveal, clearly reminded us of the Tierradentro site near Popayan and San Agustin(tell us in the comments if you agree)

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Funerary complex at Tierra dentro

Colombian flora and fauna

the new Disney on Colombia

Colombia boasts one of the world’s greatest biodiversities, and Disney’s animated film makes no mistake when it comes to showing Colombia’s emblematic animals!

Bougainvilleas

The “casita” in the film Encanto is filled with flowers, most of them bougainvilleas! One of Colombia’s emblematic flowers, they can be found on the balconies of colonial houses both on the Caribbean coast, as in Cartagena, and in the alleyways of Andean villages such as Villa de Leyva and Barichara.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
The colorful streets of Cartagena

The gigantic Heveas

The magic tree in the film Encanto reminds us of the sublime tree that can be admired in a hotel in Mompox, a Caribbean heritage village on the banks of the Magdalena River. An immense Hevea with impressive roots.

But magical trees can be admired everywhere in Colombia, not least in the Amazon rainforest that covers 1/3 of the country!

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Trees in Mompox

The birds

They’re everywhere in Colombia, and they’re everywhere in the Disney cartoon! Colombia is the country with the greatest variety of birds in the world, and the makers of Encanto understood this. Among the stars of the film are the Toucan, the Hummingbird and the Guacamaya, three emblematic birds of Colombia.

We were lucky enough to see hummingbirds in Minca, in the Cocora valley, in Casanare too – in short, everywhere. Toucans, too, can be seen everywhere. Our most beautiful toucans were seen on the Pacific coast of Choco.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Toucan

Wild animals

Many of Encanto’s scenes feature Colombia’s wild animals: the Jaguar, of course, the king of the Colombian forest, and strange animals like the Nasua and the Tapir, but also the Chiguïro, an animal found in the Casanare region.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Chiguiro

The mule

Finally, the m ule is one of the characters featured throughout the film. They are the faithful companions of the Colombian countryside. The mule is still widely “used” by Colombian peasants to help them with their daily chores, and to carry heavy loads into the mountains.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia

Colombian craftsmanship

The secrets of Disney’s new Colombian film

In Encanto, there are countless references to Colombian culture! There are details in every scene that recall different cultural aspects.

The hats

There are many traditional hats from different regions of Colombia, but perhaps the most noticeable are the sombrero vueltiao and the aguadeño hat.

The sombrero vueltiao is one of the official symbols of Colombia. It’s a hat made by hand in the village of Tuchin ( Cordoba department), from the fiber of the Arrow Cane, using an ancient technique stemming from the Zenu indigenous tradition .

The aguadeño hat (from the village ofAguadas) is the traditional hat of the coffee region and the paisa culture.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Hats at the Lorica market

The ruana and the poncho

Many of the characters in the Disney cartoon wear the traditional ruana. The ruana is a woollen poncho traditionally worn in cold Andean regions such as Bogota, Cundinamarca and Boyaca.

The poncho is lighter than the ruana, and is one of the traditional garments of the Medellin region and the “paisa” culture. The paisa poncho is most often accompanied by the aguadeño hat, made in the village ofAguadas in the department of Caldas.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Man in ruana in the streets of Mongui

Traditional Santander dress

Mirabel, the main character in Encanto, wears a beautiful embroidered dress that is a direct reference to the traditional dresses worn in the Santander department and in particular in the village of Velez.

It’s a gala costume. It is used at many weddings, and most events take place in this typical costume, which requires an enormous amount of elaboration. It can take months to embroider and make the whole costume.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Velez dresses – credit: Bordados de Lucy, seamstress in Velez

The Mochila

Mirabel wears a mochila in several scenes in the film. The Mochila is a traditional Colombian bag.

There are different mochilas depending on the region, but the best known in Colombia are the Wayuu Mochila made by the Wayuu indigenous people of Guajira and the Arhuaca Mochila made by the Arhuacos indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Wayuu Mochilas

Espadrilles

Called Alpargatas or Cotizas, espadrilles are a traditional footwear of the Santander region. They are particularly popular in the village of Curiti, near San Gil.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
credit: Luis Alveart

Gastronomy

Encanto, references on Colombia

Colombia is also a gastronomy with well-known and lesser-known specialties that are featured in the new Disney film.

