Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess is an animated special that premiered on November 18, 2012 on Disney Junior. It is the pilot for the animated series.
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Chronological and political information
Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty appear and introduce us to Sofia, a happy-go-lucky 8-year-old living with her mother, a Hispanic cobbler named Miranda. One day, they are called for a shoe fitting by King Roland II, the ruler of Enchancia. It's love at first sight for Roland and Miranda. They soon marry making Miranda Queen of Enchancia and the Royal Family's Matriarch and Sofia the kingdom's second princess and the Royal Family's youngest member. Sofia arrives at the castle and meets her new father, Baileywick, the castle steward, Cedric, the Royal Sorcerer who Sofia refers to as Mr Ceedric to his annoyance, and her new older siblings, Princess Amber and Prince James, the Royal Twins of Enchancia. James accepts Sofia as his new little sister instantly but Amber is really rude toward her. Roland accepts Sofia as his new daughter immediately telling her "Call me Roland, or You! With the crown! or Dad." when she continues to call him "Your Majesty." and tells her he's throwing a Royal Ball in honor of her Royal Debut stating it the best way to let everyone in the Tri-Kingdom Area know Princess Sofia has arrived.
Through a song, Sofia reveals her insecurities and her belief that she's not ready to be a princess because she knows being Royal has huge responsibilities and she knows she has no training or experience when it comes to fulfilling them. She finds her mother and tells her all this and that she doesn't want a Royal Ball because she doesn't know how to dance and doesn't want to let anyone down. Miranda tells her to be herself and she'll be fine. Roland, who had been listening to all this, steps out of the shadows and gives her a beautiful amulet that he says is special and tells her she must promise to never take it off. Sofia happily accepts the gift and promises to wear it always and never let it out of her sight. On the way back to bed, Sofia bumps into Cedric who recognizes her new amulet as the Amulet of Avalor and now wants it for himself so he can take over the kingdom.
The next day, Sofia, James, and Amber ride a flying Coach to the Royal Prepatory Academy. Once there, Sofia meets the headmistresses: Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, the three good fairies. Sofia asks them to teach her how to be a true princess by Friday, the day of her Royal Debut Ball, but the fairies, through a song, tell her that becoming a true princess is something that takes time. Everyone takes an instant shine to Sofia much to Amber's jealousy. Amber convinces James to give Sofia a ride on the Enchanted Swing Set. James does so, which makes everyone's smiles vanish. The swing ride sends Sofia into a fountain with a splash. Sofia laughs it off stating "Good one, James. You got me." and leaves soaking wet. Everyone is shocked that Amber and James would do such a cruel thing to their little sister with Zandar voicing it by stating " I thought you said she was your sister."
Meanwhile, a still drenched and now upset Sofia stumbles across a baby bird who had fallen out of it's nest. She helps it back to it's mother stating "There you go. Just the two of you. The way it should be." revealing how lonely she feels now that she's a princess and already misses the days when it was just her and her mother. Suddenly, her amulet glows and, to her shock, the birds say "thank you." When Sofia gets home, Cedric intercepts her and takes her to his workshop. Once there, Cedric reveals to her that her amulet is the Amulet of Avalor, a mystical item that contains powerful magic. He then explains it's rule to her: "With each deed performed, for better or worse, a power is granted, a blessing or curse." Cedric asks Sofia to let him take a look at it but Sofia refuses because she promised Roland she would never take it off and her mother taught her that when she makes a promise she must keep it no matter what.
The next day, Sofia meets Clover, Robin, and Mia and discovers she can understand what they're saying. Remembering what Cedric told her about her amulet and helping the baby bird and the glow her amulet gave off, Sofia realizes the first meaning of her amulet's rule: When she does good deeds, her amulet gives her powers and that her amulet gave her the power to talk to animals. Clover is pleased to hear this and, through a song, tells her the reason animals have always helped princesses is because they want food and Sofia, who's happy to finally have new friends, obliges. A now confident Sofia dedicates herself to becoming the best princess ever both to fulfill her responsibilities as one and to prove herself to the other Royals, who she feels hold her in contempt. She also starts to avoid James and Amber because of the trick they pulled on her and she no longer trusts them and feels she's on her own. James can see that she's struggling and wants to help but she refuses his help every time.
