Forty-two years before this special, Queen Lucia gave Elena the Amulet of Avalor for her 15th birthday, telling her it would always protect her from harm. A year later, Lucia and King Raul were seen returning to Avalor Palace while being chased by the evil sorceress Shuriki in the process. Elena came out to greet them when their carriage stopped and Shuriki murdered them with a spell, much to Elena's horror. At the beginning of the special, Sofia daydreamed about this, and it turned out it was a signal from Elena, who was magically pulled inside the amulet shortly after her parents' murder when Shuriki tried to use the spell on her as well to eliminate the only witness to Raul and Lucia's assassination.
With the support of her surviving family, Sofia's family, and the Avalor citizens, Elena is able to avenge her parents' death by destroying Shuriki's wand, destroying her power, and leaving her a shriveled old woman who is able to escape and swim away.
Raul and Lucia were honored by her parents, Francisco and Luisa, and their daughters, by having a shrine erected in their memory in the cemetery, allowing all of Avalor to pay their respects to their fallen sovereigns. During The Day Of The Dead celebration, Elena is able to see the spirits of her deceased parents proudly watching over their daughters from the afterlife.
Later, after being forewarned of an impending test she would have to pass in order to be crowned Queen of Avalor, when Elena is fearful of failing the test and losing her chance to become Queen, her parents appear to her at the following year's Day of the Dead celebration, offering her comfort and advice on doing what she thinks is best for Avalor and never giving up. Their encouragement allows Elena to succeed at her current task, and she promises to see them again next year.