Ajiaco

A typically Colombian scene in the film, where the whole family sits down to celebrate an event over one of Colombia’s emblematic dishes, and surely our favorite: Ajiaco!

Ajiaco is a chicken soup with corn, potatoes and avocado.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Ajiaco

Arepa con queso

In a scene from the film Encanto, Mirabel’s mother heals Mirabel’s hand injury by making her eat an arepa con queso.

Arepa con queso is a traditional Colombian dish, a corn cake with a little melted cheese inside. It’s a delicacy that can be eaten at any time, with any meal, from breakfast to dinner.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Arepas con queso

Tinto

This is the name given to coffee in Colombia. Drinking a tinto in the morning, at noon and in the afternoon, coffee is an important part of Colombian gastronomy. Colombia is one of the world’s largest coffee-producing countries , and produces some of the best coffee in the world!

In the film, coffee is served in typical cups made in Carmen de Viboral, a village in the Antioquia department near Medellin.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Coffee vendor and her Willis in Manizales

Colombian traditions

Behind the scenes of the Disney film

The animated film Encanto refers to many Colombian traditions. Even we discovered some traditions we didn’t know about!

Dia de las velitas

Encanto makes several references to this special Colombian holiday!

December 7 in Colombia is “dia de las velitas”, the day of lights. This is the date that marks the start of the Christmas festivities, which last all month until the 24th.

On this day, candles are lit in front of houses and families gather together.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Dia de las velitas as a family

Los Silleteros

In the Disney cartoon, “tableaux” of flowers are a direct reference to the Silletera tradition in the department of Antioquia.

Every year in Medellin, the “Feria de la Flores”, the flower festival, takes place, with parades in which the “Silleteros” carry beautiful flower paintings on their backs.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Silleteros during the Feria de las Flores in Medellin

La Maceta

The macetas de alfeñique is a kind of bouquet of sweets and decorations seen in the basket brought to Mirabel in the film Encanto.

It’s a tradition in the Cali region that takes place on “godchildren’s day”. On this day, godparents offer these “sweets” to their godchildren. A tradition we discovered with the Disney film! We didn’t know it at all!

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia

The Tejo

Another reference from the dozens we briefly saw in the Disney film is the Tejo! It’s the traditional Colombian game found in every Colombian town.

Tejo is a game played with a pebble thrown at an earthen target containing small sachets of gunpowder, which must be exploded.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
The Tejo game (credit: kzoop)

Music and dance in Disney’s Encanto

All about the new Disney movie about Colombia

Music and dance are obviously one of the main elements of the animated film Encanto! This is usual in Disney films, but even more so here, as we’re talking about Colombia, the land of music and dance! In Colombia, everything always ends in song and dance.

Dancing in Encanto

Encanto is full of party scenes and dancing. In Colombia, dance is omnipresent, and we can recognize the movements of typical Colombian dances such as salsa and cumbia.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
© 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Cumbia dancing at Barranquilla Carnival

Accordion and Vallenato

In one of Disney’s Encanto scenes, Mirabel plays accordion with a Vallenato music group.

Vallenato is one of the most popular forms of music in Colombia. It is a musical genre derived from the musical tradition of the Caribbean region.

Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
Encanto, all the hidden references and easter eggs in the new Disney movie about Colombia
Vallenato concert

Colombia, Mi Encanto

The official song of Disney’s Encanto cartoon is performed by Carlos Vives, THE Colombian star, THE greatest Colombian singer.

Also the man who, through his work, his promotion of Colombia in his songs and his social actions, is surely the most beloved Colombian artist in Colombia.

Dos Oruguitas

Another of Disney’s film highlights is “Dos Orugitas”, sung by Colombian singer Sebastian Yatra.

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Authors

Angélica & Samuel

We are Angélica and Samuel, a French-Colombian couple, professional photographers and web editors specializing in travel to Colombia. We created this blog to change the image of the country, help you prepare your trip and inspire you to discover Colombia in a different way!

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