When she comes home Thursday, she finds her old friends Ruby and Jade waiting for her. As she's serving them tea, James, who's had enough of Sofia avoiding him and not letting him help, comes over and takes the tea pot out of her hand and pours her friends tea. Sofia who still hasn't forgiven him and Amber for the trick they played on her, asks him "What are you doing here?" in a way that tells him why Sofia has been avoiding him and he apologizes for the trick he and Amber played on her and offers to make it up to her by showing her the ropes, which Sofia accepts. When she reveals she needs dance lessons, James tells her about Professor Popov's dance class the next day. Sofia arrives at dance class but before she can take some dance shoes, Amber comes over and hands her a pair. Sofia steps forward to receive her dance lesson but when the music begins she starts to dance oddly. Sofia realizes these are trick shoes because of the glow they're giving off and stops long enough to catch a nasty look in Amber's eyes and realize that Amber tricked her again before she's sent crashing to the ground. Sofia gets up and gives Amber a hateful glare that tells James who gave Sofia those trick shoes and why. When they get back to the carriage. Amber claims she must have grabbed them by mistake but Sofia doesn't buy a syllable of this because she knows Amber gave them to her on purpose to ruin her dance lesson and refuses to talk to her out of anger.
When Sofia gets home, she asks Cedric for a dancing spell. He writes down a spell on a piece of paper and gives it to her but after she leave he reveals that the spell is really a sleeping spell and that after it's cast he plans to blackmail Sofia into handing over the amulet. Meanwhile, a furious James, who was able to put two and two together about where Sofia got those trick shoes from after he saw Sofia give Amber a hateful glare after what happened, confronts Amber about the trick shoe incident telling her that he knows Amber gave Sofia the trick shoes on purpose, that what she did wasn't a prank, that she knew Sofia needed those dance lessons, and that she's trying to ruin Sofia's Royal Debut Ball because she's jealous of Sofia's beauty and of the fact that everyone likes Sofia more than her. Then he angrily tells Amber that he likes Sofia more than her and storms out. An upset Amber tries to call him back but in the process rips her gown. When Amber goes out to find the maids she hears them in Sofia's room complimenting her beauty calling her "the prettiest princess in the palace." which makes Amber run back into her room sobbing.
Sofia arrives in a sparkling version of her princess gown and everyone is amazed by how beautiful she looks. She says the spell Cedric gave her and to her horror everyone falls asleep even Cedric. Thinking she must have said it wrong and that she's all alone and all is lost, Sofia breaks down and cries. A tear drops on the amulet and it begins to glow, summoning Cinderella. Cinderella tells Sofia her amulet summoned her and that when the wearer of the Amulet of Avalor is in trouble or really needs help, it will summon a Princess like herself to help. Cinderella tells Sofia that Amber is still awake and can help. Sofia, who's still hasn't forgiven her for all the nasty things she's done to her, is reluctant to trust her but Cinderella, through a song, convinces Sofia to give her another chance and vanishes.
Sofia tells Amber what happened and Amber apologizes for her behavior and admits her jealousy. Sofia finally forgives her and the two sisters finally bond as sisters in the truest sense of the word. Together, they get the counter spell. Sofia repairs Amber;s dress and Amber gives Sofia a dance lesson. Sofia says the counter spell and she and Roland dance together with Sofia calling him "Dad" instead of "Your Majesty" for the first time. Sofia asks him why people call him Roland the Second. He tells her it's because his father was also named Roland. Sofia states "Well, I guess that makes me Sofia the First." The waltz evolves into the whole family dancing together, having finally become a true family.
As with many of the classic Disney movies, music plays an important role in "Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess" and the "Sofia the First" series. The movie features five original songs ranging in musical styles from contemporary pop in songs like "Rise and Shine" and ballads like "Not Ready To Be A Princess" to those with more of a traditional classic Disney feature film style like "Royal Prep" performed by Fauna, Flora and Merryweather; "True Sisters" performed by Sofia and Cinderella; and "A Little Bit of Food," a fun, upbeat song performed by Clover that uncovers the mystery of why woodland creatures have been hanging around princesses for years.
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The special got the 5th most viewers for the week, with 5.151 million viewers, the highest for any Disney animated special since Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation! in 2009. It was #1 or #2 for several areas: Top cartoon, non-sports program, top 1 hour show, and top Disney show. It has the largest 2-5 crowd (1.5 million) since Atlantis Squarepantis from 2007. It was also Kids 6-11 (1.6 million/6.7 rating), and was the #2 scripted cable TV telecast in Total Viewers (5.2 million). Notably, the movie became the #1 cable TV telecast in 5 years in preschoolers 2-5 and in 10 years in Girls 2-5 (954,000/12.2 rating). On IMDB, the special has a 6.4 rating from 82 users. It also had 1.4 million adults watching it.