Created for kids age 2-7 and their parents/caregivers, the stories in "Sofia the First" are designed to communicate positive messages and life lessons applicable to young children. While she lives in an enchanting fairytale world of castles, wizards and flying horses, Sofia remains a relatable peer-to-peer princess who is experiencing many of the same social situations as young viewers at home, including fitting in at school, building sibling relationships, making new friends, discovering how and when to be brave, learning the importance of telling the truth, and mastering new skills and good sportsmanship. Additionally, Sofia is learning how to adjust to life with her new blended family that includes her step-father, King Roland II, and step-siblings Amber and James. Along the way this ordinary girl learns to navigate the extraordinary life of royalty, and in the process makes everyone around her feel special.
Helping Sofia in her journey are the three headmistresses of Royal Prep Academy, Fauna, Flora and Merryweather (the beloved fairies seen in Disney's classic "Sleeping Beauty"); the royal steward, Baileywick; and a group of cute woodland creatures led by a wise-talking rabbit named Clover. Classic Disney Princesses Ariel, Aurora, Belle and Jasmine will make special appearances in event episodes to offer Sofia words of wisdom – princess to princess. However, not everyone is looking out for Sofia's best interests, including the bumbling royal sorcerer, Cedric, who takes an interest in Sofia only when he recognizes that her welcome gift from the King is the magical Amulet of Avalor. Cedric is always looking for ways to trick Sofia into handing the special amulet over to him so that he can utilize the powers locked inside it to achieve his lifelong dream of taking over the kingdom of Enchancia.
Each 22-minute episode of "Sofia the First" follows Sofia as she goes on an adventure and either learns some lesson herself or helps others around her learn a lesson. Like most young children, Sofia is developing her sense of self, starting to make her own decisions and exploring new things. Whether it be helping her brother James learn the importance of owning up to his mistakes or helping a shy classmate overcome her fears about speaking in public, Sofia uses her problem-solving skills and logic to help model good behavior for young viewers at home. Sometimes Sofia finds herself looking to others for guidance. Her mother, Queen Miranda, is often the guiding voice, and every once in a while the answers to Sofia's questions come in the form of advice from one of the classic Disney Princesses.
Throughout the series, Sofia discovers that looking like a princess isn't all that difficult, but possessing the characteristics of a true princess – honesty, loyalty, courage, independence, compassion and grace – is what makes one truly royal. From learning to put others first when she risks missing a test in order to help the school librarian get home, to proving to herself that a princess can do anything she sets her mind to when she tries out for the all-boys flying derby horse racing team, Sofia's adventures and experiences always teach her valuable lessons.
As with all Disney Junior programming, music plays an important role in "Sofia the First," and each episode features at least one original song that highlights and moves along the story being told. The songs cover a vast array of musical styles that the whole family can enjoy together, including contemporary pop, rap, hip-hop and traditional classic Disney feature film style music. In the episodes where the Classic Disney Princesses appear to offer Sofia guidance, their advice is usually presented to Sofia in the form of a song, sometimes performed as a duet with Sofia.
Starring as the voice of Sofia is Ariel Winter ("Modern Family"); Sara Ramirez ("Grey's Anatomy") is Queen Miranda; Wayne Brady ("Let's Make a Deal") is Clover; Tim Gunn ("Project Runway") is Baileywick; Darcy Rose Byrnes ("Desperate Housewives") is Amber; Zach Callison ("Land of the Lost") is James; Travis Willingham ("Ultimate Spider-Man") is King Roland II; Jess Harnell ("Doc McStuffins") is Cedric; Ashley Eckstein ("Star Wars: The Clone Wars") is Mia the Bluebird and Meghan Strange ("Special Agent Oso") is Robin. Disney legend Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), Barbara Dirickson and Tress MacNeille (Daisy Duck) bring Fauna, Flora and Merryweather, respectively, to life.
The guest voice cast includes Eric Stonestreet ("Modern Family") as Minimus, Sofia's flying horse; Viola Davis ("The Help") as Helen Hanshaw, the leader of Sofia's Buttercup Troop; Bonnie Hunt ("Cars") as Aunt Tilly, Sofia's adventurous aunt; Ellie Kemper ("Bridesmaids") as Crackle, a miniature fire-breathing dragon; Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace") as Miss Nettle, a bad fairy; Kiernan Shipka ("Mad Men") as Oona, an adventurous young mermaid; and Jeffrey Tambor ("Arrested Development") as Baileywick's brother, Nigel.
The series was developed by Craig Gerber ("Pixie Hollow Games") who also serves as co-executive producer and story editor. Jamie Mitchell ("Special Agent Oso") is executive producer and director. John Kavanaugh ("Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo") serves as songwriter/music director and Kevin Kliesch ("Tangled Ever After") is the composer. "Sofia the First" is a production of Disney Television Animation. It carries a TV-Y parental guideline.